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Projecting Every NBA Team's Depth Chart, Training Camp Edition

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 30, 2016

Projecting Every NBA Team's Depth Chart, Training Camp Edition

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    NBA depth charts are fluid beasts that undergo constant change over the course of a season, but they have to have a starting point first. 

    Going into training camp, we already have a fairly solid grasp on how the lineups will unfold for each of the Association's 30 teams. Some positions are definitely up in the air, but projections are never a bad thing, right?

    For each squad, I'll be going over the 13-man active depth chart. Keep in mind that not every player on a team will appear, as NBA squads can carry 15 players during the season, only letting 13 suit-up, unless injuries come into play. 

    There were obviously some tough cuts, but real general managers and coaches have to make those too. 

    After you see the depth chart, you'll also see two more sections: key additions and the position to watch. 

    The key additions aren't necessarily comprised of every new face on the roster, but rather the incoming players who actually matter. They're the guys who will play significant roles in the rotation during the 2013-14 campaign. 


    Note: Players whose health is uncertain at the start of the season will be designated with asterisks. 

Atlanta Hawks

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    PG: Jeff Teague, Dennis Schroeder

    SG: John Jenkins, Lou Williams*, Jared Cunningham

    SF: Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll

    PF: Paul Millsap, Mike Scott, Gustavo Ayon

    C: Al Horford, Elton Brand, Pero Antic


    Key Additions: Paul Millsap, Dennis Schroeder, Elton Brand

    The lone starter added to the mix during the 2013 offseason was Paul Millsap, who will replace Josh Smith and quickly win over Atlanta Hawks fans with his long arms, boundless reserves of energy and consistency. No longer should there be too many worries about the rims breaking after getting hit by brick after brick from deep two-point range.  

    Dennis Schroeder, the team's first-round pick, will play significant minutes, though probably not quite enough to be a true Rookie of the Year challenger. The German point guard isn't an international prospect who needs time to adjust; his tenacious defense, quick first step and impressive passing instincts will make him an impact player from day one. 

    In the frontcourt, Elton Brand will also make a difference, though he's more of a one-year stopgap than anything else. Brand's defense and rebounding will be useful whenever Al Horford or Millsap need a rest, but he's not going to have a renaissance season. 


    Position to Watch: Shooting guard

    Last year, it was Devin Harris and DeShawn Stevenson who alternated grabbing the lead 2-guard role, and there may be a revolving door in 2013-14 as well.

    However, it's John Jenkins' spot to lose, as the Vanderbilt product looked vastly improved throughout his time in summer league. He and Kyle Korver will form a shooting tandem on the wings that rivals any other pair in the Association, but Jenkins will still have to withstand a charge from Jared Cunningham. 

    Lou Williams isn't a threat to start, although he'll be an excellent sixth man once he's fully recovered from his ACL injury. 

    A lot rests on Jenkins, as the Hawks will need offensive output from him throughout the season in order to create the most balanced lineup possible. And for a team without a true identity, that balance is necessary.

Boston Celtics

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    PG: Rajon Rondo*, Phil Pressey

    SG: Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, MarShon Brooks, Jordan Crawford

    SF: Jeff Green, Gerald Wallace, Keith Bogans

    PF: Jared Sullinger, Brandon Bass

    C: Kelly Olynyk, Kris Humphries


    Key Additions: Kelly Olynyk, MarShon Brooks, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries

    Most of the key additions came via the blockbuster trade of the offseason, one that sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets. In return for their superstars, the C's acquired a whole bunch of role players, only one of whom could play a part in the long-term plans. 

    That would be MarShon Brooks, who may very well challenge Courtney Lee for the starting shooting guard role within the first week of the regular season. Remember, the Providence product is a guy who drew (poor man's) Kobe Bryant comparisons when he was under the draft microscope, and his shot-creating abilities didn't just disappear while he was stuck on the Brooklyn bench. 

    Neither Gerald Wallace nor Kris Humphries will be prominent pieces for the future, but they'll both play sparingly off the bench due to the dearth of options in Beantown. 

    Finally, there's Kelly Olynyk, the promising offensive center out of Gonzaga who caught the attention of the NBA world when he dominated in summer league. Once more due to the lack of high-quality and established frontcourt players, Olynyk could very well start from day one. 


    Position to Watch: Center

    It's all about Olynyk here. 

    The former Bulldog took the NBA by storm during summer league, and his offensive game looked every bit like it could easily translate during his rookie season. But what happens when the pace of the game goes up a notch and players get more physical and defensively talented? 

    Olynyk will be learning while thrown into the fire, and he'll have to play well in order to hold on to the job. While there are no other true centers on this roster, the Celtics could very well choose to play small ball and throw out a starting frontcourt of Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass. 

    But, if everything goes well, you could be looking at a dark-horse candidate for Rookie of the Year in Olynyk.

Brooklyn Nets

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    PG: Deron Williams, Shaun Livingston, Tyshawn Taylor

    SG: Joe Johnson, Jason Terry

    SF: Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko

    PF: Kevin Garnett, Reggie Evans, Mirza Teletovic

    C: Brook Lopez, Andray Blatche, Mason Plumlee


    Key Additions: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Shaun Livingston, Jason Terry, Andrei Kirilenko

    The Brooklyn Nets gained a lot of quality players during the 2013 offseason. 

    Three of them—Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry—were all acquired in the blockbuster trade with the Boston Celtics, and each of them will play prominent parts in the championship chase. Pierce and KG in particular will need to fight off Father Time for one more season as they'll be expected to play at least 30 minutes per game. 

    But those weren't the only big additions that Mikhail Prokhorov's organization made while the sun was at its hottest. 

    He also added depth by signing Shaun Livingston and Andrei Kirilenko to shore up the bench. Livingston likely won't be asked to play much, but AK-47 is expected be a key piece. 


    Position to Watch: Center

    Most positions on this roster are pretty set, but the backup center spot will be a nice competition throughout the year. 

    Andray Blatche had a fantastic first season with the Nets, providing an offensive spark every time he worked his way off the pine. In fact, his redemption campaign went so well that he posted a 21.9 PER and was one of the more underrated scorers in basketball. 

    But now he'll be challenged by top draft-day selection Mason Plumlee. 

    The Duke product is ready to compete in the NBA right away, and his defensive presence and steadiness on the glass could both allow him to cut into Blatche's minutes. 

Charlotte Bobcats

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    PG: Kemba Walker, Ramon Sessions, Jannero Pargo

    SG: Gerald Henderson, Ben Gordon

    SF: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeffery Taylor

    PF: Cody Zeller, Josh McRoberts, Anthony Tolliver

    C: Al Jefferson, Bismack Biyombo, Brendan Haywood


    Key Additions: Cody Zeller, Al Jefferson

    There were only two major additions to the Charlotte Bobcats roster, but they both figure to be starters throughout the season. 

    First was the surprising No. 4 draft pick: Cody Zeller. 

