Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 1/2/12
If theres one thing we should know about the NBA by now, its that you dont have to be a lottery pick to make an immediate impact. Granted, that may be the idea behind the NBA Draft, where the lousy teams get to celebrate for a day. But sometimes, the good teams win as well, discovering a gem later in the first round, or perhaps even in the second. Other times, the lousy teams get extra lucky -- landing two rookies who contribute right away to a team in desperate need. After one week, we can safely say thats been the case in Cleveland, where No. 1 overall selection Kyrie Irving and fourth overall pick Tristan Thompson are giving fans a new reason to care. As the starting point guard, Irving has confidently and effectively run the offense, managing to become perhaps the teams biggest weapon at just 19 years of age, and just 11 college games at Duke. Irving is averaging 13 points and occasionally being mentioned in the same sentence as Chris Paul by Cavaliers coach Byron Scott. Scott should know, as he coached Paul as a rookie when the two were together in New Orleans. Meanwhile, Thompson is coming off the bench at power forward. The Cavs decision to take him at No. 4 raised some eyebrows, as most of the draft websites had Thompson being selected somewhere in the 8-12 range. But the only thing being raised nowadays is the opponents blood pressure when Thompson leaps to throw back another one of their shots. Irving and Thompson are just two examples of extremely early success stories. There are more than a few others, too. Meanwhile, it appears some first-year guys will need a little more time -- and you cant really blame them. After all, because of the lockout, this years rookie class didnt receive the benefits of summer-league ball or even a full training camp. Heres a quick glimpse at who else is where and doing what: Derrick Williams, F, Minnesota Timberwolves (No. 2 overall pick) The T-Wolves are still trying to figure out whether hes a small or power forward (although they seem to be leaning toward the latter). And Williams is still trying to figure out the NBA game, but again, thats OK. Through the first four games, he averaged an up-and-down 21 minutes, compiling 8.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per night. Enes Kanter, PFC, Utah Jazz (No. 3) Kanter didnt play a second at Kentucky because of some sort of NCAA ruling that no one still seems to understand. Doesnt matter now, as he is the property of the Jazz. He made just two of his first 12 shots, but went a combined 4-for-6 in the following two games. Through four games, Kanter averaged 5.0 points and 6.0 rebounds, but less than 16 minutes off the bench. Jan Vesely, F, Washington Wizards (No. 6) Has yet to play because of an ailing hip thats required injections. Not exactly what the struggling Wizards were looking for. Bismack Biyombo, F, Charlotte Bobcats (No. 7) Good athlete, bad team. As suspected, Biyombo lacks NBA skills on offense, with issues mostly related to holding onto the ball. That makes it tough to shoot. So its fairly understandable he averaged around 2 points per game through his first four games. Brandon Knight, G, Detroit Pistons (No. 8) Had a 23-point outburst in a loss to Irving and the Cavs, but has been mostly held in check otherwise. Still, Knight has displayed tons of promise, and even more speed, and could turn into a force once the lowly Pistons rid themselves of all the deadweight in the backcourt. Kemba Walker, G, Charlotte Bobcats (No. 9) The NCAA champion has scored in double figures in all game but one, compiling an average of 9.2 points in his first three games. But thats beside the point, as the Bobcats just seem better when the feisty Walker is one the court. Jimmer Fredette, G, Sacramento Kings (No. 10) Fittingly, hes getting plenty of looks at the basket, averaging nearly nine shots a night while playing nearly half of each of the first five games. Problem is, Fredette is hitting just 37 percent from the field. Either way, hes still showing the ability to get open and create off the dribble, just as he did at BYU. Once the shots start dropping, hell likely be a double-digit scorer in the league for a long time. Best of the Rest Norris Cole, PG, Miami Heat (No. 28) Put together scoring outbursts of 20 and 16 points in his first week. Not bad for a little man out of little Cleveland State. Looks like hell be sporadic for most of the season, but when you play next to LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, thats OK. Anything Cole gives the Heat will be gravy. Marshon Brooks, GF, New Jersey Nets (No. 25) Was fabulous in the first four games, with one 20-point outing, and two separate nights of 17. But he went 0-for-3 for zero points in the fifth game against Cleveland. Still, Brooks is a true threat off the bench, and thats probably more than the Nets hoped to land by trading (with Boston) for the 25th pick. Markieff Morris, PF, Phoenix Suns (No. 13) Giving the Suns are rare interior presence who fits right in by doing all the little things well. That includes sticking with his man and rebounding. Also tallied 15 points on 5-for-8 shooting in his fourth game. Kawhi Leonard, F, San Antonio Spurs (No. 15) Those mitts that are the size of your head are coming in, well, handy for the Spurs. Doesnt score much but really goes after the ball when it comes off the basket. Old-timers are already comparing him to Michael Cage. Alec Burks, SG, Utah Jazz (No. 12) Scored zero points in two games, 15 in another, and four in another. But the opportunity will be there as the Jazz are seeking consistency from his position (and everywhere else, for that matter). Chris Singleton, F, Washington Wizards (No. 18) Already proving to be quite the defender, something the Wizards were expecting when they took a flyer on him midway through the first round. As for offense, well, the young man still has a ways to go. And thats being kind.
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