Ok, it's been ten games. Even so, thanks to some head-scratching coaching decisions, many of our rookies have very small sample sizes. But we can't wait forever on sample sizes or we wouldn't write anything about this year's rookies until after the all-star break, and we've got blogs to run, dammit.
Using my handy comparison engine, I found the top 10 rookies sorted by WP48 (I manually filtered out guys with fewer than 100 minutes).
And here are the top rookies in minutes played:
Just like last year, there is weird stuff going on. Anthony Davis has only played 6 games, and got hurt in one of those, so it's clear why his minutes are a little low. But otherwise, we see that the two top-ten lists don't correlate as well as you'd hope. Kidd-Gilchrist, Damien Lillard, Kyle Singler and Harrison Barnes are in both top ten lists. Alexey Shved's playing time also has an easy explanation: the Timberwolves have so many injuries that we now call them the Walking Shved.
But why hasn't Andre Drummond been getting a ton of playing time? It sure as hell isn't because the Pistons are trying to "win now". What is it about those nights where Drummond plays 14 minutes, grabs 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, a steal, and scores 10 points with 80% true shooting that makes Frank hesitate to see what he can do in 20 minutes? Or 25?
And why isn't Harkless playing more? Is it because Orlando wants to see just how awful Arron Afflalo can get first?
But it's the second list that is so confusing. Why, please, for the love of Naismith somebody explain to me why anybody thinks that Austin Rivers should be in the NBA. In college, he was a terrible shooter (which is a bad sign for, you know, a shooting guard). In the pros so far, he's been a terrible shooter. Occam's Razor tells me that Austin Rivers probably just isn't very good at shooting. So....come on, folks, please let me in on the secret. Just.....why?
Why's everyone so impressed with Waiters? I don't get it. He's had two fantastic games (against LAC and against Pheoenix), and a whole bunch of bad games, and it all averages out to poor shooting, rebounding, passing, and ball-handling numbers. Again, let me in on the secret. The same is true of Beal, bad shooting, passing, rebounding, ball-handling, 2 good games and a bunch of really bad games, only Beal's good games weren't even as good as Waiters.
The rookie of the year so far has been Kidd-Gilchrist; I suspect Anthony Davis will overtake this as he gets minutes, but he's been amazing so far. He's been a LeBron-like rebounder (13 per 48 as a small forward, behind only Durant and that guy Harkless who cannot take minutes from Afflalo), has been very good at getting to the line and getting steals, and is a fantastic shot-blocker (3rd among SFs behind Kirilenko and...yes, Harkless. What the hell, Mr. Vaughn?). He's the primary reason for Charlotte's improvement this year.
What about you folks? Who has impressed you so far?