2012-13 NBA Rookie Report: Week 7
Damian Lillard continues to rule the Rookie of the Year race with an iron fist, but his main competitor for the award Anthony Davis, returned to the court and proved that he will also be in discussion for the award at the end of the year.
Is the Rookie of the Year race truly a two-horse race or will another rookie step up and insert themselves into the conversation?
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
The legend of Damian Lillard continues to grow as the rookie out of Weber State played an integral part of an undefeated week 7 for the Blazers.
Lillard had one of his worst games of his rookie campaign to open the week, but the Blazers were able to come away with a 92 – 74 win versus the Toronto Raptors.
Lillard only hit 2 of 14 shots from the field including 0 for 5 from deep.
He was able to get to the free throw line, hitting all 5 of his attempts.
Lillard also dished out 6 assists and had 5 rebounds in the win.
Next up was a battle with the San Antonio Spurs, where the Blazers pulled out a 98 – 90 win.
Lillard rebounded from one of his worst performances to have one of his best of the season versus the Spurs.
He finished with 29 points, 6 assists and 7 rebounds while outplaying the veteran Tony Parker.
Lillard was 11 of 22 from the field, although he again struggled from beyond the arc, going 2 of 6.
The Trail Blazers finished off week 7 with a 95 – 94 win over the New Orleans Hornets, a game in which Lillard had the highlight of his first season.
With the Blazers and hornets tied at 92 with 4.2 seconds left in the game, Lillard took a hand off from Luke Babbit and drilled the game winning three-pointer right in the face of Hornets forward Ryan Anderson.
Check out the video of Lillard’s buzzer beater:
Lillard finished the game with 16 points, 4 assists and 2 rebounds but this one will be remembered for the big shot at the end to win the game.
Damian Lillard has proven that he can play, and play at a high level, in the NBA. He is consistently putting up numbers while contributing to a surprising season thus far in Portland.
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets
Davis was back on the court for the Hornets after battling an ankle injury. Unfortunately for New Orleans, Davis’ return did not equate to any wins.
In his first game back from the ankle injury, Davis put up 13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 steals in a 77 – 70 loss to the Washington Wizards.
The Hornets then traveled to Oklahoma City where they dropped a close one to the Thunder, losing 92 – 88.
Davis totaled 11 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block.
Next up for Davis and the Hornets were the Trail Blazers and Damian Lillard. As we mentioned before, Lillard’s game-winner gave the Blazers the 95 – 94 win.
Davis did his best in the rookie battle, putting up 15 points along with 5 rebounds and 1 block.
The Hornets hit the skids once Davis went down and they were unable to stop the slide even with Davis returning to the lineup.
The rookie big man is a difference maker when healthy and I suspect he will start to increase his output once he gets his legs back after his injury battles.
Alexey Shved, Minnesota Timberwolves
Shved had himself an impressive week which coincided with an undefeated week for the Timberwolves.
The Wolves first game of week 7 was a 108 – 105 win over the Denver Nuggets.
Shved did not have his best shooting night of the year in the win. He was 3 of 10 from the field, 0 of 3 from three-point land.
He finished with only 8 points but also contributed 5 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals.
In the Wolves next game, a 113 – 102 win in New Orleans, Shved had 13 points, 8 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals.
Shved was on fire in the 114 – 106 Wolves win. He hit 6 of 12 from the field, 3 of 5 from deep.
For the game, Shved had 18 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals.
The return of Ricky Rubio should only help Shved continue to put up his solid numbers this year.
Could Alexey Shved be the rookie to break the Lillard/Davis battle at the top of the Rookie Report?
Other rookies making a significant contribution to their teams include Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte Bobcats), Andrew Nicholson (Orlando Magic), Tyler Zeller (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors).
Can any rookie stop the Damian Lillard onslaught on the Rookie of the Year award?