    While I was shocked to see Zeller taken that high with players like Nerlens Noel and Ben McLemore still on the board, you can still count me among those who believe in Big Handsome. The Indiana product's game was always better suited for the professional level, and we'll get a chance to see that throughout the 2013-14 season. 

    Al Jefferson was the other big addition, and he's arguably the best player to ever suit up for the Bobcats. Big Al is a legitimate stud at center. With his back-to-the-basket game, he'll take a lot of offensive pressure off guys like Kemba Walker. 


    Position to Watch: Power forward

    Can Zeller hold on to the starting gig at power forward? 

    If he struggles to make the transition from Indiana to Charlotte, he could find himself playing limited minutes off the bench, as the Bobcats have a few options. Josh McRoberts could end up starting, or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could slide over and play the 4 in a smaller lineup. 

    With the other four positions just about set in stone, this is easily the most intriguing of the bunch. 

Chicago Bulls

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    PG: Derrick Rose, Marquis Teague

    SG: Jimmy Butler, Kirk Hinrich

    SF: Luol Deng, Mike Dunleavy, Tony Snell

    PF: Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson, Erik Murphy

    C: Joakim Noah, Nazr Mohammed


    Key Additions: Mike Dunleavy

    I'm not going to consider Tony Snell and Erik Murphy as key additions, simply because the rookies won't play much at all behind Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson or Luol Deng and Mike Dunleavy. I do think they'll be on the active roster, but that's only because the Chicago Bulls don't currently have any other options. 

    That leaves Dunleavy as the lone addition. 

    While he'll only be the seventh or eighth man in the rotation on a nightly basis, the small forward will be a crucial part of the team's success thanks to his floor-spacing abilities. The Bulls weren't a high-quality shooting team from behind the arc in 2012-13, and Dunleavy is going to help mitigate whatever the team lost when Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli left for new locations. 

    The sharp-shooter hit 1.7 triples per game on 42.8 percent shooting during his final season with the Milwaukee Bucks, and he'll be looking to repeat those numbers in the Windy City. 


    Position to Watch: Power forward

    Power forward is where you want to keep your eyes fixed, as Boozer and Gibson will be battling it out for minutes throughout the year. 

    Boozer is the established starter, but at some point, the reins have to be handed over to his younger counterpart. Gibson is the better defender (by a long shot, since Boozer's defense is just about nonexistent), but he also doesn't get in the way of the rest of Chicago's offense. 

    It's shocking that the Bulls haven't made this transition already, as they've been markedly worse on both offense and defense when Boozer is on the court. According to Basketball-Reference, the team was outscored by 2.4 points per 100 possessions in 2012-13 when Boozer played, but it did the outscoring by 6.1 when he sat. 

    The winds are blowing, and they should be carrying change in with them. 

Cleveland Cavaliers

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    PG: Kyrie Irving, Jarrett Jack, Matthew Dellavedova

    SG: Dion Waiters, C.J. Miles

    SF: Earl Clark, Sergey Karasev, Alonzo Gee

    PF: Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett*

    C: Anderson Varejao*, Andrew Bynum*, Tyler Zeller


    Key Additions: Jarrett Jack, Earl Clark, Sergey Karasev, Anthony Bennett, Andrew Bynum

    The Cleveland Cavaliers retooled quite a bit of their rotation in an offseason intended to push them firmly into postseason contention. 

    Small forward underwent the most changes, as the Cavs brought in Earl Clark through free agency and Sergey Karasev via the draft. Alonzo Gee is still there, but don't be surprised when he's the third-string 3. Clark has the most talent at the position, and Karasev is as NBA-ready as a second-tier international prospect gets. 

    But the changes came across the board. 

    Jarrett Jack is a vital piece, both because of his skills at point guard and comfort coming off the bench, but also because Kyrie Irving hasn't exactly been the model of health during his career. The former Golden State Warrior will get to showcase his scoring talent quite often. 

    Then there are the frontcourt guys: Anthony Bennett and Andrew Bynum. 

    Bennett was the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA draft, but he'll be brought along slowly thanks to the bulk of options at power forward and small forward. The UNLV product will eventually be a big player, but he's really only being listed as a key addition because, well, he was the No. 1 overall selection. 

    As for Bynum, he could either regain his status as the young, up-and-coming stud at center, or he could never recover from his knee injuries. We just don't know yet, but a healthy Bynum would definitely push the Cavs over the top. 


    Position to Watch: Center

    That uncertainty engulfing Bynum (more Bynum's knees than anything else) inherently makes center a position to watch, but it's the number of options that pushes it ahead of power forward and small forward. 

    Bynum, Anderson Varejao and Tyler Zeller all need playing time, but there aren't enough minutes to go around. There will be a constant battle, both to see who stays healthy and to figure out who's more productive at any given point during the season. 

    You'll want to keep your eyes affixed to a few positions on this squad, but center needs to be the first priority. 

Dallas Mavericks

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    PG: Jose Calderon, Devin Harris*, Gal Mekel

    SG: Monta Ellis, Wayne Ellington, Ricky Ledo

    SF: Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, Jae Crowder

    PF: Dirk Nowitzki, DeJuan Blair

    C: Brandan Wright, Samuel Dalembert


    Key Additions: Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis, Devin Harris, Samuel Dalembert

    The Dallas Mavericks apparently had a thing for guards during the 2013 offseason. 

    In addition to Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis and Devin Harris, the Mavs also added Gal Mekel, Shane Larkin (who would be a key addition if not for the broken foot that figures to keep him out for an extended period of time) and Ricky Ledo. 

    But it's the first trio that will make the biggest impact. 

    Calderon is a fantastic distributor, Ellis is a great scorer who sometimes thinks a little too highly of himself, and Harris can capably play either guard position and steadily create his own looks. 

    There's also Samuel Dalembert, who will provide solid—but not spectacular—minutes at center, even at 32 years old. He could very well start over Brandan Wright, but he doesn't offer as much upside, and he's not as familiar with Rick Carlisle's systems. 


    Position to Watch: Shooting guard

    Monta Ellis alone will be pretty entertaining, especially as he attempts to figure out his role on the Dallas offense. He's gone on record as saying that he'll be Dirk Nowitzki's sidekick, but there's no telling what will happen when he starts playing games. 

    As we know, Monta likes to have it all. 

    In some ways, I'd like to see Harris in the starting lineup with Ellis coming in as a James Harden-esque sixth man. He could play whenever Dirk took a rest and function as the go-to scorer then, and a secondary option when he played alongside the German 7-footer. 

    But the rest of the 2-guard rotation is intriguing as well. Harris and Wayne Ellington will be battling for a job as the primary backup, and let's not forget about Ledo, who should prove that he belongs on the active roster during his rookie season. 

    He might start in the D-League given his lack of experience above the high school level, but that scoring talent is awfully difficult to contain. 

