In honor of Sunday's 80th Annual Academy Awards (and because they kept distracting me while I was trying to write), I thought I'd hold my own Oscars party, Rookie Rankings style.
So, the envelopes please:
Best Actor in a Leading Role (awarded to top rookie):Kevin Durant, Sonics. Without a doubt, the Seattle swingman is the go-to guy. Also nominated:Al Horford, Hawks (top rebounder among rookies); Al Thornton, Clippers (second in scoring among rookies).
Best Director (awarded to the best point guard):Mike Conley Jr., Grizzlies. He leads rookies with 4.7 assists per game. Also nominated:Rodney Stuckey, Pistons (second in assists among rookies); Acie Law, Hawks (third in assists among rookies).
Best Supporting Actor (awarded to the best rookie in a supporting role):Jamario Moon, Raptors. Moon's play on the defensive end has helped Toronto contend for a top four playoff seed. Also nominated: Horford (leading rebounder for playoff contender); Luis Scola, Rockets (has been solid as Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady have battled injuries).
Best Screenplay (awarded to the best story): Moon, whose rags-to-riches tale is well-documented. Also nominated:Coby Karl, Lakers (cancer survivor is fan favorite in L.A. -- those "Co-by" chants should not be confused with "Ko-be" chants); Carl Landry, Rockets (second-round pick has become big contributor off the bench).
Best Picture (awarded for best highlight from a rookie): Durant hits game-winning three-pointer at buzzer to beat Hawks. Also nominated:Sean Williams' alley-oop to himself in Rookie Challenge.
Best foreign film (awarded to best foreign player): Horford, as many forget that he was born in the Dominican Republic and spent most of his childhood there. Also nominated:Juan Carlos Navarro, Grizzlies (Spaniard has proved to be reliable long-range threat); Scola (Argentine playing huge role in Rockets' success); Yi Jianlian, Bucks (early front-runner has tailed off).
(Send comments, complaints or hype for your favorite rookie to Drew Packham at firstname.lastname@example.org.)