November 24, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes (40) dunks over Minnesota Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic (14) during the second quarter at ORACLE Arena. The Warriors defeated the Timberwolves 96-85. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Golden State Warriors: Rookie Grades and Analysis

So far, the NBA season, especially for the Warriors, has been extremely exciting. No one really expected the Warriors to be over .500, but they put their minds into it and finally have the right attitude about it. This is all without Andrew Bogut. In ESPN’s power rankings, the Warriors ranked 14th overall, jumping up five spots. That isn’t just because of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry. In fact, most of the credit goes to the Warriors’ rookies, who are playing decently well. We’ve come to a point in the season where they need to be ranked and graded.

Harrison Barnes: A-
Barnes’ sheer athleticism, with his incredible dunks, crowd energizing plays, and monstrous rebounds reminds us all of Monta Ellis, our beloved Warrior. Now, Barnes is looking like a guy who could become one of the best players on the Warriors in a few years. Since the absence of Brandon Rush, Barnes has really picked up the scoring – and for that matter the dunking. Unfortunately, a slow start to the season only earns him an A-, but I’m positive that it’s going to go up.
Festus Ezeli: B+
A B+ is a great grade, don’t get me wrong. Ezeli has been rebounding well, and in the absence of Andrew Bogut, Ezeli, for the time that he plays, has been doing some damage. He is able to effectively block guards, and defend the NBA’s premier big men. Unfortunately, his scoring and blocking isn’t as good as we have hoped. He obviously can’t take the role of a superstar like Bogut, so Mark Jackson always chooses a small lineup with David Lee and Carl Landry. He only stands at a B+, but he fits in perfectly as a backup center.
Draymond Green: B
Draymond Green has done a great job in the absence of Rush, getting his rebounds, shooting the ball, and defending better PFs in the league, despite being at only 6’7. He’s big and built for the PF spot but doesn’t have the size. Still, his defense against Kevin Love saved the game against the T-Wolves. He hasn’t, however, lived up to the potential as the leading rebounder for Michigan State. The Warriors have looked for him to provide a spark, but his activity and shooting could use a little work.
Kent Bazemore: Incomplete
What else were you expecting? Although Bazemore shined during the summer league, his performance didn’t earn him enough playing time – or even a starting role like Anthony Morrow. If Bazemore wants more time on the court, he either has to wait till an inevitable injury, or work harder in practice. It’s as simple as that.

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