Denver Nuggets

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    PG: Ty Lawson, Nate Robinson, Andre Miller

    SG: Randy Foye, Evan Fournier

    SF: Danilo Gallinari*, Wilson Chandler, Jordan Hamilton

    PF: Kenneth Faried, Anthony Randolph, Darrell Arthur

    C: JaVale McGee, J.J. Hickson


    Key Additions: Nate Robinson, Randy Foye, J.J. Hickson

    The Denver Nuggets didn't exactly have a great offseason, but they still managed to add some quality pieces...and Randy Foye. 

    I'm not exactly thrilled about what Foye brings to the table at this stage of his career, and no one should be surprised when either Evan Fournier or one of the backup small forwards takes over the starting job later in the season. 

    The other additions are better. 

    Nate Robinson's scoring punch and outside shooting will be key for the Nuggets as they attempt to make the postseason in the first year of the post-George Karl era, and J.J. Hickson is quite necessary on the roster to provide some stability. The big man isn't a glamorous option, but it'll be nice having him as a primary backup for JaVale McGee, and he's certainly a better option than Timofey Mozgov. 


    Position to Watch: Shooting guard

    As you could probably tell based on what I wrote about Foye, shooting guard is the position to watch. 

    The free-agent addition will open the season as the starting 2-guard, but it's unlikely that he holds on to the job throughout the season. Fournier is my bet to take over the gig early on in the season, and some consistent perimeter shooting would keep him in the lineup for a long, long time. 

    Additionally, we could see lots of sets that use a true point guard like Nate Robinson or Andre Miller at the 2 alongside Ty Lawson. 

    Denver has lots of options when it comes to shooting guards. Now it's just up to Brian Shaw to figure out which one is the most conducive to success. 

Detroit Pistons

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    PG: Brandon Jennings, Chauncey Billups, Will Bynum, Peyton Siva

    SG: Rodney Stuckey, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

    SF: Josh Smith, Kyle Singler, Luigi Datome

    PF: Greg Monroe, Jonas Jerebko, Charlie Villanueva

    C: Andre Drummond


    Key Additions: Brandon Jennings, Chauncey Billups, Josh Smith, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

    The Detroit Pistons used a major roster overhaul to transform themselves into bona fide playoff contenders, and that's primarily because they added four key players who can all bring a lot to the table. 

    Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith are the guaranteed starters. And interestingly enough, they're both southpaws.

    Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not. 

    Handedness isn't all the two dynamic players have in common, though. They each have an unfortunate infatuation with hoisting up ill-advised jumpers, and they'll have to either cut them out of their respective arsenals or start hitting them with more frequency in order for those postseason dreams to become realities. 

    Chauncey Billups and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will also be big additions at shooting guard, and they'll engage in quite the battle throughout the 2013-14 season, as you can see below. 


    Position to Watch: Shooting guard

    Billups and KCP are the primary contenders to take over the starting 2-guard spot in the lineup, and the former has the advantage because of his professional experience. Although he has yet to regain his old form since rupturing his Achilles, Billups is still a quality leader, distributor and spot-up shooter. 

    Caldwell-Pope can hang with his elder, though. 

    The Georgia product has the makings of an elite three-and-D guy, and that will begin during his rookie season.

    Right now, though, we have to throw Rodney Stuckey into the equation as the starter, even though it seems like most of the Motor City can't wait for the combo guard's contract to expire at the end of the season. 

Golden State Warriors

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    PG: Stephen Curry, Toney Douglas

    SG: Klay Thompson, Kent Bazemore, Nemanja Nedovic

    SF: Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green

    PF: David Lee, Marresse Speights

    C: Andrew Bogut, Jermaine O'Neal, Festus Ezeli


    Key Additions: Andre Iguodala, Toney Douglas, Marresse Speights, Jermaine O'Neal

    It's all about Andre Iguodala here. 

    Acquiring the swingman took a lot of work on the part of the Golden State Warriors, but it'll prove to be worth it. It'll be worth losing all of the financial flexibility that the Dubs could've enjoyed down the road as well. 

    Iggy is capable of playing either small forward or shooting guard, and his presence in the rotation does more than just provide Golden State with an elite perimeter defender who can do just about anything (except consistently shoot threes and free throws) on offense. It also lets Mark Jackson mess with plenty of different lineups, morphing his strategy to match up with a more stylistically fixed opponent. 

    But Iguodala wasn't the only addition. 

    Toney Douglas, Marreese Speights and Jermaine O'Neal will all provide valuable minutes off the bench at their respective positions, as you can see up above in the depth chart. 


    Position to Watch: Small forward

    The Golden State lineup all hinges on what Jackson decides to do at small forward. 

    There are three options: 

    1. Play Iguodala at the 3, which means a starting lineup of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Iguodala, David Lee and Andrew Bout. 
    2. Play Iguodala at the 2 and Harrison Barnes at the 3, which means a starting lineup of Curry, Iguodala, Barnes, Lee and Bogut. 
    3. Play Iguodala at the 3 and Barnes at the 4, which means a small-ball starting lineup of Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, Barnes and Bogut. 

    They're all appealing options, and it'll be fascinating to see how often the young head coach is willing to experiment, especially given the wealth of talent on his roster. 

Houston Rockets

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    PG: Jeremy Lin, Patrick Beverley, Aaron Brooks

    SG: James Harden, Reggie Williams

    SF: Chandler Parsons, Francisco Garcia

    PF: Greg Smith, Donatas Motiejunas, Terrence Jones

    C: Dwight Howard, Omer Asik, Marcus Camby


    Key Additions: Dwight Howard

    When you add a piece like Dwight Howard, nothing else really seems like a "key addition." 

    Sorry, Marcus Camby. No disrespect meant. 

    D12 is a huge, huge, huge addition for the Houston Rockets, and I don't just mean that he's a massive human being with the world's largest pair of shoulders. He's going to be quite the difference-maker on both ends of the court, as he's an even better pick-and-roll threat and rim-protector than Omer Asik. 

    The big man was the No. 1 free agent on the open market in 2013, and that automatically gave Houston one of the best offseasons possible when general manager Slim Thug Daryl Morey convinced Howard to join the Rockets. 


    Position to Watch: Power forward

    Even though Howard is a center by trade, there's been speculation from multiple media outlets that the big man might play power forward in order to maximize the amount of on-court talent utilized by the new Western Conference power. 

    Personally, I don't believe that Howard and Asik can capably function together, as they're redundant players whose paint-limited presences would inhibit James Harden's driving skills. But if the Rockets are going to try making it work, we're going to have to watch while remaining equal parts intrigued and skeptical. 

    The actual power forward rotation is interesting as well, simply because it's the weakest part of the lineup and filled with uncertainty. Greg Smith, Donatas Motiejunas and Terrence Jones are all just about on equal footing at this stage, and their order on the depth chart is bound to swing with the frequency of a revolving door. 

Indiana Pacers

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    PG: George Hill, C.J. Watson, Donald Sloan

    SG: Paul George, Lance Stephenson, Orlando Johnson

    SF: Danny Granger*, Chris Copeland*, Solomon Hill

    PF: David West, Luis Scola

    C: Roy Hibbert, Ian Mahinmi


    Key Additions: C.J. Watson, Chris Copeland, Luis Scola

    This offseason was all about adding depth. 

