Around the NBA: Rookie Watch

Brett Deering

A slow and injury filled start for this year's rookie class.

Remember how everyone thought the 2013 draft was weak?  Well, so far it's been living down to its billing. Due to injury and poor play, only 18 rookies have managed to log at least 120 minutes so far this season:

Only 13 of these players were selected in the 2013 draft.

A big part of this dearth of playing time for this year's draft class is due to injury: Otto Porter, Alex Len, Nerlens Noel, Trey Burke, and C.J. McCollum are just the guys from the top 10 who have missed either all or part of the season thus far, and therefore do not make the above list.

Another thing to note about that list is how old the players are. Only one player in his age 19 season has gotten time this year (Archie Goodwin), and four in their age 20 seasons.

Compare to last year:

23 rookies played 1000 minutes last season, and just among the ten best, four were in their age 19 season and three in their age 20 season.

As for this season, it's tough to find a lot of bright spots. Steven Adams is in the rotation at center for the Thunder, and showing some abilities blocking shots and getting on the offensive glass, as well as drawing fouls. He's a much springier, livelier alternative to the immobile Kendrick Perkins.

Michael Carter-Williams got off to a red hot start, but his shooting woes and turnovers are starting to sap his effectiveness.

Nate Wolters, a second rounder,  is one of the best surprises, as he's starting for the Bucks and has a terrific 50:13 assist to turnover ratio, though he also hasn't been shooting the ball well at all.

Meanwhile, among the top six picks, two haven't played at all (Porter, Noel), one is hurt after minimal action (Len), one has been next to unplayable (Bennett), and the other two are Cody Zeller, struggling off the bench in Charlotte, and Victor Oladipo, playing big minutes for Orlando where he's been tossed into the deep end of the pool, and the results haven't been pretty (48 turnovers and under 40% shooting in 11 games).

It's very, very early, and for a few of the brightest prospects, they haven't even gotten on the floor yet. But a rookie class is not off to a good start when our own Robbie Hummel has arguably the 5th most value among rookies in the league.  That's 58th pick in the 2012 draft, only in the rotation for a week, 120 total minutes Robbie Hummel.

Who knows? Perhaps Noel, Porter, and Oladipo will become all-stars and make this class look good. But right now, when all the "experts" said there wasn't a clear-cut number one in the draft, they weren't kidding. There wasn't clear-cut top ten, either, as none of those players has really begun to impress, with the possible exception of Oladipo.

We're years away from a final judgment, but this does not appear to be a year in which rookies are going to make a big impact around the league.

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