The 2014 NBA draft class came in with a lot of hype. Superstar prospects from legendary programs going to teams in need of elite talent. Everything was lined up for the class to have the kind of impact the famed 2003 class had.
Only the game is so different now. Defenses are more nuanced and crowd the ball better than ever thanks to advanced scouting technologies. So young players now struggle every year to make a positive impact. Add injuries to two of the top talents in the class this season and we were left with a very average showing from the rookies overall.
But don't mistake that for a bad sign of things to come, because this class has special players. Nerlens Noel proved to be an extremely wise draft choice by Philadelphia in 2013, Nikola Mirotic is exactly what the Bulls hoped for and needed, and Andrew Wiggins showed the world that he has the potential to be among the league's best players one day.
Throw in some surprisingly productive guards, and our All-Rookie First Team can stand taller than many other rookie classes from recent years, with a fair share of potential All-Stars and future Olympians.
And this year's average rookies can become next year's super sophs (Rudy Gobert, anyone?), provided they continue to get better, of course. Considering how many of these guys improved since the start of the season, it's fair to guess they will continue on that track.
On to the awards ...