As the trade deadline passes, teams are still looking for contributions from new sources, and this may come from rookies as we continue RookieWatch 07-08 with picks #26-30, the last of the first round. You can also check out Fantasy Basketball Pros’ analysis of the rest of the first round picks here: #1-5 | #6-10 | #11-15 | #16-20 | #21-25
- Aaron Brooks, Houston Rockets – A streaky guard from Oregon, Brooks showed signs of stardom in college but may be too small to make an impact in the NBA. Brooks has been unable to get anything more than garbage minutes for the Rockets this year, but has shown some proficiency in handling the ball and shooting free throws. Still, with the acquisition of Bobby Jackson, it seems that Brooks’s role diminishes even further.
Recommendation: Ignore Brooks, consider Jackson if you need 3-point shooting and he is getting solid minutes in a strong rotation.
- Arron Afflalo, Detroit Pistons – A key cog in the UCLA teams that made two consecutive Final Fours, Afflalo fell to the late first round due to inconsistent shooting and unimpressive physical features. He has battled fellow rookie Rodney Stuckey for minutes, and this has caused both players to have minimal value (unless you can own both players with one roster spot). Afflalo will keep getting about 10-15 minutes/game the rest of the season, but it will not be enough to get you any type of stats.
Recommendation: See if the commissioner will allow you to own a combination of Afflalo and Stuckey.
- Tiago Splitter, San Antonio Spurs – If anyone knows how to draft foreign players, it’s the Spurs, who have picked up Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili in previous drafts and have the best international scouts in the NBA. Is Splitter the next in line of the great international Spurs players? Well, we will not find out until at least 2008, since he is serving out the rest of his contract with TAU Ceramica of the Spanish League. He has great size and raw ability at 22 years old, and if he plays for the Spurs, he can learn from one of the greatest power forwards ever.
Recommendation: Keep an eye on him next season. For now, pretend he does not exist.
- Alando Tucker, Phoenix Suns – A strong contender for the Naismith Award as a senior at Wisconsin, Tucker just did not project well to the NBA since he is 6-6 but plays mostly a post game. He has only played in 5 games with the Suns this year and really does not fit their style well at all, so he has been running in the NBDL. This was really a wasted pick by the Suns: not much upside and the wrong player for the system.
Recommendation: Will never make an impact in the NBA, so why would he help your team?
- Petteri Koponen, Philadelphia 76ers – The fifth and final international player selected in the first round, Koponen was traded to the Portland Trailblazers on draft day for Derrick Byars and cash considerations. Currently, he is playing for Espoo Honka of the Finnish league and has made great strides in international tournaments. Seems like a player that could develop into the Steve Nash mold, except not nearly as good. Sounds like he would have looked good at the 29th pick…
Recommendation: Try to get Steve Nash instead.
As is normal, the end of the first round produced no players with any impact this year. However, my guess is that Splitter and possibly Koponen will become solid NBA regulars in a few years.