Louis Williams, 6'2", Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers made headlines this summer by dishing out a huge contract to Elton Brand, and then they took care of athletic swingman Andre Iguodala. But the biggest move they made this offseason was giving a five-year deal to their 6'2" guard with a knack for scoring.
Entering his fourth season, Williams knows that he is the future of the Sixers backcourt and has shown flashes of brilliance, scoring 27 in his last preseason outing against the Celtics. Williams is poised for a breakout season—and with a long-term contract in place, he’s ready to prove his worth in Philly.
Wilson Chandler, 6'7", New York Knicks
The Knicks made room for Chandler this summer by trading away Renaldo Balkman to the Nuggets. After a solid rookie showing, averaging 7.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game, Chandler looks to flourish under D’Antoni’s run-and-gun style of basketball.
The athletic swingman can score in bunches and torched the summer league for the Knicks. Keep an eye on him through the season, because he is sure to make a few highlight reels as he tries to make a name for himself in the Big Apple.
Kevin Martin, 6'7", Sacramento Kings
Yes I know, Martin has already begun to make a name for himself over the past two seasons—but now that he’s out of the ball-dominating shadow of Ron Artest this is officially his team now.
Reggie Theus is going to run the offense through Martin this season—and it’s about time. This kid has got an insane knack for putting the ball in the hoop. He has one of the best jumpers in the league. and moves well without the ball—reminiscent of Reggie Miller.
Barring injury, look for the wiry guard to up his averages and make an All-Star push as the young Kings begin to get this thing rolling.
Raymond Felton, 6'3", Charlotte Bobcats
Felton has been solid since coming to Charlotte, but that wasn’t enough to keep the Bobcats from drafting point guard D.J. Augustin in this summer’s draft. He will be the team’s starter this year and I expect him to do well under new coach Larry Brown, who is known for developing point guards.
Felton also can become a restricted free agent this summer, and would like to prove that he’s worthy of a starter’s salary, so expect a good year out of him.
Jordan Farmar, 6'2", Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have Jordan Farmar, Derek Fisher, Sun Yue, Sasha Vujacic all competing for minutes at the point, but Farmar is the most athletic out of the four. He is a hard worker who has developed under Phil Jackson’s triangle offense, and he has improved the range on his jump shot.
If Farmar can become more consistent this season, he could have an important in keeping this team together for a championship run.
Mickael Pietrus, 6'6", Orlando Magic
The Magic have been trying to pry Pietrus away from Golden State for a few years, and jumped at the chance to land him this summer. He has a nice skill set for a shooting guard—which Orlando has sorely lacked the past couple seasons.
He has good range on his jumper, plays hard defense, and has always had respectable numbers despite inconsistent playing time with the Warriors. This is the chance that Pietrus has been looking for—and he should be a great fit for the Magic this year.
Rudy Fernandez, 6'6", Portland TrailBlazers
If you watched the gold-medal game from Beijing this summer, you may have noticed a certain 6'6" guard shredding the USA defense throughout the second half. Spanish guard Rudy Fernandez scored 18 points and posterized Dwight Howard while helping the Spaniards keep pace, showing what he can do when he settles into his comfort zone.
He started off strong this preseason but has been injured as of late. If he can emerge from the glut of wing players in Portland—and he should—then watch out for this guy because he is something special.