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Northwest “Frontcourt” & rookie hoopstars – Midseason evaluation

NW Standouts

As with the NW Backcourt Hoopsters, the three guys up front and four members of the 2012 rookie class have been on their own roller coaster ride of success during the first forty-two games of the season.

While Terrence Jones has struggled to find playing time with the Houston Rockets and Tony Wroten has played sparingly for the Memphis Grizzlies, their teams are the only ones that are currently holding onto a playoff birth.

Looking in from the outside, the Philadelphia 76’ers and LA Lakers have a mathematical shot at snagging the seventh or eighth seed in their respective conferences, but it will take a lot of work, as they are 3 1/2 and 4 games out.

SMALL FORWARD

Martell Webster

Quietly having one of his best seasons statistically, Martell Webster is hitting for double digit scoring for only the second time in his career.  Considering where he once was during his two year stint in Minnesota, many thought he would be traveling the NBDL circuit or overseas.

Unfortunately only those who are die-hard Webster fans have any idea of his successes in DC. To go along with that, the team plain out stinks.

At $1.6mil, the Wizards took a flyer on Webster last summer and thanks to his production, the seventh year pro has almost certainly inked another NBA contract next summer, be it with the Wizards or elsewhere.

POWER FORWARD

Kevin Love

One season after much promise in Minnesota, Kevin Love is lacking in the Timberwolves’ franchise (pun much intended).

Ownership is not happy with Love and Love is certainly not happy with ownership, both passing blame as to who is at fault for the team’s lack of success.  Teaming with Ricky Rubio, Derrick Williams and Nikola Pekovic, the Tpups where supposed to finally get over the playoff hurdle this season.

Unfortunately for Love, his point guard was coming off ACL surgery and he himself  would be shelved for five weeks at the start of the season due to a hand injury.  Playing in only 18 games to date and despite managing 18.3ppg and 14rpg, Love struggled to find his rhythm before once again doing damage to his hand.

Now out until at least mid March (since Jan 5th) Love has been the subject of trade rumors, something that would never have been thought of before in the land of lakes.

The hottest rumor has the Lake Oswego Laker once again donning the team name in a swap for Pau Gasol.

Once a Laker always a Laker!

POWER FORWARD / CENTRE

Spencer Hawes

After a slow start through 2012, a time in which many thought that Spencer Hawes would step up his production, especially considering that newly acquired Andrew Bynum was on the sidelines, the former Washington Husky has turned his season around.

Splitting time backing up Lavoy Allen (C) and Thaddeus Young (PF) to start the season, Hawes has been given the start in the 76’ers last four games.

Terrence Ross

If the higher powers in the NBA offices have any clue, they will first of all place Ross in the dunk contest

Posting his best and most consistent numbers as of late earned his way out of Doug Collins doghouse.  The Sixers are four games back of the final playoff spot in the East and will need continued production from Hawes for the remainder of the season if they are to have a chance of sneaking into post season for the third straight year.

ROOKIES

Terrence Ross

First things first, you will see Ross at the NBA All-Star Game in two weeks.

If the higher powers in the NBA offices have any clue, they will first of all place Ross in the dunk contest (of which he could walk away with the trophy) and secondly, they will add his name to the list of the Rising Stars Challenge game.

After a solid December, Ross may be starting to lean on the “rookie wall” just a bit as his numbers and minutes in January and so far in February have taken a dip, especially his court time.

Now with the addition of Rudy Gay, the shooting guard and small forward spots are log jammed for the Raptors.

A little shine during the weekend in Houston is just what Ross may need in order to get his confidence back.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBeZM8eaL-w

Rob Sacre

The last time #50 saw significant shine was when Pau Gasol was nursing a extended headache.  Unfortunately for the North Vancouver product, he has not seen the court for any meaningful minutes since his eight ticks against the Milwaukee Bucks.

However Big Rob continues to work on his game despite his lack of floor time.

http://www.nba.com/lakers/video/2013/02/02/130202Sacre1on1mov-2371908/?teams%2Flakers%2F2013%2F02%2F02%2F130202Sacre1on1mov-2371908

Tony Wroten and Terrence Jones

Although their teams are both in the playoff race, the former Husky and Wildcat are poster children for staying in school.  When given the minutes, both have proved that they can produce, however with established players in front of them, the opportunity has been few and far between.

Wroten, who has appeared in 14 games this season has had a few highlights, including a four game run in which he saw the floor for 23 and 26 minutes respectively against the Nets and Hornets.  

In a 101-77 victory over Brooklyn, Wroten dropped 11 points and 4 rebounds.

Jones, on the other hand, has only played in 11 games and last hit a basket during an eight minute run against the Spurs in early December.  The Oregon native dropped a season high 12 points in a 30 minute run against the Utah Jazz in mid November.

If either have hopes of longevity in the league, an offseason trade may be their only hope.

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About Steve Lee

Steve is a 12 year writing vet, and writes for a number of sports sites, offering a unique and abstract look at the games we love. He still hopes the Grizz + Sonics return to the Northwest, and has been a Lakers fan since "Showtime".
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