Rookie Rankings: September 3, 2009

September 3, 2009 -- Of course, just mere hours after I dropped Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry to No. 3 in the last edition of the Rookie Rankings back on August 20, she came through with the best game any rookie has put together this season, posting a season- and rookie-high 34 points on 12-of-18 shooting from the field in a win over San Antonio to go along with seven rebounds, four assists and three steals. And that point total could have been even higher if McCoughtry had shot a better percentage from the free throw line (10-of-17).

The outing was so impressive that I was tempted to post a Rookie Rankings Remix the next day and move her up, but ultimately decided it would not be fair to the other first-year players since I haven't done that all season.

And, of course, in the two weeks that have followed, McCoughtry has taken her game to another level and not only surpassed Detroit's Shavonte Zellous, but also Phoenix's DeWanna Bonner to become the top rookie in the league. McCoughtry's 34-point performance was part of a string in which the Dream forward scored in double figures for 12 straight games (a streak that ended in the team's last game Tuesday).

And, yes, I'm going to take credit for it as well as her Rookie of the Month honor for August. McCoughtry clearly reads my Rookie Rankings and was motivated to prove me wrong after I put her at No. 3. You're welcome, Dream fans.

No. 1: Angel McCoughtry, Atlanta Dream (1st pick)
GP
MPG
PPG
FG%
3PM-A
RPG
APG
SPG
BPG
30 20.7 12.2 .468 11-40 2.6 1.9 2.2 0.3
Skinny: Seriously though, a big reason why we have seen McCoughtry take such a leap in the past couple weeks is the right knee problem plaguing Chamique Holdsclaw. In that game against San Antonio, Holdsclaw -- Atlanta's leading scorer at the time -- saw limited action and hasn't played since. Holdsclaw underwent surgery on August 25 and is listed as day-to-day. That has opened up a spot in the starting lineup and provided increased minutes for McCoughtry, who's making the most of the opportunity. Over the team's past six games, McCoughtry has averaged 19.2 points to become the top rookie scorer in the league for the season at 12.2 ppg. She has also averaged a ridiculous 3.3 steals in that six-game span.
Previous ranking: 3


No. 2: DeWanna Bonner, Phoenix Mercury (5th pick)
GP
MPG
PPG
FG%
3PM-A
RPG
APG
SPG
BPG
31 21.6 11.3 .463 1-11 5.8 0.4 0.6 0.7
Skinny: For the first time since early in the season, Bonner gets knocked out of the top spot. And it's not so much what she's not doing as it is what McCoughtry is doing. In fact, Bonner has scored in double figures in three of her last four games, including 15 points in 18 minutes in the Mercury's win over Indiana Wendesday, and still leads all rookies in rebounding. But with McCoughtry's increased role in Atlanta and the many options on offense in Phoenix it's going to be tough for Bonner to reclaim the top perch.
Previous ranking: 1

No. 3: Shavonte Zellous, Detroit Shock (11th pick)
GP
MPG
PPG
FG%
3PM-A
RPG
APG
SPG
BPG
29 22.8 11.6 .406 10-37 2.8 1.6 0.9 0.5
Skinny: Zellous is another rookie that continues to produce for a playoff-minded team, yet just not enough to surpass McCoughtry and Bonner, although she's right on their heels. The Detroit guard has now scored in double figures in 11 straight games, averaging 13.2 points over the span. It's no coincidence that the Shock are now in prime position to lock up one of three remaining playoff spots in the East, something that seemed like a pipe dream only a month ago. And unlike earlier in the year, Zellous is shooting more efficiently, as her field-goal percentage is finally above .400 for the season.
Previous ranking: 2


No. 4: Renee Montgomery, Minnesota Lynx (4th pick)
GP
MPG
PPG
FG%
3PM-A
RPG
APG
SPG
BPG
30 22.0 9.3 .421 35-101 1.8 2.1 0.7 0.2
Skinny: It's really unforunate that the Lynx are plummeting in the standings the way they are because Montgomery has been doing some notable things that are getting overlooked. August was by far her best month of her rookie season, as she averaged 11.6 points, 2.3 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 10 games while shooting 44 percent from the floor. And in the team's last contest, a pivotal road tilt against San Antonio, Montgomery turned in one of her better games of the season, collecting 15 points, six rebounds and two assists. However, the Lynx lost by two in double-OT. If Minnesota doesn't make the postseason, a spot on the All-Rookie team would be a nice consolation prize for Montgomery.
Previous ranking: 4

No. 5: Anete Jekabsone-Zogota, Connecticut Sun (Not drafted)
GP
MPG
PPG
FG%
3PM-A
RPG
APG
SPG
BPG
24 23.1 8.9 .412 32-83 2.5 2.2 0.3 0.0
Skinny: Much like Montgomery, Jekabsone-Zogota has been holding her own in the midst of a team talespin. The Sun have lost five straight to fall three games below .500 and one game back of a playoff spot, yet during that stretch Jekabsone-Zogota has come through with a pair of 20-point games, including a season-high 23 at Phoenix back on August 29. But Jekabsone-Zogota must watch out for Washington's Marissa Coleman, who in the last couple games has shown signs of the player that started the season off strong before succumbing to an ankle injury.
Previous ranking: 5


Honorable Mention:
  • Marissa Coleman, Washington Mystics (5.8 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 18.2 MPG)
  • Kristi Toliver, Chicago Sky (7.3 PPG, 2.0 APG, 14.2 MPG)
  • Briann January, Indiana Fever (6.3 PPG, 2.2 APG, 19.3 MPG)
  • Courtney Paris, Sacramento Monarchs (4.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 13.2 MPG)
  • Megan Frazee, San Antonio Silver Stars (5.1 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 11.0 MPG)
  • More »

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