NBA Depth-Chart Projections for All 30 Teams Going into 2014-15 Season

Josh Martin@@JoshMartinNBANBA Lead WriterOctober 20, 2014

NBA Depth-Chart Projections for All 30 Teams Going into 2014-15 Season

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    Associated Press

    Just because the results don't count in the standings, the NBA preseason is far from pointless or meaningless. There are still plenty of roster spots for players to fight over and position battles to be won.

    And while the games may be phony, the league's stars and scrubs alike are dropping like flies for real. Just ask Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal and Victor Oladipo who are among the injured. Or ask any of the fringe types who've either been cut from training camp or left of their own volition.

    Truth be told, most hoops heads are simply counting down the days until they can actually put stock in what they're seeing. For now, the best anyone can do is put forth educated guesses when it comes to projecting starting lineups and rotations from team to team.

    Which, as it happens, is exactly what we're about to do here.

    Note: Asterisks denotes players who are expected to miss the start of the 2014-15 season due to injury and/or suspension.

Atlanta Hawks

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    USA TODAY Sports

    PG: Jeff Teague, Dennis Schroder, Shelvin Mack

    SG: Kyle Korver, John Jenkins, Kent Bazemore, Jarell Eddie

    SF: DeMarre Carroll, Thabo Sefolosha

    PF: Paul Millsap, Mike Scott, Adreian Payne

    C: Al Horford, Pero Antic, Elton Brand, Mike Muscala

    Key Additions: Kent Bazemore, Adreian Payne, Thabo Sefolosha

    Sefolosha's been productive on the wing through his first three games as a Hawk, averaging 8.3 points and six rebounds. Payne has played only sparingly thus far, while Bazemore remains on the mend from offseason foot surgery.

    Position to Watch: Center

    The wait is officially over. Horford is back.

    Well, not all the way back, but he is playing now. The All-Star center returned to active on-court duty with 11 minutes against the Miami Heat and he followed that up with a 16-minute stint opposite the Chicago Bulls' imposing front line.

    The results weren't exactly newsworthy. Horford totaled all of six points, seven rebounds and four assists between those two games. But the fact that he was out there for the first time since late last December, when he suffered his second pectoral injury in three seasons, means plenty for the Hawks. With Horford back, they should have their sights set on much more than just the eighth seed in the East.

Boston Celtics

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    USA TODAY Sports

    PG: Rajon Rondo*, Marcus Smart, Phil Pressey, Will Bynum, Tim Frazier

    SG: Avery Bradley, Marcus Thornton, James Young*, Rodney McGruder

    SF: Jeff Green, Evan Turner, Gerald Wallace

    PF: Jared Sullinger, Brandon Bass, Dwight Powell, Erik Murphy, Christian Watford

    C: Kelly Olynyk, Tyler Zeller, Vitor Faverani*

    Key Additions: Marcus Smart, Marcus Thornton, Evan Turner, James Young, Tyler Zeller

    Smart's play has been nothing if not sporadic in Rondo's absence, but that's to be expected from a young guard trying to find his way in the NBA. The rookie out of Oklahoma State averaged 7.6 points, 4.6 assists and 3.6 turnovers over his first five games as a pro before being held scoreless (albeit with six assists and four turnovers) in 28 minutes against the Philadelphia 76ers.

    Evan Turner, on the other hand, seems to be settling back into his role as "productive player on a bad team" just fine. He's scored in double figures four times in his first five outings, including two games with eight or more free-throw attempts. Turner also tacked on 10 assists opposite his former team in Philly, but gave the ball away nearly as many times (eight turnovers).

    Position to Watch: Point guard

    Rondo remains on the mend from surgery on his left hand, though it may not be long before he's ready to roll. According to The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn, Rondo was recently seen dribbling with the hand in question and could be cleared for contact within the week. The sooner Rondo returns, the better for the Celtics—be it for their own chances of winning or their trade talks with other teams going forward.

