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NBA Roundtable: One star stands out from 2009-10 rookie class

SI.com's NBA writers analyze the latest news and address hot topics from around the league each week. (All stats and records are through March 8.)

1. Who will become the best player among the three Rookie of the Year leaders -- Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings and Stephen Curry?

Ian Thomsen: All will be good, but Evans is the one most capable of dominating with his size and reach. Now that Kevin Martin is gone from Sacramento, I wonder how the Kings will add talent around him. What types of scorers will complement him, and is he going to develop into a point guard who thrives on elevating the performances of his teammates? I look forward to seeing how he and the Kings answer those questions, because Evans, Jennings and Curry will be judged ultimately by their leadership and their impact on winning. But there is no doubting that Evans has the most potential among the rookies who have played this year (given the absence of Blake Griffin).

Jack McCallum: Evans is the best player among them now, and I see no reason for him not to improve. Stronger than Curry and Jennings, he seems able to get his shot, and he has court awareness, too: Witness his 5.4 assists per game to go with his 20.3 scoring average. Now, that is no slight on the other two. There will always be a place for a pure shooter like Curry (whose baby face belies his toughness) and a point guard like Jennings. I just see Evans becoming a superstar soon.

Frank Hughes: This question is difficult because it takes so many unknown intangibles into account. Will Evans have the desire to improve his outside shot? Will he learn to be more of a distributor than scorer? Will he get the proper guidance? Right now, Curry has everything in place to be successful, in large part because his father helped him prepare for this opportunity. But Evans has the best physical skills. He has a monster body and is only going to get better. I'm going with Evans because his room for improvement is far greater than the others. But he can't coast.

Chris Mannix: I can see all of the top three rookies (plus Ricky Rubio) becoming All-Stars, but Evans has the potential to redefine the point guard position much the same way Magic Johnson and (to a lesser extent) Penny Hardaway did in the '80s and '90s. Evans is so dynamic. He is a 6-6, 220-pound powerhouse who can post up like a power forward and get to the rim like a two guard. He's virtually impossible to contain one-on-one and once his jump shot improves -- and it will improve -- he's going to dominate.

2. There are six teams in the East -- Philadelphia, Washington, Detroit, New York, Indiana and New Jersey -- on pace to lose 52 or more games. If you had to buy stock in the future of one of these teams, which would it be?

Thomsen: I'd put money in New Jersey, as ridiculous as that sounds. In five years that franchise won't look anything like the sorry team we see today. They'll be playing in a new Brooklyn arena, they'll likely be rebranded as the New York Nets to tap into the biggest of all markets, they'll have one of the league's richest owners in Mikhail Prokhorov and they'll have benefited from their high draft pick and max cap space. No team has more upside (but then no team currently has 55 losses, either).

McCallum: All things considered, I'd rather bury my money in my mattress. But since you asked ... I'll cast a reluctant vote for the Knicks. As bad as they have been, they are, seemingly, on plan. At the end of this season, the cap money will be there, several players they don't want (Nate Robinson, Larry Hughes) are already gone, and it looks like they have a solid piece in David Lee, provided they can re-sign him. As for the other teams, I don't see much of a plan.

Hughes: I have to go with the Pistons because they have been there before. I'm not sure what new ownership is going to mean for New Jersey. Philadelphia seems lost. Washington is forever embroiled in some sort of dysfunction. Indiana can't seem to break out of a middling cycle. But I think Joe Dumars, despite the signings of Ben Gordon and CharlieVillanueva, has the knowledge and the guts to get the Pistons back to where they want to be. Of course, I change my answer to the Knicks if LeBron signs with them.

Mannix: I'm sticking with New Jersey. You can throw out Philadelphia and Detroit because they are capped out with mediocre talent. New York has the cap space to sign two stars but it gave up its high draft picks over the next few years to supplement them. Indiana has Danny Granger and not much else, while Washington still has the enigma that is Gilbert Arenas. The Nets, believe it or not, are the most promising. Brook Lopez and Devin Harris are solid pieces and they are the odds-on favorite to add John Wall or Evan Turner to the mix next season. Factor in new management and an owner willing to spend (both on the roster and an elite coach next season), and I like the future there.

3. Don Nelson needs seven victories in the Warriors' 19 games to break Lenny Wilkens' record for coaching wins. Will he pass Wilkens this season?

Thomsen: They've won less than 30 percent of their games this year, and only five of their last 19 games are against teams with losing records -- Clippers (twice), New York, Washington and Minnesota -- and four of those games will be on the road. So I'm figuring Nellie will have to wait till next year.

McCallum: No. The Warriors' road schedule is "easier" than their home schedule, but they've won only four games away from Oakland all season. The home opponents include the Lakers, Suns, Mavericks, Thunder and Jazz. That means Nellie will drag himself back for another season in the continuing saga of Why Is He Still Doing This?

Hughes: Absolutely not. That team is not healthy, for starters, and even when it is, it really has no idea what is happening. The team is feeding off Nellie right now, and he is displaying almost zero energy. If he can't get excited about his own record, why should the players?

Mannix: I count five winnable games -- the Clippers twice, Minnesota, New York and Washington -- on their schedule, and that's assuming a lot from a team that hasn't proved it can consistently beat anyone. So I'll say no, which to me means Nellie will never break the mark. Think about it: If the Warriors are sold after this season, is there any way a new owner is going to keep Nellie? Why would he retain the Nellie/Larry Riley duo, which has done nothing since the dramatic first-round upset of Dallas in 2006? And even if Chris Cohan keeps the team, should he risk throwing away another season just so Nelson can back into a record?

4. Should and/or would another team sign Allen Iverson? Who?

Thomsen: No, and no. It depends on the role he is willing to accept, but there was no market for him earlier this season, and next year he'll be 35 with 37,581 minutes on his 165-pound body. He was terrific when he had it going, though.

McCallum: Can I be brief? No and no.

Hughes: I can't see it happening. Nobody wanted him last year until Memphis decided it needed to sell some tickets. And we saw how that turned out. Philadelphia was stuck with Lou Williams' injury, so it didn't have anything to lose. But Iverson showed that he is not the A.I. of old. And now, with reports of his personal issues, he has probably reached the end of his career. Too much baggage.

Mannix: It depends on how Iverson perceives himself. If A.I. still thinks he is a starting guard on a contending team, then no. Teams should stay away. Iverson's ego is capable of consuming a locker room and his lightning-rod personality is a perpetual distraction. However, if Iverson does a 180 and says he is willing to accept a bench role, then he is still worth consideration. Boston, L.A., San Antonio -- these are teams that were looking to upgrade at the trade deadline. And even in decline, Iverson is still a skilled enough player to wreak havoc against another team's second unit. He can be a poor man's JamalCrawford. But you have to be 100 percent certain he is willing to accept that role and not clamor for more minutes after a 20-point game.

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