NBA Rookie Rankings: Willie Cauley-Stein Debuts at #3

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Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

  1. Willie Cauley-Stein, Sacramento Kings

Willie got his career off to a quiet start, only seeing the floor for 8 minutes in Sac’s opening night loss to the Clippers. From there, Karl has shown more trust in the 7’0″ power forward/center and he has logged 30 and 23 minutes since then, playing exceptionally well in both games.

One of the concerns regarding WCS going in to this season was his rebounding, but he has looked good so far ranking 4th per game and per 36 minutes. Among rookies so far this season, WCS is also 2nd in blocks per game, 4th in steals, and tied for 5th in scoring.

Considering that every Kings’ big not named DeMarcus Cousins will have to rely on hustle to collect “garbage” points on put-backs and fast breaks, the 17 points that WCS put up against the Lakers were very encouraging.

Comparing our small 3 game sample of WCS to the 82 games Jason Thompson played for the Kings last season, JT only surpassed 17 points on 3 occasions and DeMarcus Cousins did not play in 2 of those games so he might have actually had his number called for a few baskets while DMC was out. JT also only got 3 steals in a game once last season.

With DMC out the next couple of games, we should get our first chance to see what WCS can do when his number gets called on offense.

Next: Number 4