    The Indiana Pacers had one of the worst second units in basketball during the 2012-13 season. And when I say "one of the worst," I mean that only the Portland Trail Blazers bench scored fewer points per game, and no team had a lower field-goal percentage without the starters' numbers factored in. 

    Fortunately for Indiana fans, that's no longer going to be as much of an issue. 

    Not even factoring in the return of Danny Granger—who missed most of the campaign with injuries and was completely ineffective when he did play—C.J. Watson, Chris Copeland and Luis Scola will all help add varied contributions to the lineup. None are glamorous options, but they're all steady presences who will ensure that there isn't as much of a drop-off when a starter needs to rest this year. 


    Position to Watch: Shooting guard

    Lance Stephenson did a great job holding down the fort at shooting guard in 2012-13. 

    He emerged as a solid defender and capable offensive player whose athletic exploits at the rim were curtailed only by his penchant for getting overly aggressive and attacking the basket in an ill-advised situation. 

    This year, though, Stephenson will serve as the backup, unless he can continue to grow. If he proves to be more valuable than Granger, something that would really only happen if the former leading scorer can't fully recover from his injuries and regain his old form, then he and Paul George will start next to each other at the wing positions. 

    But if not, it looks like it'll be George and Granger going to work together. 

Los Angeles Clippers

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    PG: Chris Paul, Darren Collison

    SG: J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford, Willie Green

    SF: Jared Dudley, Matt Barnes, Reggie Bullock

    PF: Blake Griffin, Antawn Jamison, Byron Mullens

    C: DeAndre Jordan, Ryan Hollins


    Key Additions: J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley, Darren Collison, Antawn Jamison

    The Los Angeles Clippers don't have to be concerned about three-point shooting anymore. 

    By trading Eric Bledsoe and acquiring both J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley, the Clippers added two top-notch shooters from the perimeter. During the 2012-13 season, Redick averaged 2.1 triples per game on 36.6 percent shooting, and Dudley put up 1.3 three-pointers per contest while shooting 39.1 percent from downtown. 

    Not bad for a team that finished 10th in three-pointers made and 15th in three-point percentage last year, according to Basketball-Reference

    The other additions weren't half-bad either. 

    Darren Collison had an underrated season for the Dallas Mavericks, simply because he wasn't the All-Star that they needed him to be, and he'll be more than capable of functioning as a backup for Chris Paul. Antawn Jamison will provide offense out of the frontcourt, and there are still more additions. 

    Byron Mullens and Reggie Bullock aren't as "key" (though Bullock could make me regret that soon), and I don't even get to talk about Doc Rivers because he's not technically on the depth chart. 


    Position to Watch: Small forward

    Bullock is one of the reasons that small forward is the position to watch, but he's by no means the only one. 

    Matt Barnes could also challenge for a starting spot, although he's been perfectly happy to come off the bench in the past unless forced into the starting five out of necessity. 

    Additionally, Rivers could decide to play small ball, throwing out Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford and Redick in a three-guard set. 

    There are a lot of options at the 3 for L.A., and just as is the case for most elite teams, so many of them are overwhelmingly positive choices.. 

Los Angeles Lakers

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    PG: Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar

    SG: Kobe Bryant*, Jodie Meeks

    SF: Nick Young, Wes Johnson, Marcus Landry

    PF: Jordan Hill, Ryan Kelly

    C: Pau GasolChris Kaman, Robert Sacre


    Key Additions: Nick Young, Chris Kaman

    The Los Angeles Lakers underwent a lot of change this offseason, in terms of perception at least. However, they didn't really bring in too many new players. 

    Chris Kaman figures to play big minutes as a backup center unless the Lakers switch things up and decide to forgo a Pau Gasol-Jordan Hill starting frontcourt. While the hunting aficionado is by no means a center of the future (and definitely not a center of Dwight Howard's ilk), he's still a decent stopgap capable of putting up efficient numbers. 

    "Efficient" isn't really a word in Nick Young's vocabulary, though. He'll bounce between shooting guard and small forward, sticking to the latter once Kobe returns from his ruptured Achilles. But unless he learns how to pass the ball, it's going to be a rough season wearing purple and gold. 


    Position to Watch: Small forward

    Young's performance at small forward will determine the success of the Lakers in 2013-14. 

    If he maintains his selfish ways, eschewing any and all passing opportunities for ill-advised shots in an effort to live up to his "Swaggy P" nickname, the Lake Show will come crashing down. But if he can play team basketball and function as a complementary playmaker once Kobe returns, the Lakers will surpass the tempered expectations. 

    Wes Johnson is another intriguing addition, though he doesn't figure to play enough that he gets that "key addition" designation. And with Jodie Meeks able to slide over to the 3 in a pinch, there's a third choice for Mike D'Antoni. 

    Center will give small forward a run for its money, but it'll ultimately fall just short. 

Memphis Grizzlies

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    PG: Mike Conley, Jerryd Bayless, Josh Akognon

    SG: Tony Allen, Jamaal Franklin, Mike Miller

    SF: Tayshaun Prince, Quincy Pondexter

    PF: Zach Randolph, Ed Davis, Jon Leuer

    C: Marc Gasol, Kosta Koufos


    Key Additions: Jamaal Franklin, Mike Miller, Kosta Koufos

    The Memphis Grizzlies made some under-the-radar moves, and all of them should help the squad remain competitive in the brutally difficult Western Conference. 

    Kosta Koufos doesn't get much attention, but he's a solid center who will inevitably thrive in limited action behind Marc Gasol. During his final season as a starter for the Denver Nuggets, the Ohio State product averaged 8.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, but he did so while shooting 58.1 percent from the field.

    The other key additions come at shooting guard, and it's still up in the air how large a role each of them will receive.

    Mike Miller was brought on board after being amnestied by the Miami Heat, and Jamaal Franklin was drafted in the second round of the 2013 NBA draft. They're both potent three-point shooters, but the San Diego State product's well-rounded game should give Franklin the edge. 


    Position to Watch: Shooting guard

    That said, shooting guard is still the key position to watch. 

    The battle between Miller and Franklin is a big one, especially since Memphis desperately needs three-point shooting help in the lineup. Even with Quincy Pondexter and Mike Conley looking better from the perimeter, the team still struggled to maintain a consistent presence from beyond the three-point arc. 

    And yet, the excitement extends beyond the two in the battle. 

    Pondexter could also end up playing minutes at the 2, and the Conley-Jerryd Bayless lineup has worked sparingly in the past. 

Miami Heat

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    PG: Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole

    SG: Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen

    SF: LeBron James, Shane Battier, Rashard Lewis

    PF: Udonis Haslem, Michael Beasley, Jarvis Varnado

    C: Chris Bosh, Chris Andersen, Greg Oden*


    Key Additions: Greg Oden, Michael Beasley

    The Miami Heat's only two new additions are both fraught with uncertainty. 

