NBA Training Camp 2014: Notable Positional Battles to Keep an Eye On

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NBA Training Camp 2014: Notable Positional Battles to Keep an Eye On
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Iman Shumpert (left) and J.R. Smith

As NBA players jockey for minutes and roles, some of the league's most contentious position battles at training camp will influence how much the competitors' teams achieve in 2014-15.

The Association may be as star-driven as ever, but we're coming off an NBA Finals where the San Antonio Spurs proved resoundingly that cohesive five-man units can outgun the likes of LeBron James if he and his teammates don't sync properly.

This examination is about completing those units and rounding out rotations to best support the stars, as well as the combative origins from which those lineups can emerge. Or, the battles could swing things the other way, and the option that appears best in September will prove discordant and unproductive when the regular season rolls around.

We're looking at matchups between guys who don't have a role nailed down yet, both because of challengers to it within their own roster and because of their own as-yet-undetermined skill level. Will a burgeoning prospect rise to the occasion at camp and earn more playing time? Or will a veteran maintain his hold despite plateauing or even declining skills?

How the role players and up-and-coming youngsters perform before the season can make or break what happens during it and beyond.

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