"Since everyone sees this rookie of the year race as a two-man chase between Derrick Rose and O.J. Mayo, let me steal a page from Rob Neyer and present this comparison:
Player A: 37.3 min., 16.3 pts., 6.2 ast., 45.9 FG%, 13.58 PER
Player B: 36.4 min., 17.7 pts., 3.8 ast., 43.8 FG%, 14.03 PER
Player C: 33.1 min., 15.5 pts., 5.1 ast., 46.2 FG%, 16.23 PER
Player A is Rose in the month of December. Player B is Mayo in the month of December. And Player C, who has more combined points and assists per minute than either Rose or Mayo, a better shooting percentage and a higher Player Efficiency Rating? That would be Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook in the month of December.
He's getting zero attention because he had a dreadful November and his team has won only five games. But Westbrook has been spectacular over the past month -- he shot 34.5 percent in November but 46.2 percent in December and hung 22 points, nine assists and six rebounds on the Knicks on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Rose and Mayo have cooled off from their hot starts. Westbrook also is the youngest of the three, the best defender and the only one who had to change positions upon arriving in the NBA. All of which suggests he's only scratching the surface of his potential -- as does the fact that he has a higher turnover ratio than the other two, which, in a paradoxical twist of logic, is actually a good thing for a rookie. Historically, those with high turnover rates have had much higher rates of improvement in subsequent seasons.
So 12 months from now, don't be surprised if we're calling Westbrook the top guard from this rookie class."
And also, if that last line becomes true, don't be surprised if I send David Berri a gloating email.
Note: If you're an ESPN Insider, you could continue reading as Hollinger also predicts OKC will win 20 (TWENTY!) games this year. I've got them penciled down for about 14-17 at this moment, but who am I to disagree with John "The Brain" Hollinger? I just hope he didn't watch last night's game.
Also... in today's B.S. Report, Bill talks with Ric Bucher and Marc Stein and at about the 47 minute mark, they get into Oklahoma City and potential trades. Also, Bill asks if Portland had to do it all over again, would the Blazers take Kevin Durant? Bill even makes the bold claim that if Durant hits his ceiling, he will be one of the top 20 players ever. Interesting stuff.