Honorable Mentions: Taj Gibson made the most of Tyrus Thomas’ missing season; Jonas Jerebko is your favorite Swedish player; James Harden put up five waiver wire lines of the night (which was second on the year behind the super streaky Quentin Richardson); and Jrue Holiday had a few impressive lines of his own at the end of the season.
The Top 5
5. Marcus Thornton – The rook averaged 14.5 points and 1.6 threes a game for the Hornets, which is amazing considering he didn’t even smell the rotation to start the year (his first five games at the beginning of the season were DNPs). By the end of the year, he was starting for the team and getting big minutes at SG. In those 17 starts, he averaged 19.8 points and 2.1 threes a game. That begs the question, why the hell did the Hornets run out Devin Brown and Morris Peterson for the other 65 games?
4. Darren Collison – Like Thornton, Collison started the season out of the rotation as the third PG for the Hornets behind Chris Paul and Bobby Brown. But when Paul got hurt at the end of January, it was Collison who stepped into the lineup and did a pretty damn good impersonation of CP3, averaging 19 points, 8.6 assists and 1.5 steals from February onwards. Unfortunately for Collison, he’ll likely be relegated to sixth man duty next season as long as Chris Paul is healthy.
3. Brandon Jennings – Jennings started off the season hotter than a certain former A-Town Dancer, averaging 22 points a game in November. And we all remember his 55 point game against the Warriors. But he faded down the stretch, shooting 36% from the field and averaging 13.2 points a game after the all-star break. However, while Jennings may not be the second coming of Allen Iverson (at least right now), lost in the overhype of his offensive game is that he’s actually a very good defensive player… really. (via Fanhouse).
2. Tyreke Evans – The actual NBA rookie of the year, Evans famously became only the fourth rookie (along with LeBron, Jordan and Oscar Robertson) to average a 25/5/5 his first season in the league. He made the former Kings’ franchise player Kevin Martin expendable about five games into the season and quickly became the guy who the Kings hitched their franchise wagon to (don’t let the door hit you on the way out K-Mart). However, there was the issue of his inability to make his teammates better and his deliberate stat hunting. Not that there is anything wrong with that (especially for a rookie), but it’s a sign that next season might include some kind of adjustment period for Evans as he learns to play a little more in sync with the rest of his team.
1. Stephen Curry – Curry, who was on my list of breakout players this season, set the rookie record for threes made, hitting 2.1 a game at a 44% clip. Add nearly 18 points and 2 steals a game and you have a player who deservedly finished the season ranked #9 on the GMTR player rater. If you listened to our first podcast, then you heard Curry’s name on Nels’ list of top 12 players going into next season. Now that’s hot.
Agree or disagree with my top 5? Let us know your top 5 fantasy rookies for the season in the comments.
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