“Rubio! Rubio! Rubio!”
The electrifying Ricky Rubio, rookie SG/PG for the Minnesota Timberwolves, is erasing all doubts about his ability to compete and succeed on the NBA level. He is off to a fantastic start. According to the metric “Marginal Win Score”, and the off-shoot “Value” ranking, Rubio is the most valuable rookie to date, and the only other rookie who is giving him any chase whatsoever is the SF/PF Markieff Morris of the Phoenix Suns.
Here is a ranking of the rookies, using Marginal Win Score (see GLOSSARY to the right under “Courtside Reading” for full explanation), and projecting the number of wins and losses, wins above 0.500%, and “Value” each player will provide his team over the course of the 66 game season (Value is “Wins” plus “Wins above 0.500%). To make the ranking, each rookie must have played at least 100 minutes so far.
Rubio rules, Jimmer sucks
As you can see, Rubio and Morris are the only two rookies who are projected to provide double digit Value to their teams. Rubio is a superstar in the making. He looks like the Second Coming of Jason Kidd. Morris, the lesser respected of the two Morris brothers, is also a dynamo. He looks like an outstanding middle of the first round pick.
Another player who is adding tremendous value is SF Chandler Parsons of the Houston Rockets. Parsons is not a dynamic scorer, but he does the little things that produce wins, and he does them well.
In the fourth spot is the Milwaukee Bucks PF/C Jon Leuer. Raise your hand if you thought he would be a productive pro. I am a graduate of Wisconsin and I follow the Badgers closely and I thought Leuer had no shot at all to be a good pro. He looked like a big man “drifter” who was too weak to bang in the Association. Not so. The Bucks are showing once again that they are the Masters of the Second Round, Disasters of the First Round. If they could only hit on a first rounder every decade or so, they might have a good team.
The top pick Kyrie Irving has been okay, but nothing more for the Cavaliers. Same thing with Derrick Williams of the Timberwolves. I’ll give each some more time, but usually superstars come out of the gates playing like superstars, but each is very young so we have seen dramatic improvement from real young players from year one to year two (LeBron comes to mind, but he was out of position as a rookie).
On the back end of the race, excluding those who have not even gotten off the pine, are Brandon Knight of the Detroit Pistons, and Jimmer Fredette of the Kings. I guess we can put a hold on “JimmerMania”. He looks awful!! And Brandon Knight, who didn’t project well, is really crushing the Pistons chances of doing anything this season. Both look like big-time “Misses”>
One final comment. I keep hearing what a difference Norris Cole was/is making for the Miami Heat. Ahhh, not according to Marginal Win Score, unless you mean “difference” in the negative sense. He’s been terrible. His personal Win Score is well below average. In college he rebounded well, but I’m always leery of high college Win Scores that are produced as a result of rebounding way above position (unless the player is a power forward). It always seems that those kind of players get to the NBA and no longer believe that rebounding is part of their job description. Memo to Cole: you can’t shoot and you can’t protect the ball. Time to get your knuckles dirty and start rebounding. You might as well do something positive for the Heat.