With the first round of the NBA Playoffs wrapping up, some teams are seeing significant and impressive production from rookies.
Brandon Jennings racked up 31 points in Wednesday night’s win at Atlanta along with a 12 point showing Friday night in Milwaukee. The series is knotted up at 3-3 with game 7 in Atlanta on Sunday.
The OKC Thunder had a pair of impressive first year players: Serge Ibaka and James Harden. Ibaka racked up 12 points and 9 rebounds in the Thunder’s season ending loss to the Lakers last night as well as 10 points and 8 rebounds on Tuesday. Harden, who probably should have made it into my post earlier this week on playoff rookies stepping up, didn’t show up last night (only 2 points in 13 min.) showed bursts of significant production throughout the series, scoring in double digits in games three, four, and five- 18, 15, and 11, respectively- and was the key to the Thunder playing LA so close in my opinion, as his two best performances garnered their two wins while the games he didn’t tend to show up for were losses. The Thunder are a young and scary team.
Lastly, but certainly not least, we have an undrafted free agent who gives Jennings a run for his money as far as the most impressive playoff rookie. Wesley Matthews, the undrafted SG out of Marquette, worked his way onto the Jazz starting lineup, and has been their starting 2 guard since they traded away Ronnie Brewer. Matthews isn’t just starting, he’s putting up good numbers. Averaging 13.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, and 1.9 apg, the undrafted rookie has helped the Jazz advance to the second round against the Lakers. Be sure to root for this guy whenever the Jazz play, he’s worked his tail off to get where he is and deserves all of it.
Sadly, if the Bucks don’t win tomorrow night in Atlanta, all but Wesley Matthews will have been eliminated from the playoffs.