Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Not all rookies are created equal

A couple of days ago I was browsing through some recaps of the NBA preseason games against teams from the EuroLeague, and I came across the recap of the Rockets-Panathinaikos game.

One line really caught my attention:
Rookie Luis Scola scored 17 points[.]
I know that Scola is in his first season in the NBA, so he's considered a rookie by the league, but do we really need to see him described that way over the course of the year?

I mean, he's 27 years old (the same age, as a I recently discovered, as the Sixers' "grizzled veteran" Reggie Evans). He's been a key member of Argentina's gold medal winning team, and he's been widely considered the best player in Europe for the last couple of years by NBA scouts. And from what I saw of him in the FIBA Tournament of the Americas, he's the real deal.

Should we really be evaluating his season the same way that we'll be evaluating Thaddeus Young's season (to take just one home team rookie as an example)? I don't think so.

I know that Kevin Durant is everyone's choice to win rookie of the year (especially now that Greg Oden is injured), but I think my money will be on Luis Scola actually being the best "rookie" this year.

[Over at ESPN.com, David Thorpe gives his take on the rookie class. It's an Insider article, but currently available to everyone, so check it out now before it goes back behind the wall. The short version: Durant is favored to win rookie of the year, followed by Scola and the other non-rookie rookie, Juan Carlos Navarro. The Sixers' rookies are both listed as "others to watch" which seems to stand for "don't bother to watch" since 16 rookies are listed before them!]

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