Top five picks like Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook enter the league to much fanfare and lofty expectations.
As the surprise pick in this year's draft, however, Westbrook won't have the same hype as Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley, O.J. Mayo and Kevin Love.
But the recent history of rookie point guards suggests Thunder fans should also have tempered expectations for this year's No. 4 overall pick.
In the last 10 NBA seasons, only five rookie point guards have averaged at least 12 points and six assists: Chris Paul in 2005-06, Kirk Hinrich in 2003-04, Steve Francis in 1999-00 and Mike Bibby and Jason Williams in 1998-99.
Not Baron Davis. Not Gilbert Arenas. Not Deron Williams. Not Tony Parker.
"It's going to be very challenging for Russell,” said Thunder coach P.J. Carlesimo. "But he showed already in Orlando and at UCLA what he's capable of.”
Paul, Hinrich, Francis, Bibby and Williams were given free reign to make mistakes as rookies. All four held the starting job from Day 1 and averaged at least 35 minutes.
With seven-year veteran and last year's starter Earl Watson returning, it's doubtful Westbrook will receive enough minutes to reach such statistical production. Watson, in a career year, averaged 10.7 points and 6.8 assists last season, proving how difficult it will be for Westbrook to produce overly impressive stats.