Fantasy Basketball

2011 Fantasy Basketball: Brandon Knight & The Week One Rookie Wrap-Up


Brandon Knight (credits below)

Not since the 1998-1999 season has there been a heavier reliance on the young legs, high energy, and exuberance rookies bring to NBA teams. In just one week the league has seen rookies like New Jersey’s Marshon Brooks, Detroit’s Brandon Knight, and Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio fill significant voids for their teams in an effort to survive the 66 games sprint to April. This 2012 rookie class doesn’t appear to contain a John Wall or Blake Griffin, a headline force that steps into stardom, but instead we may see a bevy of role players who, in time, will develop into quality pieces for the future.

At 24.3 years of age, the Minnesota Timberwolves have the youngest aggregate age of any team in the NBA and their youth movement is sure to find a handful of pieces that will stick. Among those pieces in Spanish import and Houdini point guard Ricky Rubio. In his first three games Rubio has seen an average of 28 minutes per contest and dished out a remarkable 7.3 assists in limited action. Tempering expectations for the 21 year old has been a high turnover rate. In a December 30th contest against Miami, Rubio flashed a brilliant 12 assist effort but his 5 turnovers hurt his T’Wolves down the stretch in a 101-103 loss.

Alongside Rubio, Minnesota’s #2 overall selection, Derrick Williams, has given Kevin Love and company a spark off the bench while creating matchup issues for opponents. At 6’8’’, 241 pounds, Williams possess the physical skills of a power forward while showcasing the abilities of a much more nimble forward. Few teams can match up with the rookie who hasn’t been shy about showing off his long distance game (2.7 attempted three’s/game) as well as displaying his skills putting the ball on the floor at finishing (at least one trip to the free throw line/game). With limitless potential paired with resolute work ethic, Minnesota has a duo in Williams and Rubio that they can finally put in place around centerpiece Kevin Love.

Detroit too may be a year or two away from competing for a playoff spot but that hasn’t stopped a young Pistons team from looking towards a 2012 playoff birth. With the loss of veteran leader Richard Hamilton, Detroit has inserted rookie Brandon Knight as the offensive sparkplug they’ll need to compete in the ever-powerful Eastern Conference. In just his second game as a pro Knight turned heads with his 23 points and 6 assists in a December 28th contest versus Cleveland. Moving forward Knight should continue to see a steady stream of playing time come his way as the primary backup option to Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon.

The New Jersey Nets didn’t have the luxury of a lottery selection in last summer’s draft but that didn’t stop head coach Avery Johnson from finding a diamond in the rough in rookie Marshon Brooks. The youngster out of Providence has yet to crack the starting rotation but the lanky swingman has found a niche in the scoring column to the tune of 15.3 points per game. In addition to his offensive flare, Brooks has been a defensive asset for the developing Nets who are desperate for a solid defender (21st in team defense, allowing 97.3 PPG).

Written by Conor Gereg exclusively for

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(December 27, 2011 – Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images North America) 

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