It’s been a while since our last installment of the weekly NBA rookie rankings, but when you think about it, not much had been changing from week-to-week.
Still, it’s not how you haphazardly skip a weekly column here or there, it’s how you finish! Everyone knows Blake Griffin is our (and every other site’s) NBA Rookie of the Year pick, but what about all the other first-year guys who earned their stripes?
Read on for our final top 10 rookies of the 2010-11 NBA season:
1. Blake Griffin, PF, Los Angeles Clippers
Season stats: 37.5 MPG, 22.5 PPG, 12.1 RPG, 3.8 APG, 50.6 FG%, 29.2 3PT%
What can be said about Griffin that already hasn’t? The guy is a double-double machine, an every-night dunking highlight reel, and an overall beast in just his first season. The guy even caps his rookie season off with a 30+ point triple-double in a win against the Grizzlies to end the year. Talk about putting the icing on the cake.
2. John Wall, PG, Washington Wizards
Season stats: 37.4 MPG, 16.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 8.3 APG, 1.8 SPG, 41 FG% 29.6 3PT%
Some would argue Wall doesn’t belong here, but anyone close to basketball knows how difficult it is to learn the point guard position at the NBA level, on top of becoming the face of your franchise and leader on your team. Wall has taken everything in stride and has played a huge hand in helping the Wizards inch closer to being a competitive team.
3. DeMarcus Cousins, F/C, Sacramento Kings
Season stats: 28.3 MPG, 14.1 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 43 FG%, 16.7 3PT%
Cousins was the guy many GM’s were worrying about, due to his lethargic work ethic and troublesome attitude. However, while Cousins did in fact deal with both being issues in year one, he still flashed that brilliant talent that so many scouts were drooling over. He still has to work to get more consistent, but the numbers speak for themselves.
4. Jordan Crawford, SG, Washington Wizards
Season stats: 24.2 MPG, 11.7 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 2.8 APG, 0.9 SPG, 39 FG%, 25.8 3PT%
It took a trade from the Atlanta Hawks and an injury to Nick Young, but Crawford got a chance to prove himself in his first season, and he wasted no time in doing so. His season stats don’t do him justice, but his numbers since joining Washington do. With over 16 points, three rebounds, and four assists per game since joining the Wizards, Crawford has clearly made a name for himself in just his first year. He could be higher based off of his talent and recent production, but he’s only been a factor for 25 games, and his shooting percentages are terrible.
5. Greg Monroe, F/C, Detroit Pistons
Season stats: 27.4 MPG, 9.4 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.2 SPG, 55.1 FG%
Monroe flashed dominance at times for Detroit, but was constantly held back by his own inconsistent minutes, as well as head coach John Kuester’s constant tampering with the lineup and rotation. In a different situation, Monroe’s talent could have been utilized better and much quicker. Regardless, he still posted solid numbers, and is a prime candidate to break-out next season.
6. Landry Fields, G/F, New York Knicks
Season stats: 31 MPG, 9.7 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1 SPG, 49.7 FG%, 39.3 3PT%
Fields got off to a torrid start early in the year, getting inserted into the starting lineup out of nowhere, and then regularly pulling down more rebounds than a guy at his position ever should on a consistent basis. Fields was really a solid rookie up until the trade that landed the Knicks Carmelo Anthony, and then he entered a bit of a funk. He’s kept his percentages and overall performance going strong all year, but his final two months were fairly inconsistent and left a lot to be desired.
7. Gary Neal, SG, San Antonio Spurs
Season stats: 21 MPG, 9.8 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 1.2 APG, 45.1 FG%, 41.9 3PT%
Neal doesn’t do much else other than shoot the ball well and score, but the fact that he’s averaging nearly 10 points per game on the season for a veteran Spurs team says a lot. Even with San Antonio’s “big three” and other role players potentially standing in his way, this undrafted guard still managed to work himself to over 20 minutes of court action per game on the season, and was highly effective when given his chances. He may not be flashy, but color us impressed.
8. Wes Johnson, G/F, Minnesota Timberwolves
Season stats: 26.1 MPG, 9 PPG, 3 RPG, 1.9 APG, 39.7 FG%, 35.6 3PT%
Johnson started at shooting guard for the Timberwolves for much of the season, putting up decent first-year averages, and flashing immense talent in spurts. With all the injuries and shots left to go around at several different times in the season, we’re curious how Johnson wasn’t able to step up more and make a bigger impact. He still had a solid first year, but we expected more out of him, especially given his starting gig and role.
9. Ed Davis, F/C, Toronto Raptors
Season stats: 24.3 MPG, 7.7 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1 BPG, 57.6 Fg%
Davis won’t necessarily be remembered as one of the best rookies of the 2010-11 season, but that is largely thanks to playing behind Andrea Bargnani for much of the season. Still, Davis benefited from Bargnani going down to sickness or injury several times at the tail end of the season, and showed just how dominant he can be, putting up eight double-double performances in the final month and a half of play.
10. Gordon Hayward, G/F, Utah Jazz
Season stats: 16.5 MPG, 5.4 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 1.1 APG, 48.5 FG%, 47.3 3PT%
Hayward didn’t stand much of a chance early in the year, as the guys ahead of him were healthy, and he was already set to be held back by Jerry Sloan’s popular “don’t play rookies” strategy. However, Sloan eventually resigned, and injuries to Devin Harris and Andrei Kirilenko freed up some playing time for Hayward to get some run. Wouldn’t you know it, the shaggy-haired kid from Butler has some serious game. Hayward progressed immensely over his final four games (all starts), and capped his rookie year off with a career-high 34 points in a win over the Denver Nuggets.
The Honorable Mentions:
Evan Turner, G/F, Philadelphia 76ers
This guy was the second pick of the draft and couldn’t come close to producing at a high level this year, let alone do anything at a moderate level consistently. He started finding some of his game toward the end of the year, but given the fact that he had ample opportunity to prove himself, he didn’t really ever carve a concrete spot in our rankings.
Derrick Favors, PF, Utah Jazz
Favors has the talent to make this list, but the numbers just weren’t there (nor the consistency). A lot of that had to do with playing behind Kris Humphries in New Jersey, and then Paul Millsap in Utah. Sooner or later Favor’s talent will match his minutes (or vice versa), and we’ll see why he was a first-rounder.
Paul George, Patrick Patterson, Eric Bledsoe, Trevor Booker, and Al-Farouq Aminue, and Larry Sanders were also considered for our end of the year rankings.