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Growing up fast

Early last week, I overheard a certain local TV play-by-play duo shocked that a player on the team it covers wasn't getting more respect from the media.

The broadcasters went on to praise "their" player while having a hard time coming up with another rookie whose stats could even compare with their guy's.

So, I thought I'd take a closer look at the numbers. Below is a comparison of four of the top rookies since the All-Star break.

Just looking at the numbers, Player A obviously gets the most minutes and scores more but has a low shooting percentage. Player B has a slightly lower scoring mark with a slightly better shooting percentage. Meanwhile, Players C and D have great numbers from the field while contributing in multiple categories.

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So which player was the play-by-play team's guy? Player B, aka Al Thornton of the Clippers. I'll be the first to admit that Thornton's numbers are on par with the other three players on the list, but in no way would I say his numbers blow away the competition.

And that's the beauty of this year's rookie race -- there are so many first-year players contributing in big ways. Player A (Kevin Durant) is the go-to guy in Seattle, Player C (Al Horford) is a double-double machine in Atlanta and Player D (Thaddeus Young) has burst onto the scene in Philadelphia.

(Send comments, complaints or hype for your favorite rookie to Drew Packham at