    They signed Greg Oden, hoping that the former Portland Trail Blazers big man can make an impact after missing multiple seasons to recover from microfracture surgeries on his knees. Ever since he was drafted No. 1 ahead of Kevin Durant, he's played in only 82 games—you know, the length of a typical NBA season. 

    The other risky venture was giving a nonguaranteed contract to Michael Beasley, fresh off his arrest and subsequent release from the Phoenix Suns.

    It's the second go-around with the Heat for Beasley, and this one needs to go better if he wants to see his NBA career continue. He can't keep posting historically awful offensive seasons while getting into off-court trouble if he wants to avoid spending the remainder of his professional life playing in a lesser league. 


    Position to Watch: Center

    What else could it be?

    We know that the point guard rotation will be Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole. Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen are obviously the shooting guards, and there isn't much question at either of the forward positions (unless Beasley completely turns his career around)

    The big uncertainty comes at center. 

    How good will Oden be? Can he stay healthy? 

    If he's even 75 percent of the player he once was while on the court, he'll become one of the best rebounding and defensive specialists in the NBA, earning a starting gig that pushes Chris Bosh back to his more natural position at power forward. 

    But if he's not, then the rotation stays the same, letting Chris Andersen function as the primary backup to the All-Star big man. 

Milwaukee Bucks

18 of 31

    PG: Brandon Knight, Luke Ridnour, Nate Wolters

    SG: O.J. Mayo, Gary Neal

    SF: Caron Butler, Carlos Delfino*, Giannis Antetokounmpo 

    PF: Ersan Ilyasova, John Henson

    C: Larry Sanders, Zaza Pachulia, Ekpe Udoh


    Key Additions: Brandon Knight, Carlos Delfino, O.J. Mayo, Caron Butler, Luke Ridnour, Gary Neal, Zaza Pachulia

    Well, it's safe to say that the Milwaukee Bucks look a little bit different this year. 

    Of the seven players on the depth chart at point guard, shooting guard and small forward, all were acquired via trades, sign-and-trades and straight-up free-agent signings. 

    Brandon Knight is the true key player here, as he's the potential franchise point guard. The former Detroit Pistons floor general was brought in through the Brandon Jennings sign-and-trade, and he's going to be counted on to improve his 1-guard skills rather dramatically while learning on the job. 

    Meanwhile, O.J. Mayo will probably lead the team in scoring, as he's a potent three-point shooter with skills from mid-range to boot. He's not the future of the team, but he's at least a capable stopgap as the squad attempts to maintain its mediocrity. 

    And really, that's the only explanation for this set of moves. The Bucks will be moderately competitive, but not so that they earn a playoff spot. 


    Position to Watch: Power forward

    This may be a controversial selection, but I'm keeping my eye on the power forwards as we wait and see how quickly John Henson forces Milwaukee's hand. 

    The North Carolina product is clearly in possession of more upside than Ersan Ilyasova, and he showed off quite a bit of potential at the end of his rookie season. He dominated on the glass, scored at a fairly high level and thrived blocking shots, though not always at the same time. 

    Ilyasova is a great shooter and a nice stretch-4 option, but he's not going to hold off Henson forever. It's just a matter of time until he's either traded for an upgraded option elsewhere in the lineup or pushed to small forward in favor of a Ilyasova-Henson combo as the starting wings. 

Minnesota Timberwolves

19 of 31

    PG: Ricky Rubio, J.J. Barea

    SG: Kevin Martin, Alexey Shved

    SF: Chase Budinger, Corey Brewer, Shabazz Muhammad

    PF: Kevin Love, Derrick Williams, Dante Cunningham

    C: Nikola Pekovic, Ronny Turiaf, Gorgui Dieng


    Key Additions: Kevin Martin, Ronny Turiaf, Gorgui Dieng, Corey Brewer

    Throughout the 2013-14 season, you may be convinced that the Minnesota Timberwolves are working with about 15 new players. 

    They aren't. 

    That's just the perception that stems from the injury-riddled 2012-13 campaign. No one could stay healthy, and so the lineups will all seem fresh throughout what should be a more healthy year. And yes, I'm betting on a bit of a regression (progression?) to the mean. 

    In reality, there are only a handful of new faces, and two of them will be competing for one prominent role. That would be Ronny Turiaf and Gorgui Dieng, who are going to spend the early portion of the season fighting each other for the right to replace Nikola Pekovic whenever he needs a rest. 

    The biggest addition is Kevin Martin, though. 

    K-Mart is exactly what Minnesota was looking for this offseason: a big 2-guard who can shoot the ball with consistency from the outside. The 'Wolves have found their secondary scorer, and now they'll hope that they can make that long-awaited playoff run. 


    Position to Watch: Small forward

    While the center battle will be an intriguing one, it's all about small forward. 

    Chase Budinger figures to hold on to the starting job at the beginning of the season now that he's finally healthy. The Arizona product can still become a nice three-and-D player, but he'll have his work cut out for him if he wants to keep the role well into the future. 

    There are plenty of challengers coming off the bench. 

    Corey Brewer is the most pressing concern for Budinger, especially if the dynamic athlete can retain everything that George Karl taught him during his time with the Denver Nuggets. The swingman took major strides as a consistent defender, and his offensive game is only improving. 

    Of course, I still haven't mentioned Shabazz Muhammad. 

    The 'Wolves' first-round draft pick was once heralded as a potential No. 1 overall selection, but his stock slipped and now perception of him is at an all-time low. He'll have to display an unselfish nature and put forth a more concerted defensive effort in order to earn playing time, but the sky is still the limit for his potential. 

New Orleans Pelicans

20 of 31

    PG: Jrue Holiday, Brian Roberts

    SG: Eric Gordon, Austin Rivers

    SF: Tyreke Evans, Al-Farouq Aminu, Darius Miller*, Anthony Morrow

    PF: Ryan Anderson

    C: Anthony Davis, Jason Smith, Greg Stiemsma, Jeff Withey


    Key Additions: Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans

    It's all about the guards for the New Orleans Pelicans. 

    They first acquired Jrue Holiday during the 2013 NBA draft by trading away the rights to Nerlens Noel and a future first-round pick. That was an immediate upgrade, as Holiday broke out last year and was rewarded with an All-Star selection. 

    But were the Hornets Pelicans done yet? Of course not!

    They completed a sign-and-trade for Tyreke Evans, sending Robin Lopez over to the Portland Trail Blazers as part of the three-team deal. In two fell swoops, the Pelicans gave their team quite a bit more potential. 

    As long as the three guards can coexist, NOLA is back. 


    Position to Watch: Small forward

    But, can they coexist? 

    It's all about whether or not Evans can work at small forward. If he can, they'll be in fantastic shape. But if he struggles to thrive at the 3, the Pelicans will be thrust into a bit of turmoil. 

    According to, the positionless player posted PERs of 18.8 and 16.6 at shooting guard and small forward, respectively. He also allowed opponents to put up 16.9 and 15.0 PERs at those two spots in the lineup. 

    So, which would you rather have him at? 

