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 What's New for 2010-11: The Rookies

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PostSubject: What's New for 2010-11: The Rookies   Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:54 pm


3. DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings


Background:
Entering the Draft, talk around the league was that Cousins was out of shape, had a bad attitude and wasn't worth the headache. But the Kings were thrilled to find Cousins waiting for them at No. 5 in the 2010 Draft. Cousins played just one season at Kentucky, helping the Wildcats to the Elite Eight while averaging 15.1 points and 9.8 rebounds on a team that saw all five starters drafted in the first round.
What He Brings:
Cousins can do it all. He's able to bang inside with his 6-foot-11, 270-pound frame and has a variety of up-and-under moves to go along with a nice face-up game in the post. In Vegas, he was named Rookie of the Month after averaging 14.5 points and 9.8 rebounds and showed off surprising range, knocking down several 3-pointers. Cousins is an active and aggressive defender, but will need to keep his purported temper in check.
Outlook:
If any player has a chance to sneak in as ROY it would be Cousins. He'll be starting from Day 1 (thanks in part to an injury to Samuel Dalembert) and, like Tyreke Evans last season, will be given freedom to play from coach Paul Westphal. Many, including Cousins himself, thought the Kings' big man was the best big man in the draft. Now, Cousins is motivated to prove those detractors wrong. Putting up 15 ppg and 10 rpg would certainly do that.




4. Evan Turner, Philadelphia Sixers


Background:
Turner has all the credentials to be a star in the league. Turner improved steadily in his three seasons at Ohio State, culminating in a season in which he averaged 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and was named National Player of the Year. Turner, a 6-foot-7, 210-pound guard was taken by the Sixers with the No. 2 pick. Turner struggled in Orlando Summer League, averaging 9.4 points and 5.6 rebounds, but shot just 33 percent from the field.
What He Brings:
Turner comes to the NBA in the mold of a Brandon Roy in that he can play either guard position or small forward if needed. He is a proven scorer and surprisingly good rebounder for his size. Turner is used to having the ball in his hands, so he'll have to learn the NBA angles and create space to get his shot off.
Outlook:
The Sixers see a bright future with backcourt mate Jrue Holiday, but so far, the results have been underwhelming. Whether coming off the bench or starting, Turner will see big minutes this season, so his numbers should be decent. He's a good defender and if he can limit his turnovers and improve on his early shooting numbers (31 percent on FGs in the preseason), he'll stay in coach Doug Collins' good graces and finish among the top rookies.




5. Wesley Johnson, Minnesota Timberwolves


Background:
Johnson spent two seasons at Iowa State before transferring to Syracuse, where he played one season. With the Orange, he was named Big East Player of the Year after averaging 16.0 points and 8.4 rebounds in his junior season. After declaring early, Johnson was taken fourth overall by the Wolves in the 2010 Draft. Johnson played just one game in Las Vegas Summer League after injuring his hamstring, an issue that continues to linger into the season.
What He Brings:
Johnson brings a humble, happy-go-lucky attitude to the Wolves. He's an athletic swingman who has the length (7-foot-1 wingspan) to be a nuisance on defense. Offensively, he's a polished shooter (in seven preseason games, he was 43 percent from the field and 11-for-21 on 3-pointers) and should fit in well to Kurt Rambis' patient, team-first approach to running the offense.
Outlook:
If Johnson's hamstring injury doesn't linger (he's been dealing with it since July now), he should factor into the Wolves' plans this season. With Martell Webster dealing with a back injury, playing time has opened up even more in the backcourt. The Wolves need a reliable shooter on the wing, and with Kevin Love and Michael Beasley looking rejuvenated, Johnson could be an ideal finisher for the Wolves. A double-digit scoring average wouldn't be surprising.


http://www.nba.com/news/features/rookies/favors-125-102010.jpg
6. Derrick Favors, New Jersey Nets


Background:
Favors, at 19 years old, is the youngest player in the NBA. After one season at Georgia Tech, the Atlanta native was taken by the Nets with the No. 3 pick of the 2010 Draft. At Tech, Favors averaged 12.4 points and 8.4 rebounds to take home ACC Rookie of the Year honors. In Orlando Summer League, Favors started slow, but improved with each game, capped off by a 23-point, 11-rebound finale.
What He Brings:
Favors has been tagged by many as having the most 'upside" and may just realize that potential thanks to an incredible work ethic. Favors enters the NBA in the mold of an Amar'e Stoudemire, a strong forward (he's 6-foot-10, 246 pounds) with leaping ability and a wingspan to be a force defensively. Nets coach Avery Johnson has been tempering his enthusiasm, but it's obvious the General is thrilled with the youngster.
Outlook:
The Nets are taking a patient approach with Favors, but he also has the potential to contribute right away. Coming off the bench, he should see about 20 minutes per game and will get a few easy buckets a game. Favors has been a key piece in the Nets' reported negotiations to trade for Carmelo Anthony, so a deal to Denver could change his playing situation. For now, though, expect ups and downs and plenty of plays that show off his potential.


