New York Knicks rookie shooting guard Landry Fields, who has started nearly every game this season, was selected 39th in last year's NBA draft. He was considered the league's second-best rookie in the first half of the regular season.
Philadelphia 76ers swingman Evan Turner, who has started only 13 games this season, was selected second in last year's NBA draft after being named the Naismith Player of the Year. He currently plays behind Jodie Meeks, selected 41st in the 2009 NBA draft.
NBA teams never know where they will find eventual starters coming out of college. They can be had in the high-quality first round or the crapshoot that is the second round. Players like Donatas Motiejunas may be selected in the lottery but will be stashed on the bench as their bodies and skill sets develop. Meanwhile, upperclassmen coming out of college whose ceilings are a little lower might sneak onto a starting lineup.
Here are 10 players, a mix of elite and slightly under-the-radar prospects, who will crack the starting lineup at some point next season should they all declare for the draft. They are ranked from the least likely to start right away to the most likely to start right away.
1. A completely shameless plug, but check out my top-50 NBA draft Big Board article if you want to learn even more about some of these players.
2. Marty Tirrell, an ESPN Radio host from Iowa, broke via Twitter that Harrison Barnes is coming back to school. If this is the case, I would like to know how he managed to break the news before anyone east of the Mississippi River did.
For now, though, I'm keeping Barnes off draft boards and lists until he says otherwise. He has not officially made a statement yet, but told the Daily Tar Heel that a decision is coming by mid-April.