FanShot

Ranking rooks and sophs: Top 20

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David Thorpe As we head into the All-Star break, it seems an appropriate time to take a step back and evaluate the new talent that has entered the league in the past two seasons. No one can deny that each class, taken on its own merits, has been short on top-tier talent. But what about when we look at them combined? When we consider that no fewer than nine different players are considered the likely faces of their team's future and another five play either pivotal or starting roles for playoff teams, we begin to see that the NBA has added plenty of strong players the last two summers. Let's stack them up and rank them, not based on future performances or what they did last year, but strictly on how they have done so far this season. 1. Blake Griffin 2. Steph Curry 3. Dejuan Blair 4. Serge Ibaka 5. Jrue Holliday 6. Darren Collison 7. Ty Lawson 8. Wesley Matthews 9. John Wall 10. DeMarcus Cousins, Kings He still has a lot of growing up to do, but he's the biggest beast of these two classes after Griffin. Try these numbers on for size: He averaged 21.7 ppg and 11.5 rpg in a recent string of games against the Lakers, Celtics, Jazz, Mavs, Hornets and Thunder. That's a lot of lottery picks and All-Stars he battled against. And he made 50 of his 101 shots in that stretch, too. 11. Tyreke Evans, Kings Evans has been on a tear lately, but there is no way to ignore his horrible start and his inability to help the Kings win. The Kings are 24-78 since Jan. 1, 2010, and only Cleveland's Mo Williams has a usage rate of 25 or more and has lost more games than Evans this season. Evans still scores in bunches and he's a much improved defender, but among starting point guards he ranks in the bottom five in true shooting percentage and is dead last in assist rate. His talent is undeniable, but he hasn't figured out how to use it within a team concept yet. 12. Demar Derozan 13. Landry Fields 14. Greg Monroe 15. James Harden 16. Taj Gibson 17. Gary Neal 18. Brandon Jennings 19. Reggie Wiliams 20. Paul George

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