If I asked you what rookies were really tearing it up, you’d probably have a list ready, no problem:  Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis, Jahlil Okafor…

But what if I asked you which rookies had been disappointing so far?  There are a few names that fit that category for rookie NBA players.

Lakers rookie D’Angelo Russell was the second overall pick, but he’s averaging just 9 points and 2 assists per game so far, not really what you might have expected.  He’s also squarely behind the Nuggets Emmanuel Mudiay.  Uh-oh. . .

Another name that’s not been lighting things up is the Magic’s Mario Hezonja.  He was the fifth overall pick, but has been just another fresh face on the court, not really lighting it up the way some had hoped. Of course, it’s early, but it’s worth keeping an eye on these big name draft picks to see if they eventually start to break out the way some of their classmates already have.


Power rankings for players! What?

(Last week’s ranking are in parentheses.)

  1.  Steph Curry, G (GS) (1) – The league’s most unstoppable player right now.
  1.  LeBron James, F (CLE) (3) – As expected, his Cavs rule the East.
  1.  Blake Griffin, F (LAC) (2) – Keep it together big guy.
  1.  Russell Westbrook, G (OKC) (8) – With Durant sidelined, he’s the man.
  1.  Andre Drummond, C (DET) (5) – OK, 19/19 instead of 20/20.  Still remarkable.
  1.  Jimmy Butler, G (CHI) (7) – Still overshadowed, unbelievably.
  1.  Chris Bosh, F (MIA) (–) – The key to the Heat’s early success.
  1.  DeMar DeRozan, G (TOR) (9) – Still has the Raptors clicking early
  1.  James Harden, G (HOU) (–) – Can’t do it ALL alone.
  1.  Paul George, G (IND) (–) – Not as out of it as we thought?

It’s rather early in the season for teams to be making trades, but the Miami Heat sent PG Mario Chalmers and James Ennis to Memphis for Beno Udrih and Jarnell Stokes.

This was apparently a cap move for the Heat, who were looking to deal Udrih or Stokes to a third team to drop even more salary.  But even without cap considerations, this is a deal that makes sense.  The Heat have their stars, they need play out of the backup point guard position that is steady and reliable.

That’s Udrih, not Chalmers.

For the Memphis Grizzlies, who are off to a poor start and could be looking to send a minor charge through the locker room, Chalmers has a championship pedigree, having been the starting PG for the Heat’s title teams, and brings more pizzaz to the court than Udrih.  It’s an early deal, and it probably doesn’t materially change the look of either team, but it does tell you where both teams are at in terms of their current thinking.


What’s the hot rumor this week?

Conflict between Sacramento Kings coach George Karl and center DeMarcus Cousins barely constitutes a “rumor,” but apparently Karl was looking to discipline Cousins for a temper tantrum following their loss to the Spurs and was flat out told no by GM Vlade Divac, who apparently has decreed that Karl needs “permission” for any real punishment of Cousins like a benching.

This can’t end well, especially since it’s begun horribly for the Kings.


Observations and opinions on this week’s action

“This is a great win on the road with a young team.  Hopefully it’s a confidence booster as we continue to move forward.” – Timberwolves veteran Tayshaun Prince, on the Timberwolves’ unlikely win at Chicago.

“LeBron is the best player in the game.  We all know that.” – Pacers coach Frank Vogel, after the best player in the game led his team to a win over the Pacers.

“I’ve coached a long time and have never been part of a fourth quarter like that.” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy, after his team outscored Portland 41-11 in the fourth quarter to cap off a comeback win.

“I’ve been in positions where you have bad starts. I’ve had everything in my life, from six straight to nine straight.  We just have to play more 48 minutes of basketball, more solid basketball and more together basketball.” Kings coach George Karl, whose team is 1-7.  I also suggest they play less shitty basketball.  That would probably work too.

“I asked him how many times he shot the ball.  Dwyane said not enough. And I said `Are you going to be like Uncle Kobe and shoot a lot more?’” – Kobe Bryant, about meeting Dwayne Wade’s son and giving him some Kobe-esque advice on basketball.