Found January 25, 2013 on Waiting For Next Year:
With the Cavaliers having two rookies playing prominent minutes, WFNY thought it would beneficial to see how the fresh meat around the league is faring in comparison with the Cavalier rookies. Each week, we’ll have NBA rookie power rankings where we’ll rack and stack the freshman class of the NBA. The rankings will be weighted with the most recent games carrying the most importance, but the whole body of work will be taken into account. Great beards and great celebrations may also play a large factor. 1. Damian Lillard (Last Week: 1) The mid season rookie of the year had another strong week, averaging just over 21 points and 7 assists in 3 games, including a win against Indiana that snapped the Blazers’ 6 game losing streak. Lillard has received praise from the media, coaches, and even LeBron, but now we can add future hall of famer, Gary Payton to that list. In an interview with Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk, Payton gave his endorsement of Lillard for Rookie of the Year. “I like Damian Lillard because he’s from Oakland, California, and he’s a phenomenal basketball player,” Payton said. “He should be the rookie of the year, he’s playing very well right now for Portland and I love his game.” While Lillard has a long way to go to match the career of “The Glove” and another great Oakland point guard, Jason Kidd, Lillard is well on his way.   PER PPG APG MPG STL Damian Lillard 16.6 18.3 6.6 38.5 1 Gary Payton 13.2 7.2 6.4 27.4 2 Jason Kidd 15.1 11.7 7.7 33.8 1.9   When taking a look at the rookie seasons from the three Oakland natives, Lillard clearly stands out. While Payton and Kidd both got off on the right foot in their NBA careers, playing large minutes, dishing out assists, and swiping away steals, Lillard separates himself from them with his scoring. Kidd and Payton are both locks for the hall of fame, but neither came into the NBA scoring at the rate Lillard has. 2. Anthony Davis (Last Week: 2) The Brow put together his first back to back double-doubles of his career, and also became the face of the New Orleans Pelicans this past week. The Hornets will have a new name and colors when they tip off next year, but the focus will still be on the patch of hair between the eyes of last year’s number one pick. Davis has crept back into Lillard’s rear view, but it’s a rear view of someone driving across flat plains of Texas. Lillard is still miles ahead of Davis at this point, but at least Davis is showing signs of what made him the unaminous first selection last June. Against Golden State, Davis posted 20 points and 12 rebounds to go along with his 4 blocks. That right there is the type of game you hope for, and expect out of the number one overall pick. Davis was on his way to another strong showing in the Hornets next game against the Kings, but once again Davis had to miss time to nurse an ailing ankle. Davis’ lack of minutes due to injury and “lack of conditioning” have really held him back in Rookie of the Year talks. The Brow has given future Pelicans fans reason to be hopeful with bright performances here and there, but that can be said about Beal, Waiters, MKG, and Drummond. All have had their moments, but none having you thinking you’re for sure watching a future superstar. 3. Andre Drummond (Last Week: 4) Andre Drummond is a force. He’s the guy you want first off the bus to let your opponents know what’s coming for them. He’s the guy who makes you think twice about taking it strong to the hoop. And he’s the guy who can’t seem to buy any more minutes from coach Lawrence Frank. It appears fans in The D will have to wait until next year to see the big man strut his stuff in extended minutes, but in the mean time, Andre continues to make an impact when his number is called. 1 With Drummond’s size and athleticism, defenses must pick him up on his rolls to the basket. If they dont,  they’ll end up like Boston and get featured in a dunk fest video on youtube. Without a body being thrown at him, Drummond is free to crash the rim, wait for the lob/rebound, and stuff home an easy two. 4. Bradley Beal (Last Week: 3) I’m a big proponent of the “Aint no curses”  Friday Night Lights quote that Billy Bob Thornton delivers to his nervous quarterback before a tiebreaking coin toss. That being said, after months of being down on Bradley Beal, and ripping him for not being the elite shooter he was billed as, I finally jumped on the bandwagon. Go figure as soon as I give in and proclaim, “Bradley Beal can’t miss”, he has a career worst shooting night. I tuned into the Blazers vs. Wizards game 2 hoping to see an offensive show between Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal. Instead, I was treated to an average performance from Lillard, and Beal’s worst shooting game of his career. Beal went 1-7  from the floor against Portland, and failed to earn a trip to the free throw line. This is what we call a buzz kill. Despite making me regret staying up late to watch a game between an abover average basketball team and bad basketball, Beal still has had a good month of January. Beal is shooting 46% from the field, 55% from downtown, and scoring 16.67 points per game through the first month of 2013. 5. Dion Waiters (Last Week: 5) In typical Dion Waiters fashion, the Cavs’ rookie guard played an impressive game last weekend against Utah, then followed it up with an uninspiring game against Boston. Against Utah, Dion attacked the rim, earning 12 free throws and converting on 10. Against Boston, Waiters attemped zero foul shots. It’s this constant up and down that is so frustrating to watch, but at least it’s a roller coaster ride and not just a free fall. While taking in the Boston game this week at the Q with my Dad, we sat there as Dion knifed his way through the Celt’s defense, flipped the ball up at the hoop, and watched the ball rattle around the rim and out. We concluded that Dion is great at getting to the basket, but he simply can’t finish. And unfortunately the point of basketball is the put the ball through that orange thing that’s hanging ten feet in the air, not just hit it. The optimist in me is thrilled with Waiters’ ability to create his own shot, but the pessimist in me has Dajuan Wagner flashbacks every time I watch a beautiful move wasted by poor finish. Fortunately for Dion, one of the league’s  best finishers is on the court with him each and every day. Maybe Uncle Drew can give the youngblood some lessons. Honorable Mention: Jared Sullinger Sully recorded his second career double-double in a homecoming of sorts at The Q on Tuesday. Doc Rivers put his trust in the rookie from Ohio State, allowing him to play crunch time minutes until Sullinger fouled out late in the game. Not even Sullinger’s Ohio State connection could save him from Cleveland’s crowd showering him with “Na Na, Hey Hey” as he was disqualified. ___________________________________ I love how Drummond wears number one. Who says the number one has to be constrained to the little, fast guy? Drummond wearing number one is like defensive linemen in college wearing numbers in the single digits. It’s awesome. After thinking about the  nicknames Trail Blazers and Wizards, Pelicans doesn’t sound so bad
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

