As I wrote about extensively last year, rookie PER is an incredibly valuable statistic for predicting just how good a player can eventually end up becoming. Future star NBA players almost always post decent PERs right away. For big men that means a 15+ PER as a rookie, and for guards and small forwards that usually means a rookie PER of at least 13.
So how did this year's class of rookies stack up? There are relatively few surprises; let's take a look at some of the notables:
-Anthony Davis posted an exceptional 21.7 PER. Davis' excellent rookie season flew under the radar, but this guy is just as good as we all thought.
-Andre Drummond only played 1243 minutes, but from a PER perspective he was just as good as Davis. The future looks very bright for Drummond; besides Davis he is the most promising rookie in his class.
-Damian Lillard had an impressive 16.4 PER and played a ton of minutes; the likely rookie of the year clearly has star potential, particularly if he can improve defensively.
-Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal and Dion Waiters - picks #2, #3 & #4 in the 2012 Draft - all managed to have PERs above 13. This is important, and shows that all three do indeed at least have the potential to turn into All-Stars. That said, it would not be surprising if none of them ever achieved that status.
-Pick #5, Thomas Robinson, looks to be a relative bust. His 10.9 rookie PER is very poor for a big man.
-Jonas Valanciunas had a fine 15.6 PER; he looks to be one of the better players from the 2011 Draft.
-John Henson did not play much, but his 18.2 PER is very promising.
-Orlando's Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O'Quinn both posted PERs above 15. They might have more potential than folks expect.
-Jared Sullinger was having a decent rookie season for Boston before he went down with injury, but his 13.5 PER implies he will never turn into a truly dominant low post presence.
-Similarly, Harrison Barnes and Terrence Ross both showed flashes of excellence this season, but their poor PERs make it highly unlikely they ever turn into star NBA players.
-Mo Harkless posted a respectable 12.5 PER as a 19 year old while playing almost 2000 minutes. That's impressive, but the fact he couldn't get to 13+ still makes me doubt whether he can ever truly dominate in the NBA.
-Terrence Jones played very limited minutes for Houston, but posted a good PER. He is definitely worth keeping an eye on.
-Evan Fournier's 13.8 PER is a good sign for a twenty year old swingman.
-John Jenkins quietly managed to post a 13.0 PER while getting minutes for Atlanta this season.
-Big men Arnett Moultrie, Mike Scott and Quincy Acy are all longshots to ever become exceptional players in the league, but their 15+ PERs at least imply they could be very useful.
-Patrick Beverly was drafted back in 2009 and is 24, but his 15.4 PER shows he is a player with potential promise.