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15. C.J. McCollum
At 6’3” and with the ability to handle the ball and blow past opposing guards, C.J. McCollum has all of the traits necessary to be an impact sixth man as a rookie. McCollum played well in the Vegas Summer League, averaging 21 points, four rebounds and 3.4 assists despite shooting just 36.6 percent from the floor.
Unfortunately, McCollum will be playing behind another up-and-coming guard in Damian Lillard who figures to take most of the minutes at the point. With Wesley Matthews starting at the 2, there simply won’t be enough minutes available for McCollum to be a serious contender for the award.
14. Patrick Beverley
A breakout player for the Houston Rockets in the playoffs, Patrick Beverley may actually end up as their starting point guard by the end of the 2013-14 campaign.
He averaged 11.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in the postseason, showcasing a level of intensity on the defensive end that incumbent starter Jeremy Lin simply lacked.
Beverley should start the season on the bench, but if he plays well and works on his shot selection, he may wind up supplanting Lin and starting alongside James Harden.
13. Chris Copeland
Chris Copeland is about as one-dimensional as a basketball player can be, but fortunately his one skill is exactly what the Indiana Pacers need: perimeter scoring.
Copeland averaged 8.7 points and shot 47.9 percent overall and 42.1 percent from three-point range in just 15.4 minutes per game.
The 29-year-old will be battling with Paul George and Lance Stephenson for minutes, but he could become a serious contributor if Indiana deals Danny Granger.
12. Andrei Kirilenko
Andrei Kirilenko’s deal with the Brooklyn Nets has drawn some suspicion around the league, but there is no denying he can be an impact player off the Brooklyn bench.
After spending a year in Russia, Kirilenko did not miss a beat in 2012-13, averaging 12.4 points, 5.7 boards and 2.8 assists while shooting 50.7 percent from the floor for the Minnesota Timberwolves
Though he won’t be playing 30-plus minutes per night, Kirilenko is the Nets’ best wing defender and will be asked to spell Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett for stretches.
He doesn’t fit the typical profile of a scoring sixth man, but Kirilenko is the kind of multifaceted player who could be a serious dark-horse contender for the award.
11. Vince Carter
While he is now certainly more man than amazing, Vince Carter’s emergence as a quality role player for the Dallas Mavericks has been one of the NBA’s unexpected storylines over the past few seasons.
In 2012-13, Carter averaged 13.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting 40.6 percent from beyond the arc. Though he is churning out fewer above-the-rim highlights, Carter remains an effective offensive player, posting a PER of 17.87.
He has also made significant strides defensively. Though he will compete with Monta Ellis for minutes at the 2-guard position, Carter should be a key piece for a Dallas team looking to return to the postseason.