In the the latest NBA Rookie Power Rankings Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat rose a bit to the 8th best player picked thus far from 2017 NBA draft. As Colin Ward-Henninger writes about first-year NBA players, “This is the roller coaster that is life for an NBA rookie.”
The small sample size leads to wild fluctuations because of limited minutes played, strength of schedule, NBA scouts figuring out how to stop players. He notes, “After being No. 1 just three weeks ago, Kuzma dropped all the way out of the rankings, averaging just 9.3 points while shooting 32 percent from the field and 14 percent from the 3-point line.”
”After weeks of predictability at the top among Ben Simmons, Donovan Mitchell, Kyle Kuzma and Jayson Tatum, a dark horse from Finland comes stampeding into the rankings to stomp his hooves all over the top spot. Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen led all rookies in scoring this week, and put on an absolute show in his Madison Square Garden debut while making some history in the process.”
His assessment of Adebayo, “After a relatively quiet four-game stretch following the return of Hassan Whiteside, Adebayo exploded with a 16-point, 15-rebound, five-block performance in a gritty win in Toronto. He followed that up with 15 points and five assists against the Pacers as Miami continued to roll with its sixth straight win.”
”When Spoelstra surrounds the two big men with three shooters -- Goran Dragic, Wayne Ellington and Josh Richardson -- the lineup has seen a net rating of plus-9.8 in eight minutes, with an expectedly stingy defensive rating of 67.1.”
Coaches will be studying these game tapes to decide on whom to double-team and trap this week. Teams figured out how to cool down the hot Kuzma: can Adebayo and the coaching staff develop alternatives when opponents take away Bam’s go-to moves? Look for a wild ride as teams plant land mines in Adebayo’s path.
Ward-Henninger mentioned Miami’s recent hot streak. A few more wins could enhance the chances for a Heat player as one of the seven reserve spots coaches pick. Especially if the Heat grab third place, media will push for a representative from Miami.
Still three weeks and change left guys, let’s hear some noise for Dragic, Whiteside, Richardson, Ellington (#WE2LA). Fasten your seat belts because other teams always want to knock off the top dogs.
SPEAKING OF ROOKIES AND SKYFORCE
Derrick Jones Jr. had 30 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block in 38 minutes, and Derrick Walton Jr. 25 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 turnovers, 1 steal in 31 minutes for the Skyforce’s 108-107 overtime win over the Raptors in the G-League Showcase event today. 7-foot A.J. Hammons had 2 rebounds and 5 points in 21 minutes against G-League players.