Every now and then my family will have a fairly large reunion. Aside from seeing faces I don’t get to see too often, the best part is eating all the food that people bring. Once in a blue moon, however, the food, overall, doesn’t hit the spot. I wouldn’t dare describe which foods just in case my family decides to do some detective work on Facebook, but don’t worry familia, nobody’s perfect. You’re allowed to give up a three-run homer every now and then.
Even on that rare day where my taste buds want to huddle together and declare war, there’s still usually one dish that will get me through the afternoon. To make up for the rest, I’ll keep going back to that particular food item (stealthily, of course).
That basically sums up the rookie class for the 2011-12 NBA season. There are a couple of bright spots in an overall terrible, terrible table of food. Kyrie Irving, Mambino’s Rookie of the Year, has played the Cleveland Savior role to near-perfection (“near” because he ended the season on the injury list). Ricky Rubio has dazzled Minnesota fans, giving superstar teammate Kevin Love something to finally smile about…until Rubio himself ended up hurt, tearing his ACL. And then there’s YOUR favorite rookie, Iman Shumpert, whose presence on the defensive end will be highlighted in a future Mambino awards post. I feel extra proud of Shumpert’s progress as an on-ball super-glue defender just because he plays for my team; it’s kind of like when my mama knocks it out of the park when she makes mac-and-cheese or artichoke dip.
But for the most part, the rookie class has been truly disappointing. You’ll see. Our All-Rookie teams await you.
All-Rookie First Team:
Guard: Kyrie Irving (Rookie of the Year), Cleveland Cavaliers
Guard: Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves
Forward: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
Forward: Chandler Parsons, Houston Rockets
Center: Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers
KOBEsh: You know you’re in trouble when two of your 1st Teamers have played only roughly 2/3 of the season. Thanks, NBA Lockout. You’re like the herpes of the sports world; sometimes we forget about you, but the inflammation strikes when we see Tristan Thompson is 1st Team All-Rookie.
We all tempered Kyrie Irving with pretty modest expectations for the season, and even moreso in projecting the number 1 overall pick’s career. Everyone (including us) thought he’d take more than his fair share of lumps his rookie year, with a likely high turnover rate and low shooting percentage. In Cleveland, the focus would be on developing Irving, without leaning on him too much. We all saw him as becoming something close to a Jrue Holiday-type of point guard; solid, steady, but un-spectacular. And then Kyrie shoved it to everyone.
Irving came with an explosiveness and confidence that no one could have reasonably expected from someone who played a dozen games in college. He ran the Cleveland offense efficiently, with the calm of a veteran point guard. He got his own shot with an explosive first step to the hole, and shot the ball with a better stroke than his years should have given him. At the mid-February mark, Cleveland was still on the fringes of making the playoffs, which for a non-rookie, would have made him an All-Star. At this point, would you take Irving for the rest of his career, or Jrue Holiday? There goes that comparison.
One of the stiffs that Irving dragged to competence is our starting center here, Tristan Thompson. Thomp… Read more...