"Wait, Griffin is still a rookie," you might be asking? Well, yes he is. The Clippers' No. 1 pick from the 2009 Draft didn't play a game last season after injuring his knee in the preseason, so he's back for what will be his "official" rookie season. Griffin had a monster preseason, averaging 17.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and almost two blocks and steals in about 30 minutes per game.
What He Brings:
Griffin may be the most athletic player in this rookie class. From the looks of his preseason, the Oklahoma product is fully recovered from last season's knee injury. Griffin is a monster inside with incredible hops. He has the size (6-foot-10, 250 pounds) to bang with the big boys and the moves to get his own shot off. He's got a nose for the ball, whether on putback dunks or alley-oops from teammates.
Griffin is going to contribute right away and contribute in a big way. As witnessed by his preseason, Griffin will be a big part of the Clippers' offense. If he doesn't average a double-double (I'm thinking 16 ppg and 10 rpg), he'll be close. Griffin should help the Clippers improve on their 29 wins and, barring injury, should be hoisting a ROY trophy next June.
Wall played just one season at Kentucky, averaging 16.6 points and 6.5 assists on a team that saw all five starters drafted in the first round of the 2010 Draft. The Wizards landed the top pick and didn't think twice about taking the 6-foot-4 point guard. Wall has proven to be worth the hype, wowing fans at the Las Vegas Summer League with his quickness and ability to push the ball up the floor.
What He Brings:
When it comes to pure athleticism, Wall is right there with Griffin for natural ability. The 20-year-old guard has unmatched speed and is able to get into the lane at will. His pull-up jumper works because he can get himself space, but his 3-point shooting will need some work (he was just 1-for-13 in the preseason). Wall is an active defender and, with his quick hands, should pick up a couple steals a game.
The Rookie of the Year race should come down to Wall and Griffin. The Wizards are banking on Wall doing his thing and doing it now. Wall was electrifying in Vegas, averaging 23.5 points and 7.8 assists (leading the tourney), but I don't expect he'll near those scoring numbers this season. I expect something in the range of 18 ppg and 7 apg, which might not be enough to overcome Griffin's projected double-double.