Rookie of the year + Preview

It's getting down to the end of the season, so it's time for the hype to start up for an award that's not to be confused with something relating to Henry Rowengartner. The league's official site has been doing rookie rankings all year and the top three slots are taken by the top three picks... just not in that order. At the moment, they have an order of Okafor - Howard - Gordon. Time for some stats.

Emeka Okafor
17.1 PER, 17.9 Defensive PER, -1.1 Roland Rating
35.6 MPG, 14.9 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 43.8 FG%, 1.8 BPG, 1.07 PPS
- His team's first option (13.9 FGA/game to Primoz Brezec's 10.5)

Dwight Howard
18.1 PER, 16.7 Defensive PER, -3.4 Roland Rating
32.3 MPG, 11.2 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 51.2 FG%, 1.63 BPG
Slanted up to 36 MPG...
12.5 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 1.8 BPG
- His team's fourth option (7.7 FGA/game... Mobley is ahead of him but not with the team anymore, so Dwight is moved up to fourth... Turkoglu is hurt, but this doesn't have a large affect on the season stats)

Ben Gordon
15.5 PER, 12.3 Defensive PER, +4.2 Roland Rating
24.1 MPG, 15.2 PPG, 42.4 FG%, 42.7 3FG%, 1.19 PPS
Slanted up to 36 MPG... 22.7 PPG
- His team's second option (12.8 FGA/game to Hinrich's 14.5)

The first two are pretty comparable aside from the fact that Okafor takes almost twice as many shots as Howard does. You have to give Okafor a bit of an edge for that, which puts them at about even. If you go by how much the rookie helps his team, as many folks do, then Gordon's Roland Rating, high shooting percentages and defensive PER put him ahead of the two big men. It's pretty much personal preference. Workhorse versus nice cog versus scoring/defending machine who only plays half the game. Personally I think it'll go to Gordon... and he probably should win it too. We'll see.

Now, for the preview. As mentioned recently, the Pistons are playing the Clips tonight, which marks Larry Brown's return to the sidelines. Arroyo and Hamilton are both questionable for the Pistons, while Simmons and Kaman are questionable for the Clippers. The Clips are 7-27 on the road. Clips are on a three game losing streak in which they're averaging 82.7 PPG. Pistons beat the Clips 99-96 in LA during the opening stretch... so as usual, it's disregarded. Based on these factors and presuming Hamilton plays, I suspect the Pistons will steamroll in Brown's return. Even if he doesn't play I think they've got a pretty good shot. So, expect the 45th win (and 33rd since the horrid start) in the standings after this evening.


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