    That's the question that New Orleans must grapple with, especially because there are a few intriguing options capable of coming off the bench. Al-Farouq Aminu has proven that he has limited upside, as has Anthony Morrow, but both are solid role players. Add in Darius Miller, and you have a rotation that will be bouncing up and down the depth chart. 

New York Knicks

21 of 31

    PG: Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni, Beno Udrih

    SG: Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith*, Tim Hardaway Jr. 

    SF: Carmelo Anthony, Metta World Peace

    PF: Andrea Barganani, Amar'e Stoudemire, Kenyon Martin

    C: Tyson Chandler, Jeremy Tyler*


    Key Additions: Metta World Peace, Andrea Bargnani

    The New York Knicks made a few frontcourt additions, but the primary hope for improvement in 2013-14 rests on the flattop of Iman Shumpert. How quickly he develops will ultimately determine how far the team can go after winning its first playoff series in forever during the 2013 postseason. 

    Andrea Bargnani is expected to start at power forward when healthy. He was the biggest name acquired this offseason, brought aboard for Steve Novak, Quentin Richardson and a first-round draft pick after the Toronto Raptors tired of his inefficient play. 

    But he wasn't the only veteran added to the roster. 

    Metta World Peace signed with his hometown Knicks after he was amnestied by the Los Angeles Lakers for cap purposes. The small forward is still a lockdown defender with a great three-point shot, and that will fit in quite nicely with Mike Woodson's system. 


    Position to Watch: Power forward

    This is the only part of the rotation that is really up in the air. There are just a lot of questions swirling around at the moment. 

    Will Bargnani regain his productivity and start living up to the expectations associated with him when he was drafted at No. 1? Can he play any defense? 

    As for Amar'e Stoudemire, will the big man be healthy? When his knees were working, STAT was a dominant per-minute player, and the Knicks need all the offense they can get from him. 

    There's a lot of uncertainty here, and the success of the power forwards will determine just how much floor spacing New York enjoys. 

Oklahoma City Thunder

22 of 31

    PG: Russell Westbrook*, Reggie Jackson, Derek Fisher

    SG: Thabo Sefolosha, Jeremy Lamb

    SF: Kevin Durant, Perry Jones III, Ryan Gomes

    PF: Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison

    C: Kendrick Perkins, Hasheem Thabeet, Steven Adams


    Key Additions: None

    I'm not ready to call Steven Adams a "key addition" during his rookie season, and there are no other new faces. 


    Position to Watch: Shooting guard

    The Oklahoma City Thunder roster remained largely consistent during the offseason, but one major piece left: Kevin Martin, the standout shooting guard who departed for the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

    Now the Western Conference powerhouse is trying to replace him internally, and that's what makes shooting guard so intriguing. 

    Although Thabo Sefolosha is the starter, the backup minutes will go in bulk to either Jeremy Lamb or Reggie Jackson, although the latter is listed at point guard, his primary position. The success of the Thunder will be determined by the offensive output of these two players, unless Serge Ibaka can suddenly step up and shoulder a larger scoring burden. 

    Keep an eye on the Jackson vs. Lamb battle throughout the season. It's sure to be a fierce one. 

Orlando Magic

23 of 31

    PG: Jameer Nelson, E'Twaun Moore

    SG: Victor Oladipo, Arron Afflalo, Doron Lamb

    SF: Maurice Harkless, Hedo Turkoglu

    PF: Tobias Harris, Glen Davis*, Andrew Nicholson

    C: Nikola Vucevic, Jason Maxiell, Kyle O'Quinn


    Key Additions: Victor Oladipo, Jason Maxiell

    There are two new additions but only one reason to get excited for the Orlando Magic. 

    Jason Maxiell is clearly a stopgap option at center. A natural power forward, he's only listed at the 5 out of necessity, as he's the toughest guy left when Nikola Vucevic needs a rest. 

    But still, the 30-year-old who has spent his entire career with the Detroit Pistons only averaged 10.0 points and 8.2 rebounds per game last year. He'll provide solid production, even if he's not a major part of the future plans. 

    The same can't be said about Victor Oladipo. As the No. 2 pick in the 2013 NBA draft, the Indiana product will be expected to compete immediately, and he'll spend the season showcasing his dynamic athleticism, shutdown defense and developing offensive skills.


    Position to Watch: Shooting guard

    Yep. I'm predicting that Oladipo starts at the 2. 

    Arron Afflalo is clearly the more established option, but the Magic are inevitably going to do whatever it takes to get their top pick on the court whenever possible. Oladipo will start games at shooting guard, but he'll also spend a lot of time running the show in a two 2-guard lineup. 

    It doesn't get much more intriguing than that, as the incoming rookie and incumbent veteran will be going head-to-head every day. You can throw a little Doron Lamb into the mix as well, as he'll be ready for minutes during his sophomore season. 

    Not only is shooting guard the position to watch for Orlando, but it's one of the positions you most want to keep an eye on in the entire NBA. 

Philadelphia 76ers

24 of 31

    PG: Michael Carter-Williams, Darius Morris, Tony Wroten

    SG: Evan Turner, James Anderson, Khalif Wyatt

    SF: Thaddeus Young

    PF: Arnett Moultrie, Lavoy Allen, Arsalan Kazemi

    C: Spencer Hawes, Nerlens Noel*, Kwame Brown


    Key Additions: Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel

    It's tough to determine what exactly makes a "key addition" for the Philadelphia 76ers. 

    Technically, Darius Morris, Tony Wroten, James Anderson and Arsalan Kazemi could be included here, but they aren't exactly "key." They might play big minutes, but they'd never be competitive rotation members on a quality NBA team. 

    That leaves Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel, the two first-round draft picks of the Sixers. Noel was acquired at the expense of Jrue Holiday, and big things will be expected of him as soon as he returns from his ACL injury. 

    The 2013-14 campaign is all about evaluating talent in Philly. Wins aren't desired outcomes, but the management must keep a close eye on all the young guns in an effort to decide which players can effectively function as building blocks of the future. 

    Among the new faces on the squad, only Noel and MCW seem likely to qualify as such. 


    Position to Watch: Point guard

    Due to the intrigue surrounding the flat-topped big man from Kentucky, center could easily be the position du jour. But point guard still takes the cake because there are three young players competing for minutes. 

    MCW is the clear favorite for the starting job, even though the newly acquired Darius Morris is the most experienced player on the roster. He and Tony Wroten aren't rookies, but they may as well be, given the extreme lack of minutes they've been handed during the early portion of their respective NBA careers. 

    I was higher on both Morris and Wroten than most when they were drafted, and I haven't completely given up on them. Don't be surprised if one emerges as a quality backup by the end of the year, but your guess is as good as mine when trying to determine which one it will be. 

Phoenix Suns

25 of 31

    PG: Goran Dragic, Kendall Marshall, Ish Smith

    SG: Eric Bledsoe, Archie Goodwin, Shannon Brown

    SF: P.J. Tucker, Gerald Green

    PF: Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris, Channing Frye

    C: Marcin Gortat, Alex Len


    Key Additions: Eric Bledsoe, Alex Len, Archie Goodwin

    Even though the Phoenix Suns are going to be strong contenders in the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes, the new additions still give them reason to get excited. 

