This week's Report covers Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal and Andre Drummond.[caption id="attachment_13909" align="aligncenter" width="633"] Photo Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports[/caption] Week 12 of the Rookie Report is here, and with that we are fast approaching the mid-season. Are you looking forward to the All-Star Weekend, or have you already tuned out after viewing countless advertisements? Have a look at our top picks for the top competitors for this year's Rookie of the Year award, and how they have contributed to their team's performance in the past week's games.
Damian Lillard (Portland Trailblazers)The frontrunner stays ahead yet again this week, keeping steady with double digit scoring at an average of 18.25 PPG with heavy minutes played (39 minutes per game average). All four games played (Denver, Cleveland, Milwaukee and Washington) came with an L on the win/loss column, which points to Lillard not yet being able to impact the game as a consistent scorer. A "flaw" in his game --if it can be called that-- is the lack of consistent 3 point scoring. He was 9 of 25 total over this week, and at the Cavaliers game: 1 for 5. The 3 point shot has become an indispensable facet of the NBA game, and is fast becoming a tool for players of every position, especially the guard. Being a certifiable perimeter threat opens up court spacing for the rest of the team, especially on a team with capable big men like Hickson and Aldridge who can roll to the basket. Damian Lillard is already well known as a playmaker and for his composure on hitting big shots. The next logical step would be to first increase his shot efficiency, and then the volume of shots taken, so as not to take away the amount of shots available to the team. There is no question that Lillard has plenty of room for improvement, but as to whether he makes the next leap upwards in the weeks ahead? One can hope and wait. Nevertheless, Lillard remains our top pick for now.
Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)Welcome to the surging Washington Wizards, ladies and gents. They may have only split their last four games in the week, but there is no shame in losing to current top teams like the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers. John Wall's return has in short, ignited Beal's offensive firepower. He averaged 16 points per game while logging roughly 32 minutes in every outing. 16 points is certainly no stellar figure, but the number was brought down somewhat by an extremely quiet showing with only 2 points (a season low) in the victory game against the Portland Trailblazers. Is there more Beal to come? You can count on that. With the pass-first point guard John Wall is, expect Beal to be open and ready to make his outside shots count. Beal's role in the two guard position is clearly defined, he can and will look to score with ease in the new offensive spacing, now that the team is better equipped to play with John Wall at the point and Nene/Okafor in the paint.
Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons)The Detroit Pistons are playing well with Andre Drummond on the pick and roll and hustle plays, and boy is he performing or what? The Pistons now have a big man who can roll to the basket --or cut backdoor-- and finish with ease, forcing the defenses to close in on Drummond while providing much needed spacing for guards Brandon Knight and Will Bynum. Andre averaged 12.6 points per game over the last week, playing about 21 minutes each game. His contributions in the victories over the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic cannot be discounted: a combined 27 points, 18 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks over the two games in limited minutes speaks of potential that could be unleashed with increased playing time. Are you excited to see how Andre Drummond develops in the years ahead? I certainly am.
This concludes our Rookie Report choices for this week, honourable mentions would include Anthony Davis (New Orleans Hornets), Jared Sullinger (Boston Celtics). What do you think, did your favourite rookie have a great showing this week? Let us know in the comments below.