7. Tiago Splitter, San Antonio Spurs


Background:
The Spurs have been waiting three years for Splitter, since taking the Brazilian center with the 28th pick in the 2007 Draft. The 6-foot-11, 232-pound center has spent the last three seasons in Spain, playing for Saski Baskonia and honing his game, eventually being named MVP of the Spanish League before signing a three-year deal with the Spurs this summer.
What He Brings:
Splitter isn't a bruising presence down low, but he can run the floor and will be a good complement to Tim Duncan in the post. Splitter is hardly a rookie, having played at the highest level in Spain and with the Brazilian national team, so he won't be intimidated by the NBA. He has the ability to knock down the 15-footer and with teams focusing on Duncan should be able to get some easy putbacks.
Outlook:
Splitter has been dealing with a calf injury and hasn't played in the preseason (and may not be ready for the start of the season), but when healthy he should see about 20-25 minutes per game. Splitter has drawn praise from teammates, most notably Antonio McDyess (with whom he's battling for playing time) for his ability to pick up the offense and a rookie campaign of double-digit scoring wouldn't be a surprise.


http://www.nba.com/news/features/rookies/monroe-125-102010.jpg
8. Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons


Background:
The 6-foot-11, 250-pound center played two season at Georgetown and averaged 16.1 points and 9.6 rebounds his sophomore season before being taken by the Pistons with the 7th pick in the 2010 Draft. Monroe was impressive in Las Vegas, averaging 14.6 points and 8.0 rebounds and improved with each of his five games, capped off by a 27-point, 14-rebound performance.
What He Brings:
Monroe brings an NBA-ready body to the Pistons' lineup. He's strong and ready to bang right away. He gives Detroit a much-needed presence inside to help spell Ben Wallace and has shown off a variety of moves in the post. He needs to work on his defense and handling of the ball (he averaged almost four turnovers in Vegas), but coach John Kuester has been impressed with the rookie.
Outlook:
The Pistons will struggle this season and are already dealing with injuries (Jonas Jerebko and rookie Terrico White), so Monroe will be called on to contribute right away. He's jockeying with Austin Daye and Charlie Villanueva for time at power forward (he'll probably be a part of the second unit), but he should see enough playing time to average around 10 points and 7-8 rebounds per game.

http://www.nba.com/news/features/rookies/mozgov-125-102010.jpg
9. Timofey Mozgov, New York Knicks


Background:
After playing six seasons in Russia, Mozgov was signed by the Knicks to a three-year deal this summer. His numbers in Russia weren't too impressive (7.6 ppg and 4.8 rpg in 19 mpg last season with Khimki), but he has earned not only the praise of Mike D'Antoni ("I'm trying to find something that I don't like about him," D'Antoni said recently), but also the starting center job, beating out Ronny Turiaf.
What He Brings:
Mozgov is big (7-foot-1, 250 pounds) and at 24 years old won't be intimidated by the NBA. He has the size to bang inside, but has a shooting touch he feels wasn't utilized by his coaches in Russia. Mozgov can step out and knock down the 10-to-15-foot jumper, but he'll need to work on his rebounding (a Knicks weakness last season), if he hopes to stay on the floor.
Outlook:
Mozgov will begin the season as the starter, but D'Antoni has said the rotation will be fluid (Anthony Randolph will also get time at center when the Knicks want to go small). Mozgov has gone from virtual unknown to starter, which speaks volumes for his ability to pick things up. With all the attention going toward Amar'e Stoudemire and company, Mozgov should be able to get some easy buckets and put up some decent numbers.


http://www.nba.com/news/features/rookies/asik-125-102010.jpg
10. Omer Asik, Chicago Bulls


Background:
Asik was taken by the Blazers with the 36th pick in the 2008 Draft before being traded to the Bulls for three second-round picks. He has spent the past five years in Turkey as a member of Fenerbahce Ulker and Alpella before being signed by the Bulls on July 13. Asik averaged 8.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 19.0 minutes for Turkey's national team that finished second to the U.S. at the 2010 World Championship.
What He Brings:
Asik (7-foot, 250 pounds) gives the Bulls a solid, defensive-minded center to back up -- or play alongside -- Joakim Noah. Asik is an aggressive but above-average shotblocker who needs to learn to stay out of foul trouble. He needs to work on his outside shot, but he'll get most of his points around the bucket anyway.
Outlook:
With Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson both dealing with injuries, and with the loss of Brad Miller to the Rockets, the Bulls will be counting on the 24-year-old Asik to contribute right away. He is expected to come off the bench, but Tom Thibodeau played him and Noah together during the preseason for a bigger look. The Bulls aren't expecting immediate results, but the situation may lead to him averaging close to double-digits in scoring and seven or eight rebounds per game.
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