NBA Rumors: Cavs could trade Speights, Gibson, Casspi before deadline

After making a deal earlier in the week, trade winds are swirling once again regarding the Cavaliers. In Marc Stein’s Weekend Dime on ESPN.com, he talks of the possibility of the Cavs moving newly acquired Marreese Speights, Daniel Gibson, and Omri Casspi. “Don’t be shocked if the Cavaliers decide to move Speights on again before the Feb. 21 deadline. The Cavs obviously aren’t...

Speights and Company to see time as early as Friday

In the land of repurposed jerseys, Cleveland fans can feel free to dust off those of Jamario Moon, Darius Miles, JJ Hickson and Larry Hughes kits. Ealier this week when Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant somehow managed to turn Jon Leuer into power forward Marreese Speights, shooting guard Wayne Ellington and point guard Josh Selby as well as a first-round pick that...

What Kyrie Irving Making the All Star Team Means for the Cavs Rebuilding Stretegy

Kyrie Irving in his second season has amassed high critical acclaim. Rookie of the year award, MVP in the rookie vs sophomore game, and now his first all star appearance. Irving is a special talent no doubt, if he can avoid the injury bug, his ceiling is as high as any young star with potential. However, what does this mean for the Cavs and their rebuilding strategy. The Cavs are...

Cavalier Film Room: Smash Mouth Kyrie Irving

When we last got together, I was pretty hard on Tyler Zeller for his poor defensive rebounding. This week, given the performance and news last night, it’s a must to further break down All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving’s second 40-point performance of the season. Kyrie scored 40 while taking just 24 shots as he willed the young Cavaliers to victory over the veteran Celtics, a...

Cavs' Daniel Gibson sprains toe, x-rays negative

X-rays on the sprained right toe of Cleveland Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson proved negative following Saturday's game in Toronto against the Raptors, the team announced. Gibson suffered the injury in the second quarter of Saturday's game. The team said he will be re-examined and receive treatment when the Cavs return home to Cleveland at Cleveland Clinic Courts. His status...

Cavs assign G Josh Selby to Canton

The Cavaliers have assigned newly acquired guard Josh Selby to their Canton affiliate in the NBA Development League. Selby joined the Cavs on Tuesday in the trade from Memphis along with center Marreese Speights, guard Wayne Ellington and a future first-round draft pick. Cleveland sent forward Jon Leuer to the Grizzlies. Selby played in 10 games for the Grizzlies, averaging two...

Irving scores 35 as Cavs rally for win

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Kyrie Irving scored 35 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied from a 20-point deficit in the third quarter to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 113-108 on Friday night. Irving, voted an Eastern Conference reserve for next month's All-Star Game in Houston on Thursday, scored 16 points in the third quarter to help Cleveland get back in the game. He added eight points...

Kyrie Irving Hits Game-Winning 3 vs. Raptors

Kyrie Irving hits his 5th career game-winner to give the Cavaliers a 99-98 win over the Raptors Saturday night:

The Injury Bug Continues or Just Rest?

Felton in, Kidd out? Raymond goes through 4-on-4 scrimmage at Temple while Kidd back at Philly hotel with ailing back nyp.st/VctwOy — Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) January 25, 2013   Raymond Felton is most likely back in the line-up tomorrow night after 4 weeks out from a broken pinkie. His insertion into the Knicks rotation cannot come at a better moment. His penetration into...

Photos: WFNY at the 2012 Greater Cleveland Sports Awards

You might not have been at the Renaissance Hotel located in downtown Cleveland last night, but five of us from Waiting For Next Year were there for you — Rick, Scott, TD, Jon Cole and I. Earlier this morning, I shared with you some of the highlights in narrative form. But now it’s something a bit more. Thus, courtesy of Jon Cole’s awesome photographic skills and our media...

Cavaliers 99, Raptors 98

TORONTO -- Kyrie Irving scored 32 points, including the winning 3-pointer in the final second, as the Cleveland Cavaliers came back to defeat the Toronto Raptors 99-98 Saturday before a crowd of 18,820 at Air Canada Centre. The Cavaliers, who trailed by as many as 11 points in the game, got 17 points off the bench by Marreese Speights and 14 points from Toronto native Tristan...

Raymond Felton expected back Saturday; Jason Kidd may sit out

One in and one out at point guard for the New York Knicks. Raymond Felton is expected to return from his fractured pinkie injury Saturday, pending doctor's approval. And, now, it sounds as if Jason Kidd might sit out with a back injury, according to Knicks beat writer Frank Isola. Raymond Felton expected to play vs Sixers. Jason Kidd (back) may be held out — Frank Isola...

Trail Blazers 100, Pacers 80

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Indiana Pacers 100-80 on Wednesday night to snap a six-game losing streak. Rookie Damian Lillard added 20 points and eight assists for the Blazers, who also stopped a four-game losing streak at home and avoided dropping five straight at the Rose Garden for the first time since 2006. J.J. Hickson had 14 points...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.