TTA Rookie Round-Up: Lillard, Cunningham, Johnson, and Gordon

Were a few weeks into the NBA and international basketball season and a few former TTA players are hooping it up in their first pro seasons.  Be sure to check the blog here for our updates of the TTA rookies throughout the season.

Damain Lillard, PG, Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers starting point guard has been an offensive animal to start the season.  He’s opened the season averaging 18.8 points and seven assists per a game and looking like a contender for the Rookie of the Year Award.  Using his quickness and smarts Lillard has been getting by his opponents with ease and has been given full control of the Blazers offense.  This is a young Blazers team that will have it’s up and downs as the seasons goes on but Lillard will be counted on a lot to right the ship when shots aren’t falling.  After starting the season winning two of their first three games, the Blazers currently find themselves in a three game slide.  Look for Lillard to get his teammates involved more in the offense as he gets more comfortable in Portland and as the team develops more chemistry over the course of the season.  And if you haven’t yet checked out the “License to Lillard” videos following Damian around during his rookie year, be sure to do so below.

Jared Cunningham, SG, Dallas Mavericks

After winning a title only a season ago, Cunningham finds himself on a very experienced Dallas Mavericks team.  It’s very early in the season and Cunningham has had to fight for every minute of court time he’s gotten.  So far, in the two games he’s played over six minutes, Cunningham has been a spark plug  attacking the basket and scoring six points on both occasions.  The Mavs have surprised some with their 4-3 start as Dirk Nowitzki is still injured but it seems they’ll be a contender for the Playoffs all season.  As long as he continues to provide energy and offense off the bench, the Mavs could use Cunningham’s youthfulness on this very veteran team.

Orlando Johnson, G, Indiana Pacers

Another TTA rookie finds himself on a veteran team.  Johnson has played in only one game so far and is still fighting for a spot in the rotation.  As an explosive guard who can play both backcourt spots, the Pacers will take time to figure out what his best role on the team will be.  The Pacers have already said that they will aggressively use their D-League team, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, for the development of their rookies this season.  So if Johnson isn’t getting many minutes for the Pacers, you’ll see him at times fine-tuning his game and working his opponents in Fort Wayne, with an eye on getting in the deep Pacers rotation very soon.  And don’t forget to cheer on Orlando when the Pacers come to play the hometown Golden State Warriors on Saturday December 1st.

Drew Gordon, PF, Partizan Belgrade

Drew Gordon decided to take his trade overseas to Belgrade, Serbia for the season.  As we know, basketball is an increasingly global game and there is great competition over in Europe.  Gordon found a spot on one of the better teams in the continent and the team that has the best reputation in Europe for developing young talent.  So far Gordon has been effective as the team’s starting power forward, pulling in eight points and six rebounds a game in the Euroleague.  He’s been very active on the glass and continues to add range to his jump shot.  Looks like Drew is continuing to improve and we wish him the best of luck as he hustles and dunks over in Europe.