    Let's start with the draft picks. 

    Alex Len was the top pick in the desert, and he has the look of a dominant big man if he can manage to stay healthy. With stress fractures on each side of his body, though, his professional career hasn't gotten off to the best start, and he'll be beginning his rookie season behind the eight ball. 

    It's the other draft pick who might end up providing more excitement. 

    Archie Goodwin dominated at summer league and already looks like one of the steals of the draft with his shooting ability. He'll be taking over the backup shooting guard role from Shannon Brown as soon as the season starts, and it's a spot he'll hold onto for a long time unless he can manage a transition to small forward. 

    That said, the biggest addition was Eric Bledsoe. 

    "Mini LeBron" took the league by storm with his play off the bench for the Los Angeles Clippers, and now he'll be showing off that athleticism and explosiveness (particularly on the defensive end) for the Suns. Acquiring him cost the team Caron Butler and Jared Dudley, and now Phoenix has one season to evaluate him before he becomes a restricted free agent. 


    Position to Watch: Shooting guard

    Bledose is a point guard. But so is Goran Dragic. 

    The Suns aren't going to let one of their talented guards sit on the bench, though. Instead, they'll be playing Bledsoe at shooting guard and hoping that a Bledsoe-Dragic combination can work in the starting lineup. 

    Given Bledsoe's athleticism, defensive instincts and knack for working without the ball in his hands, it should. 

    Additionally, the shooting guard spot in the desert boasts Goodwin and Brown, two players sure to provide excitement whenever they're on the court—just for different reasons. Goodwin is the promising prospect who will presumably show flashes of greatness, and Brown is inevitably going to produce highlights whenever he earns a few spare minutes. 

Portland Trail Blazers

26 of 31

    PG: Damian Lillard, Mo Williams, Earl Watson

    SG: Wesley Matthews, C.J. McCollum, Will Barton

    SF: Nicolas Batum, Dorell Wright, Victor Claver

    PF: LaMarcus Aldridge, Thomas Robinson

    C: Robin Lopez, Meyers Leonard


    Key Additions: Mo Williams, C.J. McCollum, Thomas Robinson, Dorell Wright, Robin Lopez

    The Portland Trail Blazers went into the offseason with two primary goals. 

    First, they needed to find a quality starting center who could replace J.J. Hickson while providing enough on the defensive end of the court that the pressure on LaMarcus Aldridge would be lessened. 

    That box was checked off when the Blazers inserted themselves into the Tyreke Evans sign-and-trade deal, landing Robin Lopez for their efforts. Although Lopez often gets overlooked and doesn't add much offense, he's a fantastic pick-and-roll defender and one of the best point-stopping bargains in basketball. 

    Secondly, Rip City needed depth. Badly. 

    Portland's second unit scored fewer points per game than all other NBA teams' benches, and that's why it was so crucial that they added quality backups at four of the five positions. Dorell Wright and C.J. McCollum in particular are about to have big years. 


    Position to Watch: Shooting guard

    Can McCollum win the starting job during his rookie season? 

    If he does, he'll have to beat out Wesley Matthews, which won't be an easy task if the sharpshooting 2-guard can actually stay healthy. But even if he doesn't, McCollum figures to compete for the rookie lead in points per game while serving as one of the upper-echelon sixth men in the Association. 

    Will Barton is also a player to keep an eye on, as the Memphis product's athleticism could eventually force Portland's hand, making it give him at least a bit more playing time. 

    The whole rotation is interesting and will continue to qualify as such even if the order of the depth chart stays exactly the same throughout the 2013-14 season. 

Sacramento Kings

27 of 31

    PG: Greivis Vasquez*, Isaiah Thomas, Ray McCallum

    SG: Ben McLemore, Marcus Thornton, Jimmer Fredette

    SF: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, John Salmons

    PF: Patrick Patterson, Carl Landry, Jason Thompson

    C: DeMarcus Cousins, Chuck Hayes


    Key Additions: Greivis Vasquez, Ben McLemore, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Carl Landry

    There's actually some reason to be excited in Sac Town, and it's not only because the Sacramento Kings won't be changing locations anytime soon. 

    This team acquired a significant amount of talent over the offseason—talent that's spread out across the board. With key additions at four of the five positions and a legitimate star at the fifth, this lineup will thrill Kings fans even after they've realized that a record below .500 is an inevitability. 

    At point guard, Greivis Vasquez will be taking over the reins. He was acquired from the New Orleans Pelicans in the Tyreke Evans sign-and-trade, and now his distributing talent will be on full display once more—if he can hold off Isaiah Thomas, of course. 

    That said, Ben McLemore is the most exciting addition of the bunch.

    As Sacramento's top draft pick, the Kansas product will have to face lofty expectations, but his defensive potential and outside stroke will serve him well throughout his professional career. 

    Expect Ray Allen McLemore to factor into the Rookie of the Year race from start to finish.

    Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was cheaply acquired for a second-round pick, and he'll thrive with his perimeter defense, especially since he won't be counted on for offense at any point during the 2013-14 season. Finally there's Carl Landry, who was an odd signing because he's a better fit on a contending team. 

    Phew. It's a lot to go over. 


    Position to Watch: All of them?

    It's impossible to pick just one position to watch. 

    You don't have to keep your eyes on the centers, as it's quite established that DeMarcus Cousins will be playing the vast majority of the minutes whenever he's healthy and out of trouble. But the same can't be said for the other four spots. 

    At point guard, Vasquez and Thomas will be duking it out all season for the right to earn the bigger role in the rotation. As the more established player, Vasquez should have the upper hand, but Thomas' more impressive scoring capabilities could serve him well. 

    McLemore and Marcus Thornton should have a similar battle at shooting guard, and it's also possible that the team could elect to start both of them while pushing LRMBAM to the pine. 

    And yet, power forward may well become the most competitive position of the bunch. 

    Patrick Patterson, even though he's put his incredible shooting on display without hesitation, is one of the more underrated players in the league. But he's competing for minutes with Landry and Jason Thompson, both of whom deserve some run. 

    Nothing is settled in Sacramento, and the rotation is likely to shift early and often. 

San Antonio Spurs

28 of 31

    PG: Tony Parker, Cory Joseph, Patty Mills, Nando De Colo

    SG: Danny Green, Manu Ginobili, Marco Belinelli

    SF: Kawhi Leonard

    PF: Tim Duncan, Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner, Jeff Ayres

    C: Tiago Splitter


    Key Additions: Marco Belinelli

    The San Antonio Spurs had a boring but effective offseason. That's a phrase that used to describe everything about this incredible franchise, but it's the first time it's applied in years as uptempo offense has become more and more of a focal point. 

    Instead of using cap space to sign a risky but high-profile free agent like Josh Smith or Monta Ellis, general manager R.C. Buford took the safe route. And who can blame him? It's not like he's experienced a lot of success with this roster or anything. 

