Keith Langlois broached the subject last week, but I want to look a little closer. Should Jonas Jerebko make the All-Rookie team? John Kuester told Langlois yes:
“There’s no question in my mind he should make it,” Kuester said after Monday’s practice. “He should definitely make it. Is that strong enough?”
That’s fine, but Kuester is obviously a little biased. Here’s an attempt at a more objective look.
Unfortunately for Jerebko, position isn’t a factor. If it was, he would be battling just Taj Gibson and DeJuan Blair for the two post spots. Instead, he’ll likely be passed over for five guards.
I see 11 legitimate candidates for the All-Rookie team – plus Omri Casspi, whose high scoring average makes it likely he receives consideration.
*For each category, I computed how many standard deviations each player was from the mean. Then, I averaged the three results for each player. Can any statisticians out there tell me if that’s sound analysis?
In case there’s an issue with my analysis above, I’ve included a second chart. It looks at the same categories, but it’s sorted by rank among this group of platers for each category.
The obvious drawback is that it doesn’t measure how close a player is to everyone else. For example, Jonny Flynn has fewer win shares than DaJuan Summers. But the Timberwolves guard just shows up one spot behind Darren Collison on this chart.
Next, I want to take a player-by-player look (organized by their rating on my chart). When available, the blogger for the player’s team has the first word. At the end, I’ll give my pick of whether Jerebko or that player is more deserving of All-Rookie honors.
Thornton is probably tied as the best pure scorer in this rookie class. (Note: this is purely as a scorer. He’s NOT a playmaker.) Evans will end up better, but right now his offensive game isn’t anywhere near as complete as Thornton’s, and his numbers outstrip Thornton purely because of opportunity. Steph Curry is a match for Thornton in the variety of ways he can score, but I’d take Thornton’s aggression over Curry’s shooting any day when looking for a scoring guard.
I’m impressed by Thornton’s ability to score efficiently and also in volume. Jerebko’s role is rebounding and defending. Thornton is also a role player, and his role is scoring. I think he fills his role a little better than Jerebko fills his.
Everyone knew Curry could shoot. But he’s controlled the game in many other ways, too. He’s a lot more complete than I expected, and he is and should be an All-Rookie lock.
Evans’ season averages: 20.3 points, 5.6 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. The only rookies to post a 20-5-5-1 season are Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Evans is special.
I really love Jerebko’s game. He should have a fine career and is certainly deserving of All-Rookie consideration. During the last Spurs-Pistons games, San Antonio couldn’t account for Jerebko’s unrelenting activity. But I give Blair the edge because he has played a vital role on a playoff-bound team, and his individual metrics are better.
Jerebko plays nine more minutes per game than Blair, but he doesn’t produce more than the Spur. Jerebko is a good rookie rebounder. Blair is a great rookie rebounder.
Jennings is being asked to shoulder a huge load on a playoff team. Yes, his numbers have slipped, but he’s still a very good player.
Jerebko and Gibson are putting up very similar stats in similar roles. This one was really tough choice, but I think Gibson has been slightly better. And he’s playing for a team in the playoff hunt. I don’t think that should mean a lot, but in a close race, it gives him the edge.
Other than poor, forgotten Ty Lawson, Collison is the best rookie point guard. Evans and Curry are combo guards, Flynn reminds me of a Grant Hill-era Lindsey Hunter, Brandon Jennings is more 55-point game hype than substance. Collison runs a team masterfully, knows when the press and when not to press, and picks things up astonishingly quickly for a rookie. He puts up gaudy numbers in crazy minutes, but even when you normalize, he’s taken the shots he should take, gotten his teammates involved, and turned the ball over two times more than he should have because he turns on the jets a little too hard and gets in trouble.
Who would’ve thought Chris Paul could go down with an injury and the Hornets would get similar point guard play? Collison has been awesome.
Honestly, after looking it over, I hate to say it because I’m a shameless homer and I feel that I need to side with my guy, but I’d give the edge to Jerebko. They’re averaging virtually the same points per game, Jerebko shoots a higher percentage from the field and he also gets more minutes. Harden has been extremely important to the Thunder’s success (consider the team is 3-3 without him), but rookie awards don’t consider things like playing on a winning team. So in terms of who has been the more productive rookie and not who is the betterplayer, I think I’d go with Jerebko, strictly in terms of first-team all-rookie.
I agree with Royce. I really like what Harden brings, but it just hasn’t been as much as Jerebko this year. Long-term, I’d take Harden over Jerebko. But this season, Jerebko produced more.
His shooting has been way down lately, and his defense has left a lot to be desired all season. He was even benched for a game. But it wouldn’t surprise me if his strong start and early-season hype place him on the second team.
I absolutely give the nod to Matthews. It’s still crazy to me that he want invited to the Rookie-Sophomore game. For me the clincher is the fact that he’s not only starting but usually finishing for a Western Conference contender.
I haven’t looked at the numbers, but I can’t think of another rookie who is contributing for a contender like Matthews.
Mathews and Jerebko score a similar amount of points on similar usage rates. They’re both good defenders, too. But I don’t think Mathews has another dimension to his game that can match Jerebko’s rebounding.
Ty Lawson has been exceptional this season for the Denver Nuggets. It is not easy for rookie point guards to make the transition to the NBA, nor is it easy for a rookie to play an important role on a contending, OK quasi-contending, team. Lawson has handled both duties superbly. He can accelerate the pace of the game all by himself, earn a teammate an easy scoring opportunity in the half court offense and even knock down the three pointer. The biggest surprise however, has been his defense. No one expected Lawson to defend his position so well. To top it all off Lawson has filled in admirably for Chauncey when he has been injured. In games where Lawson played more than 30 minutes, he has averaged 20.0 points and 6.7 assists.
I do have a request to make though. Do not hold the fact that acting coach Adrian Dantley seems to think he should play behind Anthony Carter against him. Dantley is clearly insane.
Do not let the fact that I cover the Nuggets fool you. I can see things objectively and I can say without bias or partisanship that Ty Lawson is more deserving than Jonas Jerebko of being named to the All-Rookie team. Jerebko has been a nice addition and will be a contributor in the NBA for years to come, but he is not the talent Lawson is. Now if we can only get Ty some playing time…
I’d take Lawson over Jerebko in a heart beat. But All-Rookie honors aren’t about who’s better. It’s about who’s accomplished more, and I’m not giving Lawson a bonus because he plays less. So, with all that considered, it’s almost a tossup.
After taking a closer look, Flynn shouldn’t even be in this discussion. But because he has a high scoring average, I bet he makes the All-Rookie second team.
I think eight players – Marcus Thornton, Stephen Curry, Tyreke Evans, DeJuan Blair, Brandon Jennings, Taj Gibson, Darren Collison and Ty Lawson – should make the All-Rookie team ahead of Jerebko.
That would place Jerebko solidly on the All-Rookie second team, which based on gut feel, seems about right.
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