Rookie rankings, with a warning

Drew Packham, in his debut with NBA.com, has unveiled his rankings of this year’s crop of rookies so far. He takes into account how each rookie played in this year’s Summer League and warns that the rankings “are not a ranking based on how I think they will finish the season.”

He also gives a warning based on last year’s Summer League:

It’s early. Very early.

And not only is it early, but it’s Summer League. As a point of reference, take a look back at the top four scorers from the 2008 NBA Summer League: Jerryd Bayless (29.8 ppg), Donte Greene (22.6 ppg), Quincy Douby (22.3 ppg) and Alando Tucker (21.6 ppg).

How did those four fare in 2009? Tucker finished as the highest scorer — averaging 4.6 points — so we have to take the last two weeks with a grain of salt.

Griffin is probably the  /><p class=Griffin is probably the only source of production to count on from this year's rookie class. (Wikimedia/Conman33)

Take a look at the link above to see the details, but here’s how Packham’s top 10 rounds out:

  1. Blake Griffin (F) – L.A. Clippers
  2. Jonny Flynn (G) – Minnesota Timberwolves
  3. Tyreke Evans (G) – Sacramento Kings
  4. James Harden (G) – Oklahoma City Thunder
  5. Brandon Jennings (G) – Milwaukee Bucks
  6. Ty Lawson (G) – Denver Nuggets
  7. Dante Cunningham (F) – Portland Trail Blazers
  8. DeJuan Blair (F) – San Antonio Spurs
  9. Austin Daye (C) – Detroit Pistons
  10. Tyler Hansbrough (F) – Indiana Pacers

As always, rookies make for sexy picks, especially when you want to surprise your friends on draft day by picking one up a bit earlier than expected.  But don’t get caught up in the appeal of drafting rookies too early.  Besides Griffin, there are no surefire bets for steady production in this year’s class.

Still, monitor rookies and their play throughout the season.  They can often make for great waiver wire pickups, especially on bad teams that exit playoff contention early on in the season.