NBA Rookies Whose Development May Be Hindered by Recent Free-Agency Signings
There are plenty of outside and extenuating circumstances that can influence whether or not a rookie has the opportunities to realize his promise.
The NBA draft is full of promise for not only NBA teams, but also for the youngsters whom they select.
Each year, a large group of players is selected with the hope that they will help to transform a franchise and unlock vast amounts of potential in the process.
A young player's development can be curtailed when his new team signs a free agent who plays the same position though.
Tony Snell, G/F Chicago Bulls
Prior to the free-agency period, Chicago Bulls fans were excited that rookie Tony Snell would be the first rookie to play a meaningful game for their squad in years.
However, the Mike Dunleavy signing makes it tough for Tony Snell to see much court time.
True, the fact that the Bulls dropped Rip Hamilton probably clears up some minutes. But Jimmy Butler is expected to take the lion's share of the shooting guard time.
Luol Deng is firmly entrenched as the small forward and Kirk Hinrich figures to get some burn at the shooting guard spot as well.
True, from a purely basketball perspective, it makes sense to hedge your bets on the development of a very thin rookie with few skills other than a nice catch-and-shoot game.
But from Snell's perspective, this could easily set him back minutes-wise.
Cody Zeller, F/C Charlotte Bobcats
The Cody Zeller pick in general was odd for the Charlotte Bobcats, but even more so given their signing of Al Jefferson.
True, Jefferson and Zeller will likely play different spots, but you also have to figure minutes for other big men like Bismack Biyombo and Josh McRoberts.
It also isn't outside of the realm of possibilities that the Bobcats occasionally turn to a big lineup with Jefferson playing center and Biyombo playing the 4, given the latter's fantastic athleticism.
Zeller still figures to get his minutes and likely win the starting power forward job.
But the Jefferson signing certainly will cut into his minutes and could cut into his role on the offense.
Shabazz Muhammad, SF Minnesota Timberwolves
Of all the rookies on this list, Shabazz Muhammad is the one most likely to get his role severely limited based on free-agent signings.
Most view Muhammad as a small forward at the next level and one who should be able to score in bunches.
Therefore, why exactly are the Minnesota Timberwolves making the moves they are making?
The signing of Corey Brewer severely limits the likely minutes of Shabazz Muhammad, making him potentially more of a situational scorer off the bench.
They also re-signed Chase Budinger who also figures into the small forward rotation.
So then, you have to figure Muhammad could be used as a 2-guard, right?
The Timberwolves already had Alexey Shved who was a revelation last year. But then they went out and signed Kevin Martin to a four-year deal.
You have to wonder exactly where Muhammad is going to get his run.
Shane Larkin, PG Dallas Mavericks
Sure, Shane Larkin will see his development hindered by his recent injury. But the Jose Calderon signing pushes him further down the depth chart.
When the Dallas Mavericks drafted Larkin with an early first-round pick, it appeared that they were going to groom him to be the point guard of the present and future.
But then, they gave Calderon a big contract to come in and run the show.
Sure, Calderon could eventually act like a very expensive mentor to Larkin, but now, there is word that the Mavs could be looking into signing Devin Harris to be the backup, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
Where exactly does their first-round pick point guard figure into this mix?
Stand by for that one.
Dennis Schroeder, PG Atlanta Hawks
It's somewhat intriguing that the Atlanta Hawks chose to match the offer for Jeff Teague after drafting Dennis Schroeder in the first round.
Many people around the league view Schroeder as a Rajon Rondo clone, a player who could and should be the point guard of the future for the Hawks.
So why exactly did they match the offer for Teague?
And why were they flirting with the idea of going after Brandon Jennings?
The Hawks are in the perfect position to move forward. They finally are without Josh Smith, and after their Paul Millsap signing, they appear to be a solid—but far from contending—squad.
Now would be the time to give Schroeder some run.
But apparently, the Hawks are committed to having two point guards for the foreseeable future.
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