For most of the rookies who will be lucky enough to find their way onto an NBA roster in the coming weeks and months, their experience with the game of basketball is about to change dramatically.
I’m not talking about the fact that they will be paid huge sums of money to play the game they love or that they will be traveling all over the country for months on end to play ball in different cities.
I’m talking about the transition that 95 percent of the NBA rookies from every class have to make from being the man all their lives to being a role player in the pros.
The five percent of every draft consists of guys like John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Evan Turner who are the cream of the crop and have been drafted by some of the worst teams in the NBA that will be able to feature them right away.
But for everyone else, reality will set in rather quickly that they are no longer their team’s go-to-guy and they will have to fight harder than they’ve ever fought just to get a couple of minutes off the bench.
The life of your average NBA rookie can be tough; you’re trying to adjust to your new life on the road, everyone you know is suddenly asking you for money, and Delonte West wants you to drive two hours out of your way before every home game to get Krispy Kreme donuts for the veterans.
Despite all of these road blocks, there are mid to late round picks every year that make these adjustments and are able to contribute to their team’s success.
The teams that get to draft players like Wall, Cousins, and Turner are generally a few years away from making the playoffs, but this doesn’t mean that some of the later round picks won’t have their shot to make a difference for their respective teams in the post season.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at nine rookies who could help their teams come playoff time.