You know who's a really big fan of Celtics rookie Vitor Faverani? ESPN's David Thorpe, who again had Vitor ranked 4th overall in his "Rookie Watch" segment.
Vitor was behind Michael Carter-Williams, Mason Plumlee and Steven Adams in the rankings. In particular, Thorpe loves Faverani's combination of shot blocking and three-point shooting - which as he points out - is a rarity.
Here's how unique Faverani is: He is top 10 in the league in blocked shots per 48 minutes and has made nine 3-pointers, which is three times as many 3s as the other nine shot-blockers on that list combined (Serge Ibaka with two of those three). So he plays like Marc Gasol on defense but has strong hints of Mehmet Okur on offense. He's not as good as either guy, of course, but at 25 years of age and only now being fully exposed to NBA athletes, he can still get better.
It's easy to imagine that Boston, as well as the rest of the league, did not expect this kind of production from Faverani. Put it this way, his play has some international scouts answering some tough questions from their bosses. Who doesn't need a solid paint defender who can make 3s?
Ok any Marc Gasol comparisons are obviously insane, but I suppose Thorpe was pointing out his ability to block shots at a similar rate to Gasol, which so far he has been able to do.
Thorpe is right that the combination of three-point shooting and blocking shots is a rare combination to have. In fact, only one player in NBA history has been able to average 1+ block per game and at least 0.5 three-pointers per game in less than 17 minutes of action (Brad Lohaus in 1991-92). Vitor is currently averaging 1.1 BPG and 0.5 threes per game in 16.7 MPG.
Of course, that doesn't mean he's a star or anything. Just that he has a rare skill-set, one that appears to have made him one hell of a find for Danny Ainge and the Celtics.
The other Celtics rookies were on the list as well, with Kelly Olynyk falling two spots from last time (from 13th to 15th), and Phil Pressey climbing seven spots (from 27th to 20th).
Olynyk has had the disadvantage of being injured for much of the past two weeks (since the last ranking), while Pressey has seemingly taken advantage of the horrific nature of the 2013 draft to climb seven spots while posting the grotesque stat line of 2.2 PPG, 2.1 APG and 26.3% FG (I know stats aren't everything..but Pressey's absolute lack of scoring ability can't be ignored. No matter how smart of a PG he is).
The Celtics can certainly take solace in the fact that all three of their rookies are ranked ahead of #1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, who is currently holding down the #27 spot. Bennett was awe-inspiring in his awfulness last Friday against the Celtics, going 1-4 from the floor (the one make a banked in three-pointer), committing four fouls, and traveling three times in 19 minutes. HE TRAVELED THREE TIMES IN 19 MINUTES. He didn't look like a raw talent struggling to figure things out, but instead he looked like an overweight deer in the headlights. I know it's still very early, but the odds of Bennett ever becoming the best player from his draft class are infinitesimal.
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For more of my articles, click here Michael Dyer 12/03/2013 02:19:00 PM Tweet