Brooklyn Nets

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    PG: Deron Williams, Jarrett Jack, Marquis Teague, Jorge Gutierrez

    SG: Joe Johnson, Alan Anderson, Markel Brown

    SF: Bojan Bogdanovic, Andrei Kirilenko, Sergey Karasev

    PF: Kevin Garnett, Mirza Teletovic, Cory Jefferson, Willie Reed

    C: Brook Lopez, Mason Plumlee, Jerome Jordan

    Key Additions: Bojan Bogdanovic, Jarrett Jack, Sergey Karasev

    Bogdanovic appears to have snagged the starting spot vacated by Paul Pierce this past summer. The Croatian rookie was head coach Lionel Hollins' first-choice small forward in each of the team's initial three preseason outings. Karasev, who came to Brooklyn by way of a three-team trade, could get some minutes behind Bogdanovic and fellow Russian Kirilenko.

    As for Jack, he'll be a valuable addition to the Nets' bench if Williams' ankles hold up. Jack chipped in 10 points per game during Brooklyn's two-game sweep of the Sacramento Kings in China.

    Position to Watch: Small forward

    As mentioned above, Bogdanovic appears to have sewn up the Nets' starting spot at small forward. As the New York Post's Tim Bontemps wrote, Bogdanovic's starter status is due as much to his three-point proficiency as to the competition:

    It will take Bogdanovic some time to get used to the NBA 3-point line, which is deeper than Europe’s, but the Nets are invested in him doing well. And with Alan Anderson spending the last week sidelined with an abdominal injury and Andrei Kirilenko better off as a utility option off the bench, Bogdanovic seems ticketed to be in the starting lineup on Oct. 29 in Boston.

    Since the Nets' other four starting spots are already occupied by well-paid All-Stars, Bogdanovic's place at the 3 will likely be the only one that's remotely vulnerable.

Charlotte Hornets

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    PG: Kemba Walker, Brian Roberts, Gary Neal, Jannero Pargo, Justin Cobbs

    SG: Lance Stephenson, P.J. Hairston

    SF: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Gerald Henderson, Jeff Taylor*

    PF: Marvin Williams, Jason Maxiell, Noah Vonleh

    C: Al Jefferson, Cody Zeller, Bismack Biyombo, Brian Qvale

    Key Additions: P.J. Hairston, Brian Roberts, Lance Stephenson, Noah Vonleh, Marvin Williams

    Stephenson and Williams have been slotted as starters in Charlotte from the get-go. Stephenson, though, recently joined Vonleh, Walker and Henderson on the training table with a groin strain, per The Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell

    Those injuries have afforded more opportunities for Hairston and Roberts to peddle their respective wares. Roberts chipped in 10 points (and no assists) as a starter against the Detroit Pistons, while Hairston has come out firing from three-point range (7-of-16). Those two could turn out to be valuable contributors off the Hornets' surprisingly versatile bench.

    Position to Watch: Small forward

    Kidd-Gilchrist might've had some competition on the wing if not for Henderson's hamstring strain. Even so, MKG has some work to do before he can comfortably settle in as Charlotte's starter at small forward. He averaged right around nine points and seven rebounds through his first four games—solid production, to be sure, but still far from what the Hornets would otherwise want out of the former No. 2 overall pick.

    Then again, if Kidd-Gilchrist can continue to be a lockdown defender on the perimeter and flash his improved jumper from time to time, he just might cement his status as a solid-enough contributor to the Hornets' cause to fend off Henderson.

Chicago Bulls

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    PG: Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, Aaron Brooks

    SG: Jimmy Butler, Tony Snell, E'Twaun Moore

    SF: Mike Dunleavy, Doug McDermott

    PF: Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic

    C: Joakim Noah, Cameron Bairstow, Nazr Mohammed

    Key Additions: Aaron Brooks, Pau Gasol, Doug McDermott, Nikola Mirotic

    Gasol has already shown off some of his signature skill next to Joakim Noah as a starter in Chicago. The slender Spaniard dropped five dimes against the Detroit Pistons and put up 20 points and 11 rebounds against the Bucks two nights later. Better yet, he's been a factor on the defensive end, where he averaged three blocks per game through his first four contests.

