We’ve looked back on the best players at each position from the 2010 fantasy basketball season. Now we’re preparing to steal a few glimpses at the 15 best rookies of 2010. Everyone has their preferred way to steal glimpses. Some put on dark sunglasses, others find reflective surfaces like storefront windows or iPad screens so as not to look directly at the subject you want to see, and yet others preemptively stare at the empty space their glimpse-able object will inhabit until they walk right into it and, whoops, it was just an accident that you were glimpsing! That got a little awkward, I know. Almost as awkward as ranking 15 rookies that were worth owning this season. Spoiler alert: there weren’t 15 worth owning this season. There were five and a bunch of kids with a great month or week or, um, upside. Speaking of upside, before we get to the 15 players that are on this list, it’s worth mentioning that Jordan Crawford isn’t. This is what I’m talkin’ about, Willis. Many teams didn’t know what they had in some of these rookies until the season was at least half over. Crawford isn’t in the top 15 because the Hawks played him in garbage minutes for two-thirds of the season. Then D.C. got him in the Hinrich trade and played him 33 minutes where he averaged 16/3/4, with 2.1 stls+3ptm per game. Read about his sleeper status here if you feel cheated. 16/3/4 from a rookie in 40 games would have been enough to land him here. In the 26 games he played with D.C., it wasn’t. So take this list with all the grains of salt that come in a box of six microwaveable soft pretzels as we look at the 15 most productive fantasy basketball rookies from 2010:
1. Blake Griffin – Went over him in the top 20 power forwards in 2010 post.
2. John Wall – Went over him in the top 20 point guards in 2010 post.
3. Landry Fields – Went over him in the top 20 shooting guards in 2010 post.
4. Greg Monroe – Went over him in the top 20 centers in 2010 post.
5. DeMarcus Cousins – Went over him in the top 20 centers in 2010 post.
6. Eric Bledsoe – Remember when Timothy Dalton took over the James Bond franchise in ’86 and everyone was like, “Oh. Okay. I guess that might work.” Then three years and two movies later it looked as if he’d miraculously sunk a virile franchise? This was Bledsoe’s contribution to the Clippers floor generals this season. Randy Foye was Lazenby (humorous and not worth serious consideration), Baron was Roger Moore (like it or not, he’s running things for a while), and Mo Williams is Brosnan/Craig (I don’t really care who’s headlining, I just hope this doesn’t suck). In November, Bledsoe averaged 10/4/6 in 34 minutes and everyone felt they had a breakout on their hands.
2010 totals: 22.7 mpg/ .424/ .744/ 0.4 3ptm/ 6.7 pts/ 2.8 rbd/ 3.6 ast/ 1.1 stl/ 0.3 blk/ 2.4 tov, 81 games
7. Wesley Johnson – I really had no idea how terribly Johnson shot the ball this season, mostly because I didn’t own him anywhere and tried to avoid Minnesota games at all costs because, well, because guys on that team shoot .397/.696 on the regular. And he was the seventh most productive rookie all season!
2010 totals: 26.2 mpg/ .397/.696/ 1.3 3ptm/ 9 pts/ 3 rbd/ 1.9 ast/ 0.7 stl/ 0.7 blk/ 1.2 tov, 79 games
8. Gary Neal – Tony Parker was right, the team is too old. Even its rookie was 46 years old!
201o totals: 21.1 mpg/ .451/.808/ 1.6 3ptm/ 9.8 pts/ 2.5 rbd/ 1.2 ast/ 0.3 stl/ 0.1 blk/ 1 tov, 80 games
9. Ed Davis – Davis started the season injured, then when he returned, he remembered he’d been drafted by the Raptors. So that took some time to get over. Once he hit his groove, he was, um, groovy I guess. Still, Toronto’s main initiative for the 2011 season must be to find this guy a nickname. Ed Davis just won’t work. It sounds like the guy who checks my gas meter. Get on it Canada. I’m entering Davis Rent-A-Star and Ed Zeppelin into the conversation.
2010 totals: 24.6 mpg/ .576/.555/ 0 3ptm/ 7.7 pts/ 7.1 rbd/ 0.6 ast/ 0.6 stl/ 1 blk/ 0.7 tov, 65 games
10. Paul George – The thematic thread running through the 2010 rookie class? Two first names.
2010 totals: 20.7 mpg/ .453/.762/ 0.7 3ptm/ 7.8 pts/ 3.7 rbd/ 1.1 ast/ 1 stl / 0.4 blk/ 1.1 tov, 61 games
11. Evan Turner – The most remarkable part of Turner’s flop of a rookie season, was how many chances he was given in order to prove himself. Of the nos. 6-15 rookies on this list, only Johnson and Ed Davis played more minutes and only Bledsoe, Johnson and Neal appeared in more than 78 games. By those parameters alone, Turner should be ranked no less than seventh here.
2010 totals: 23 mpg/ .425/.808/ 0.2 3ptm/ 7.2 pts/ 3.9 rbd/ 2 ast/ 0.6 stl/ 0.2 blk/ 1 tov, 78 games
12. Derrick Favors – I’m convinced Favors’ involvement in the Carmelo trade rumors kept him from getting the same criticism that Turner was getting. With Turner, the wrap was that he wasn’t doing well. With Favors, the wrap was that he would do well one day. He made incremental improvements between November and April. Hype schmype.
2010 totals: 19.7 mpg/ .517/.595/0 3ptm/ 6.8 pts/5.3 rbd/ 0.5 ast/ 0.4 stl/ 0.9 blk/ 1 tov, 78 games
13. Al-Farouq Aminu – Only the Clippers could have three of the best 15 rookies in a single season and still see to it that only one of them was any good. Best five-game stretch in 2010 for Aminu: November 9-17 (13/5/1, with 2 stl, and 2 3ptm.). He never approached anything like this again. In leagues deep enough to warrant rostering him, owners likely waited until the third or fourth game in this stretch to grab him and were burned for the better part of the next two weeks.
2010 totals: 17.9 mpg/ .394/.773/0.6 3ptm/ 5.6 pts/ 3.3 rbd/ 0.7 ast/ 0.7 stl/ 0.3 blk/ 1.3 tov, 71 games
14. Trevor Booker – Jordan Crawford would be no. 17 on this list. Which means that the Clippers and Wizards are rostering six of the league’s 17 best rookies. Those teams combined to go 55-109 last year. That should tell you all you need to know about this rookie class. Am I being overly flip and a little harsh? Yes. Did Trevor Booker improve your fantasy team? I sure hope not.
2010 totals: 16.4 mpg / .549/.673/ 0 3ptm/ 5.3 pts/ 3.9 rbd/ 0.5 ast/ 0.4 stl/ 0.6 blk/ 0.6 tov, 65 games
15. Patrick Patterson – PaPa didn’t play his first pro game until Christmas. It took me until March to stop calling him Pat Patrickson. These two things are connected.
2010 totals: 16.7 mpg/ .558/.715/ 0 3ptm/ 6.3 pts/ 3.8 rbd/ 0.8 ast/ 0.3 stl/ 0.7 blk / 0.6 tov, 52 games