Discussion

The rookie cream, surprises and disappointments

Originally Published: February 3, 2006
By John Hollinger | ESPN Insider
Editor's note: This article was originally published on February 6.

OK, so perhaps the NBA Rookie of the Year voting won't provide much suspense this year. Unless aliens invade in the night and secretly inject Chris Paul with Rafael Araujo's DNA, the Hornets' point guard will win going away.

But what of the rest of the rookie class? If Paul is blowing the doors off, it follows that the rest of this year's crew isn't exactly making us forget the LeBron-Melo-Bosh-Wade class of 2003. Besides this one breakout star, the other rookies have all had their ups and downs this season.

Perhaps we should have expected this. Unlike a year ago, when a great high school class saved what otherwise would have been a dud of a rookie crop, this year's prepsters didn't bring much to the table. In a draft already devoid of superstar talent, that meant we weren't likely to see many impact players.

Nonetheless, some have turned out better than others. With their first campaign half over, it's time to assess where each of this year's rookies stands and what their future holds. The class of 2005 is easily broken down into three groups -- the cream, the surprises, and the disappointments. Of course, Paul should be in a class by himself, but he'll have to settle for being captain of the first team:

THE CREAM

Chris Paul, New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets: In addition to all the other things he's bringing to the table, check out this stat: Paul has the second-best Rebound Rate of any point guard, trailing only Jason Kidd. The 6-foot, 20-year-old Paul is outrebounding Mark Blount, Rashard Lewis, Andre Iguodala, Shane Battier, Carmelo Anthony, Tayshaun Prince, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade, among others.

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