    After re-signing all notable rotation members, the Spurs landed Marco Belinelli, who spent last season becoming a better defender with the Chicago Bulls. The Italian 2-guard will never be a standout point-stopper, but he's at least competent now. 

    The real reason he was acquired was the three-point shooting. Under Gregg Popovich's tutelage, Belinelli will be hitting corner threes in his sleep before the 2013-14 season begins. 


    Position to Watch: None

    What exactly is uncertain here? 

    Sure, Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner and Jeff Ayres (formerly known as Jeff Pendergraph) might bounce around the depth chart, but none will play huge minutes behind Tim Duncan. The same can be said for Cory Joseph and Patty Mills at point guard. 

    There's not much drama in the rotation here. You can get a little shuteye after keeping your eyes peeled on a specific position for so many other teams. 

Toronto Raptors

29 of 31

    PG: Kyle Lowry, D.J. Augustin, Dwight Buycks

    SG: DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, Landry Fields

    SF: Rudy Gay, Steve Novak

    PF: Amir Johnson, Tyler Hansbrough, Quincy Acy

    C: Jonas Valanciunas, Aaron Gray


    Key Additions: Dwight Buycks, Steve Novak, Tyler Hansbrough

    The fact that Dwight Buycks, Steve Novak and Tyler Hansbrough are the three key additions should tell you that the Toronto Raptors are relying rather heavily on internal improvement for their playoff dreams. 

    Hansbrough is an underrated power forward thanks primarily to his constant energy and relentless defensive effort. According to Synergy, only 13 players held opponents to fewer points per possession in 2012-13, as Hansbrough allowed just 0.72. He thrived against both roll men and post-up players, and the Raptors will be hoping that success carries over to his new team and country. 

    Novak is another specialist, and his primary asset couldn't be any more different than Psycho T's. He's one of the league's elite snipers, and that'll finally provide Toronto with some consistent perimeter shooting. 

    The most intriguing pickup was Buycks, who few had ever heard of before he exploded during summer league. The point guard averaged 9.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game over the course of four contests in Orlando, then put up a league-high 23 points, 5.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game in Las Vegas. 

    It was enough to earn him a contract and a spot in Toronto's active lineup. 


    Position to Watch: Point guard

    Most of Toronto's depth chart is set in stone. 

    The starting lineup isn't going to change, for example, and there are really only two spots up for grabs: backup point guard and backup shooting guard. 

    The 2-guards aren't as interesting, though, simply because Terrence Ross is talented enough that he should have the second-unit spot on lock within the first week of the season. He's just that much better than Landry Fields. 

    As for point guards, it isn't so simple. 

    We have no idea what to expect from Buycks. He looked fantastic as a dual-threat point guard against summer league competition, but how will that translate to the sport's highest level? Will he be able to challenge D.J. Augustin for the backup spot? 

    Augustin was awful for the Indiana Pacers in 2012-13. They managed to score 6.5 fewer points per 100 possessions and allow three more when he played, according to Basketball-Reference

    If the Texas product does have a grip on the backup role, it's tenuous at best. 

Utah Jazz

30 of 31

    PG: Trey Burke, John Lucas III

    SG: Alec Burks, Brandon Rush, Ian Clark

    SF: Gordon Hayward, Marvin Williams*, Richard Jefferson

    PF: Derrick Favors, Jeremy Evans

    C: Enes Kanter, Andris Biedrins, Rudy Gobert


    Key Additions: Trey Burke, Brandon Rush

    The Utah Jazz added a lot of new faces, but not all of them are going to be key additions. I'm looking at you, John Lucas III, Ian Clark, Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Rudy Gobert (who is too raw to even make the active roster at the start of the season).

    Of the many changes, the only two truly significant ones come at guard spots. 

    Trey Burke was the top draft pick, and he's immediately going to be viewed as the franchise point guard. The starting role should be his from day one, especially with only JL3 backing him up. 

    Back at Michigan, the world was Burke's oyster. He was a dynamic floor general who reminded quite a few people of standout point guards like Chris Paul. But summer league was a culture shock for the former Wolverine, and his whole rookie season will be full of adjustments. 

    The other key addition was Brandon Rush. Acquired from the Golden State Warriors for salary-cap reasons, the Kansas product will resume his professional career after missing the vast majority of the 2012-13 season with a torn ACL. 

    Rush still has potential to become a solid three-and-D player, so keep your eye on him even if he doesn't play at the true position to watch. 


    Position to Watch: Point guard

    It's all about Burke. 

    I'm expecting the talented point guard to compete for Rookie of the Year, and he's the most intriguing player on the entire roster. As exciting as it will be to see Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter in the starting lineup, their potential is fairly established at this point. 

    Burke is still the unknown commodity. But that's not the only reason to keep an eye on the point guards. 

    What happens if the rookie goes down? What if he struggles immensely and needs a smaller role while he regains his confidence? 

    The Jazz don't have another option. Lucas III is not a starting-caliber point guard, and he's literally the only other floor general on the roster. 

    If he's forced into a big role, Utah will have to look outside for help at the 1. 

Washington Wizards

31 of 31

    PG: John Wall, Eric Maynor, Garrett Temple

    SG: Bradley Beal, Martell Webster

    SF: Otto Porter, Trevor Ariza, Glen Rice Jr. 

    PF: Nene*, Trevor Booker, Al Harrington, Jan Vesely

    C: Emeka Okafor*, Kevin Seraphin


    Key Additions: Eric Maynor, Otto Porter

    The Washington Wizards are another one of those teams largely relying on internal improvement in the quest for a postseason berth. And they should be quite competitive for one of the final spots in the Eastern Conference now that John Wall is poised to be healthy for a full season. 

    That said, there were still two key additions. 

    Eric Maynor will be a steady veteran presence at point guard. As long as his shot falls occasionally, he brings enough to the table that he can capably run the show while Wall catches his breath on the bench. 

    The bigger addition is Otto Porter, the No. 3 pick in the 2013 NBA draft. 

    Coming out of Georgetown, Porter is a versatile and NBA-ready small forward who should immediately make an impact on both ends of the court. His awkward-looking jumper works quite well from mid-range, and his lanky arms help make him a solid defender both on the interior and perimeter. 

    Porter may be a rookie, but he's the player who determines how far this team goes.  


    Position to Watch: Small forward

    That last sentence is one of the major reasons that small forward is the position to watch, but it's by no means the only one. 

    Glen Rice Jr. comes into play as well, as he'll be competing with Trevor Ariza throughout the season for the backup spot. Can you imagine an Eastern Conference playoff contender rolling out two rookies as the No. 1 and 2 players at small forward? 

    It would be inconceivable in the West, but it may be just crazy enough to work in the weaker of the two conferences.

    Throw in a little bit of three-point magic from Martell Webster, who will inevitably line up at the 3 in some smaller lineups. Now it's pretty clear why this is the position to watch for the Wiz Kids.  

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