The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Week 5

In today’s edition, I wanted to talk a bit about this rookie draft class and see where they stand, after about 1/4 of the season. 



The Good

Nikola Mirotic

 Mirotic played 20 games so far and doesn’t get a lot of minutes, 17.6 minutes per game, but still, in his short time on the floor, he really shows, that the hype was real and that there was a reason, why Chicago waited for him for so long.
He is the leading rookie in the league PER wise with 16.00 (and that’s obviously the best way to measure a player, stats wise).
In his few minutes on the floor, he manages to get no less than 6.9 points together with 5.1 rebounds, making him a clear double double machine, just waiting to get more minutes. 
Once he will start playing 30 – 35 minutes a game, we can easily expect him to get 12 – 14 points, together with 10 rebounds, 1 – 2 blocks and 2 assists, while being a threat in the paint, as well as behind three point line.
One of the main reasons, Deng was traded, was to make room for Mirotic and I doubt anyone regrets that.

Aaron Gordon

Gordon was drafted as a prospect and less as a ready to play in the league now. Still, he is ranked third among rookies in PER (15.45) and despite missing some time with injuries and not getting too much playing time (15 minutes per game), he shows that while he is a great prospect for the future, he can play in the NBA level already. 
Gordon considered to be a defense specialist, like most if not all, Orlando young talents. Still, he leads rookies in true shooting percentage (64.5% – Mirotic is second best with 60.3%) and with 5.8 points in 15 minutes of game, he shows that in a year or two, he can be a defensive monster, that will still put 15 – 17 points a game and that’s huge.
Few honorable mentions:
Kostas Papanikolaou – Another European player, that many waited to see how he will do in the NBA and he is in the best team for him – the Rockets. He is getting 25.5 minutes per game and does a bit of everything. 6.6 points, 3 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 9.8 PER (11th among rookies) – not bad for a 48 place draft pick.
Elfrid Payton – So far, without a doubt, best PG in a draft that was full of good PG. 10.76 PER (8th among rookies and 1st among rookies in PG position), running Magic’s offense in a great way, with 5 assists against 2.3 turnovers. Amazing defender and already one of the best defenders in his position in the league, despite being a rookie. When he will polish his offense, this guy can really become an All Star. 
The Bad

This Draft Class

There was a lot of hype around this draft class and it was compared to the great 2003 draft class, that had LeBron, Carmelo, Wade, Bosh and many others.
After 1/4 of the season, you can’t see any resemblance.
In 2003, no less than 6 rookies was ranked in the top 115 players as far as PER goes: LeBron (48), Wade (56), Carmelo (57), Bosh (115), West (93) and Josh Howard (101). 
This season, Mirotic leads the rookies in PER, but ranked only 119 and while he is a rookie in the NBA, he is a veteran, who is already 24 years old and played in Euroleague Finals, won Spanish League and so on. We have to drop all the way to 129 place, to see a true young talent, Jabari Parker, that is ranked second among rookies with 15.62 PER.
Not only that, but it’s the general feeling. Bosh, Wade, LeBron – all won titles, were their teams stars and were Superstars. Looking at this draft, Parker is good, but lacks defense. Wiggins so far is very mediocre and the rest… You can’t shake the feeling that while there will be good players in this draft, stars, allstars and so on, you won’t find “the star” – the player that everyone will talk about in a year or two.
Comparing even not to 2003, but even to the weaker drafts, you can see Lillard and Davis in 2012 draft, Wall and Paul George in 2010 draft, Griffin, Curry, Harden and in 2009 draft, Rose, Westbrook and Love in 2008 draft and so on…
Here, you got too many DeRozan, Holiday, Beal, Walker types of players. Maybe few like Klay Thompson, Love, Kyrie and Hibbert – but that’s about the max for them.
I hope to be wrong, but that’s the general feeling I’m getting right now.
Don’t get me wrong, any player will sign off to have a career like the players I mentioned and they all are great players without a doubt – just not what this draft class was hyped to be about.
The Ugly 

 Since they all young and talented guys and it’s only been 1/4 of their first season in the NBA, I don’t want to apply anything on them in terms of “ugly”.

For those that are interested in my picks this week, can read the details here:

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Best of luck everybody!!!

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