Thursday, January 08, 2009

Welcome Back

Did you miss the blog that told you as far back as February 22, 2007 that Paul Millsap was a keeper? The blog unafraid to compare the beauty of Zaza Pachulia with Zha Zha Gabor? The blog that has drawn comments from as many as three readers who I don't even know personally?

Well, I did. And after a tiring election season, I'm back in the saddle and ready to serve.

In the tradition of DGU, I would like to open with a discussion of one of my favorite rookies in the current class, Russell Westbrook. 2008/2009 is quietly shaping up to be an impressive rookie class (having nothing to do with Kevin Love's breathtaking outlet passes), and Westbrook plays no small part.

Perhaps most impressive about the 08/09 class is that it has has two very talented stars (OJ Mayo and Derrick Rose) and two solid pivot men (Marc Gasol and Brook Lopez), a combination that no recent draft has been able to produce. There are also many young men that could become very good players (Michael Beasley, Greg Oden, Kevin Love, Eric Gordon, Mario Chalmers) and some nice surprises (Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Courtney Lee, Anthony Morrow, Jason Thompson). It's just a good, solid class.

The thing that makes me the happiest, though, is that it's produced a guard who is a great, great dunker (with no disrespect to Mr. Rose) and I'd like to honor him with the memory of a couple of his college dunks. I'll be pulling for him in the slam dunk contest but Nate Robinson is clearly the man to beat in that arena. Either way, it's always fun to have some new, young talent in the highlight reels.

(Do you think Vince Carter ever thinks to himself "I would make a ton of money if I participated in the dunk contest and people started to like me again"? I mean, that makes a lot of sense, right? I realize there's been a rule change but obviously they'd change it back for him. Sorry, back to Westbrook.)

Now tell me that doesn't excite you a little bit.

Impressively, Westbrook is playing better in the NBA than he ever did in college. His averages of 14 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 1.5 steals compare to UCLA stats of 12.7 points, 4.3 assists, and 3.9 rebounds. His rookie stats are impressive enough that I'd say they are the second best all-around line in the rookie class to Rose's 17.1, 6.0, 3.5, and .86.

What's really admirable is that Westbrook is not a point guard by trade and only played the position sparingly at UCLA. However, Oklahoma City has dictated to him his role of starting point guard and he has filled it admirably, despite limited shooting range and a team that is at the bottom of the heap for NBA talent. There was a nice story in the Oklahoma City papers a couple of days ago that noted "...Russell Westbrook didn't know there was such a thing as the rookie of the month award in the NBA -- until he won it."

Here's to you, Russell. You're the DGU ROY thusfar, if only for your response to the thoughtful journalist who asked "Do you believe in moral victories, Russell?"


As always, e-mail me at


Prolow said...

Russell Westbrook is still my second favorite Westbrook, but he is nasty. Good to see the blog back.

daryl said...

westbrook's a beast, but he's no VC...more like a desmond mason.