Lakers rookie Sun Yue has appeared in only nine games this season, receiving 2.9 minutes of playing time in each appearance. While the Chinese point guard is high on potential, he’s not quite there yet with Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook.
So, when the rookie and sophomore teams were announced on Wednesday – as selected by assistant coaches around the league – there were no cries of horror around Los Angeles … except perhaps from UCLA Bruins fans who saw Kevin Love left off the first-year squad (more on that in a minute).
But for the Lakers, it’s the first time in a few years that no youngster will participate, as Jordan Farmar played in the previous two Rookie Games and Andrew Bynum competed as a sophomore in 2007. Farmar ripped it up with 17 points and 11 assists in a 136-109 S’mores win last year in a competition that began in 2000 and has resulted in a 7-2 old guys edge.
Here are this season’s nine-man squads:
2008-09 NBA Rookie Team
2008-09 NBA Sophomore Team
No Love for Kevin?
Clearly, Minnesota’s Love is the best player left off either team. Perhaps the most telling measure of how the rookies are doing as a whole comes courtesy of ESPN’s David Thorpe, who updates his “Rookie Rankings” weekly. Thorpe has Love as the second best rookie in the class, behind only Westbrook, and a full seven spots ahead of Gasol.
Not only are Love’s season numbers just as good as Gasol’s and better than Beasley’s, but he’s been tearing it up in January now that he’s getting minutes. Check out his game-by-game numbers this month, which are particularly meaningful since the Wolves are an NBA-best 10-3 in 2009. Perhaps in protest, Love hung up 17 points, 10 boards and four assists in 26 minutes against Detroit after being snubbed.
Now that the Love-fest is over … The rest of the rosters are fine, and even though the rookies have more overall talent than the sophomores (by far), it’s tough to picture Durant, Horford and Stuckey letting their team lose.
We’ll be there in Phoenix in person to let you know how it goes.