PG: Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics
The undersized combo guard out of Texas may very well be on his way to “Jerryd Bayless-type start” to his career. Much like Bayless, Bradley is not really a point guard, undersized at the off-guard position, and elevates very well on his pull-up jumper. While he became a high value pick at the position the Celtics’ selected him at, he’ll struggle finding time next season. Suffering a summer-long injury won’t help much either. Now Bradley finds himself not only rehabbing, but he’ll have to do so multi-tasking as he’ll also be getting his adjustments to the league. Bradley will have to remain patient next season and will always have to be ready for when his name is called.
SG: Luke Babbitt, Portland Trailblazers
Rudy Fernandez’s status will play a big part in whether or not Babbitt finds depth trouble this upcoming season. But the addition of Babbitt and his successful summer league makes the decision upon moving Fernandez a little easier for the Blazers front office. On top of using their top draft pick for Babbitt the Trailblazers went out and signed rookie sensation Wesley Matthews to a lengthy 5 year, $34 million dollar deal. The Frenchman Nicholas Batum is also back from injury and of course Brandon Roy occupies most of the shooting guard minutes. Babbitt should find most of his opportunity coming from the shooting guard position but he’ll have to battle for spot minutes with Fernandez, Jerryd Bayless, and fellow first round pick Elliot Williams.
SF: Lazar Hayward, Minnesota Timberwolves
The offseason moves of the Minnesota Timberwolves really hurt Lazar Hayward’s chances of even having the slightest bit of impact during his rookie year. The Marquette standout who became the school’s first round draft pick since Dwyane Wade will be stuck behind a couple offseason additions. Both Martell Webster and Michael Beasley were added to the Timberwolves roster through trades this summer. Hayward’s only hope is that the Wolves decide upon moving Kevin Love and try their luck with Beasley playing the power forward position, much like Lamar Odom does, in the triangle offense.
PF: Patrick Patterson, Houston Rockets
If he’s as NBA-ready as many project then maybe he’ll crack the rotation but it definitely won’t come easy with Yao Ming back into the mix. The Rockets have a variety of different options down low and it’ll be interesting to see who gets appointed the primary backup slots at both the power forward and center position. At the power forward position Patterson will fight to play behind Luis Scola along with young big man Jordan Hill and veteran workhorse Chuck Hayes. Initially Hayes will have the upper hand but it’s only a matter of time before Patterson takes over.
C: Hassan Whiteside, Sacramento Kings
Hassan Whiteside arrived on scene a year or two late in Sacramento. The Kings are quickly on the rise in the Pacific Division and will continue to build upon last season’s bright spots. Being so inexperienced and raw, there won’t be much patience for Whiteside’s development in NBA arenas next season. Whiteside has also been referred to as “immature” and if that ends up being the case, I can unfortunately see him having immediate problems in Sacramento. The key question is if Whiteside will be able to handle and have the patience to grow/develop slowly under close supervision. All while not being rewarded with many minutes (if any) next season.
This is Part 6 of Ross Geiger’s 7-part Blog Series covering the NBA’s most prominent young players. Be sure to be on the lookout for the last and final Part 7 that’s coming soon! In the mean time, follow Ross Geiger on Twitter: @RossGeiger.