1. This season's best rookie guard will not be Mayo or Rose
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.
It's great to see how much his FG% is improving. More important than any stats though, I hope RW makes his team play better, because in the world of CBH and Coach Wooden, thats all that matters. Id take the tenacity of RW's defense over the scoring of OJ Payo anyday.