Andrew Wiggins Wallpaper

No Rookie of the Year Favorite Established Yet

Andrew Wiggins WallpaperThe 2014 NBA Draft was the most hyped class in years and was expected to produce numerous players capable of becoming franchise cornerstones.

Instead, in the first half of the season, this rookie class has been marred by injuries and plagued by inconsistency.

It almost seemed destined to happen once the first overall pick of the class was dealt before even participating in a single scrimmage with the team that selected him.

While Andrew Wiggins was shipped out of Cleveland so the team could complete a deal for All-Star forward Kevin Love, he has provided the largest impact to his team out of any rookie this year.

The 6-foot-8 guard is averaging 13.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.5 assist and 1.1 steals per game.

The only problem is Wiggins only has two places on the floor where he has been truly effective, at the rim and behind the 3-point line.

The 3-point shot has been effective for Wiggins, as he is converting 40 percent of his attempts, only he has made 22 shots from beyond the arc in 32 contests, so the sample size is limited.

Since his mid-range game still hasn’t fully formed, the former Kansas star is shooting just 41.7 percent from the field, opening the door for the rest of the class to compete with him for Rookie of the Year honors.

Only the rest of the class has been decimated by injuries.

Joel Embiid, the third overall pick in the draft, has yet to play a game after it was discovered he had a fractured foot at the draft combine and Julius Randle, the seventh selection, broke his leg on opening night and isn’t expected back until next season.

The early favorite to win the award, Milwaukee forward Jabari Parker, had his hopes dashed when an awkward step resulted in a devastating injury.

Parker tore his left ACL and just underwent surgery Monday to correct the issue.

Philadelphia forward Nerlens Noel is averaging 7.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.4 blocks this season.
Philadelphia forward Nerlens Noel is averaging 7.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.4 blocks this season.

The second overall pick this year was averaging 12.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game, but will be out for the remainder of the year.

Knee surgery has kept Bulls rookie Doug McDermott sidelined for the past four weeks and while he has been able to practice on a limited basis, no clear timetable has been established for his return.

Knee issues even forced the sixth overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft to sit out the entire year, making 2014-15 his debut season.

Nerlens Noel was a shot blocking savant during his freshman year at Kentucky, swatting away just under 4.5 attempts per game, only the best rookie shot blocker in Philadelphia is K.J. McDaniels, a guard selected in the second round.

Any shot away from the rim has been a disaster for Noel. The 6-foot-11 forward is converting 57.1 percent of his attempts at the rim, but the further back his shots come, there is a sharp decline in accuracy.

A shot from 3-10 feet is being converted just 34 percent of the time, 10-16 feet away results has gone in just 26.5 percent of the time and anything further he is shooting 17.4 percent.

Noel has made just 26-of-99 jump shots this season, so if he gets the ball away from the rim, his defenders are begging him to shoot.

He has shown promise as a shot blocker, rejecting at least one shot in 27 of his 30 appearances, but McDaniels has emerged as the premier shot blocker in the draft class.

The 32nd overall pick out of Clemson has nearly mastered the chase down block and the result has even produced a concussion for a fan in the stands.

The 6-foot-6 guard is leading all rookies with 1.5 blocks per game and his 48 total blocks ranks as the highest among all guards in the league.

McDaniels may be a terror on the defensvie end, but any hopes of him claiming rookie of the year honors have to be dashed by the fact he has committed 20 more turnovers than he has assists this year.

The leader in assist to turnover ratio among rookies is Orlando point guard Elfrid Payton.

The 20-year-old has returned to the starting lineup and has thrived, already dishing out 200 assists and the 5.4 per game he is averaging is tied for the 21st most in the NBA.

Since returning to the starting lineup eight games ago, Payton is averaging 6.9 assists per game and has shown promise rebounding the ball.

There is no question the 2014 NBA Draft class has infused plenty of talent into the league, just the impact can’t properly be measured yet.

About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.

Check Also

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 10.41.03 PM

Podcast: Cavaliers and Warriors Closing In On Third Finals Matchup

The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers are on a collision course to meet in …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *