Commentary

Rookie Watch: Hawks' Horford soars into No. 1 spot

Originally Published: February 20, 2008
By David Thorpe | ESPN.com
Al HorfordScott Cunningham/Getty ImagesDon't look now, but Al Horford is giving Kevin Durant competition for the rookie of the year award.

Earlier this season, I predicted that once Kevin Durant earned the top spot in my rookie rankings, he would coast the rest of the way as the clear choice for rookie of the year. In a sense, I was both right and wrong. Durant has indeed coasted, but oftentimes during games -- mailing in efforts in every area but scoring and lacking the discipline to play out each possession while focusing soley on making the best possible play for his team.

Durant is only 19 years old, giving him plenty of time to grow into his game. He seems to be playing out of position as well, which is a handicap. He has indeed been spectacular at times. But he has been surprisingly ineffective overall, more so than his talent and opportunity should allow.

Top 10 rookies

Here are my top 10 rookies 16 weeks into the season:

(Previous rank in parentheses)

1. Al Horford, Hawks (2)
2. Kevin Durant, Sonics (1)
3. Sean Williams, Nets (3)
4. Luis Scola, Rockets (4)
5. Thaddeus Young, Sixers (6)
6. Jamario Moon, Raptors (5)
7. Juan Carlos Navarro, Grizzlies (8)
8. Joakim Noah, Bulls (7)
9. Al Thornton, Clippers (9)
10. Glen Davis, Celtics (10)

• Click here for Thorpe's top 50

• Thorpe's previous top 10 Insider

Although Durant is in some respects enjoying his best month of the season, there is another rookie who has been good all season and recently has taken his game up a notch -- Al Horford, who, as of today, is my new No. 1. I'll make no predictions regarding how long Horford will keep this spot, save one: There will be no coasting on the court from him.


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