NBA Predictions: 4 Rookies Who Will Be Counted on Right Away

Ben Layman@@houtexmajorinCorrespondent IOctober 17, 2012

Oct. 10, 2012; Ontario, CA, USA;  Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) goes for a shot in front of Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol (16) in the first half of the game at the Citizens Business Bank Arena.  Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

The 2012 NBA Draft brought a fresh new class of hungry rookies into the NBA, and a few of those players will be counted on in a big way early on this season.

We've seen a few of these rookies explode in preseason already, which only serves as a tease for what's to come this year.

The start of the NBA season is just around the corner. Preseason will wrap up in the next couple weeks and (finally) the real games begin.

Here are four rookies who will be counted on right away this year:

Damian Lillard

The Weber State Wildcat may have come from a small school you've never heard of, but NBA fans will quickly become familiar with his game. The rookie point guard has a score-first mentality and should be one of the finalists for the Rookie of the Year Award.

The Blazers appear to have given him the green light on the offensive end, and the young floor general is already scoring in bunches in preseason play. Lillard had a particularly efficient night against the Sacramento Kings Monday, going 7-14 from the floor (4-8 from behind the arc) and finishing with 20 points.

Anthony Davis

The No. 1 overall pick is entrenched in the Hornets' starting lineup at power forward. He's been what fans expected him to be early on, showing flashes of what made him the first pick in the draft. Davis will be counted on as much as any rookie, and he should produce solid big-man numbers right away.

If Davis can avoid foul trouble, he'll flirt with a double-double every night. The young big man is an aggressive shot-blocker, which could lead to foul trouble on some nights. On nights where Davis isn't riding the pine from foul trouble, he'll be on the court as much as possible.

The Hornets need his presence on the block, and the team is fully committed to its rebuilding movement.

Bradley Beal

The Washington Wizards suddenly have one of the most explosive backcourts in the NBA, and the addition of rookie Bradley Beal is a big reason why. The shooting guard out of Florida has the ability to score in a variety of ways, and the Wizards will be one of the highest scoring teams in the NBA.

Scoring always garners attention around the league, and that's Beal's specialty. The young shooting guard may struggle with his shooting percentages early on, but most young scorers in the league do.

Over the course of the season, Beal should establish himself as one of the bright young talents in the NBA.

Terrence Jones

Jones likely won't start right away, but he will play a significant role with the team coming off the bench. Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale has given Jones plenty of minutes this preseason, and the young forward out of Kentucky has shown he belongs in the rotation.

Jones is athletic enough to work in the post as a power forward but also has the skills to face up and play from the perimeter. Jones might have the most upside of any big man on Houston's roster, and it's encouraging to see McHale's trust in the young player so soon.