The NBA draft and summer league are over and the preseason is wrapping up this weekend. Now it’s time for one final projection before the NBA season kicks off Tuesday night, Oct. 30.
There’s a few rookies who’ve worked themselves into favorable positions after having impressive summer leagues and preseason appearances.
Take a look at our early projections for the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team.
Bradley Beal, G, Washington Wizards
Bradley Beal, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2012 NBA draft, has proven why the Wizards went with him with that pick.
He’s flashed and almost veteran-like presence during the summer with his poise on the court. That positive is only magnified by his well-rounded and polished game.
If he can stay healthy, Beal will easily find himself on the all-rookie first team when his rookie year comes to an end.
Harrison Barnes, F, Golden State Warriors
The former North Carolina forward Harrison Barnes slipped to the Warriors at the No. 7 spot of the 2012 NBA draft.
Throughout the preseason Barnes made the Warriors increasingly happy with their good fortune by putting his skills on display for all to see. He hit 12-of-25 from beyond the arc on his way to beating out Brandon Rush for the starting small forward position.
Once Stephen Curry comes back, the backcourt trio of Barnes, Curry and Klay Thompson will make up one of the best young trios in the league.
Dion Waiters, G, Cleveland Cavaliers
To say Dion Waiters has had a rough start to his NBA career would be a massive understatement.
Despite those struggles, Waiters will find a way to succeed due to the sheer absence of any better options in Cleveland.
The starting lineup is still unset leading into next Tuesday’s season opener, according to a Friday post-practice interview with head coach Byron Scott (via NBA.com).
Scott praised Waiters’ progress and said that he “dominated” the team scrimmage on Friday.
Damian Lillard, G, Portland Trail Blazers
The sixth-pick point guard who wasn’t big or good enough for the big-conference schools has put on an impressive performance throughout the preseason.
Did you see this dunk during the summer league?
Oh yeah, he took home the MVP for the summer league and is a heavy favorite to make a run at rookie of the year honors.
Does anything else even need to be said?
Lillard will be a huge benefactor of an impressive team around him. He’ll be plugged in at the starting PG position from day one and it’ll be his job to lose.
Anthony Davis, C, New Orleans Hornets
Davis is a no-brainer early selection for the 2012-13 NBA All-Rookie Team. He was, by far, the consensus No. 1 overall selection in that draft and a prize for the New Orleans Hornets franchise.
He’s already had a leg-up on the competition by playing in and earning the Gold medal in the London Summer Olympics.
Davis brings a unique skill-set to the table for the Hornets. He’s an incredible defender down-low with an above average offensive skill-set that makes him a dynamic dual-threat in the paint and beyond.
Look for Davis to go through some growing pains, but it won’t take long for him to shift into gear and become the dominant post player everyone thinks he’s going to be.
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