    The rookies have been pleasantly productive as well. Mirotic posted double-digit scoring efforts against Washington and Denver. McDermott has averaged better than nine points and six rebounds per game.

    As for Brooks, he has all the makings of the latest scoring point guard to find success off the bench under Tom Thibodeau, joining the likes of Nate Robinson, D.J. Augustin, C.J. Watson and Eddie House.

    Position to Watch: Point guard

    Rose clearly still has a ways to go before he can even sniff his former MVP self, but at least he's out there competing in the preseason.

    And it's not as though he hasn't flashed that signature attacking style of his. He's already had games of 15 and 16 points, as well as two outings with six or more free-throw attempts.

    Still, don't count Rose among those who are thrilled with Thibs' tendency to work his starters hard, even in the preseason. "No, I’m numb to it now," Rose said (via the Chicago Sun-Times' Joe Cowley). "I’m used to it. Like [Tuesday], we didn’t even speak about it. We know what we have to do. It’s only one goal, and we can’t let anything get in the way of that goal."

Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Al Behrman/Associated Press

    PG: Kyrie Irving, Matthew Dellavedova, A.J. Price

    SG: Dion Waiters, Joe Harris

    SF: LeBron James, Mike Miller, Shawn Marion, James Jones, Shane Edwards

    PF: Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson

    C: Anderson Varejao, Alex Kirk, Louis Amundson, Brendan Haywood*

    Key Additions: LeBron James, James Jones, Alex Kirk, Kevin Love, Shawn Marion, Mike Miller

    James and Love have both taken things relatively easy in the preseason. The former missed the Cleveland Cavaliers' 106-100 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, while the latter sat out the second game against the Indiana Pacers with a stiff neck.

    Of the three championship-tested veterans, only Marion has played anything approaching significant minutes on a regular basis thus far. Jones didn't play against Indy and Miller might as well not have, with just three minutes to his credit.

    As for Kirk, the seven-foot rookie has shown enough on both ends to carve out a niche as Anderson Varejao's backup at center.

    Position to Watch: Point guard

    Fragile though Varejao may be, the Cavs may ultimately lean more heavily on their depth at point guard than on their reserves in the middle. Irving's been battling a bum ankle this preseason and has hardly ever been a picture of health to begin with. He's missed an average of 16.3 games per campaign due to a variety of injuries since he turned pro in 2011.

    That's all the more reason Cleveland should be pleased with what it's seen from Dellavedova and Price, who scored 14 points apiece against the Pacers.

    Then again, the Cavs can always lean on LeBron to run the offense if/when they're hard up for a playmaker at the point.

Dallas Mavericks

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    PG: Jameer Nelson, Devin Harris, Raymond Felton, Gal Mekel, Yuki Togashi

    SG: Monta Ellis, Ricky Ledo, Doron Lamb

    SF: Chandler Parsons, Richard Jefferson, Jae Crowder, Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Griffin

    PF: Dirk Nowitzki, Brandan Wright, Charlie Villanueva, Ivan Johnson

    C: Tyson Chandler, Greg Smith, Bernard James

    Key Additions: Chandler Parsons, Tyson Chandler, Jameer Nelson, Raymond Felton, Richard Jefferson, Al-Farouq Aminu

    The Mavericks' starting lineup should be replete with new (old) faces in 2014-15. Parsons has been strutting his jack-of-all-trades stuff this preseason, Chandler (i.e. Tyson Chandler) is re-establishing his rightful place in the middle of Rick Carlisle's defense and Nelson has crept ahead of the Mavs' morass at point guard.

    Mild injuries to the two incumbent starters (Nowitzki and Ellis) have opened up opportunities for Jefferson and Aminu to play. Jefferson scored 13 points against both the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Pacers. Aminu, an athletic scrapper by trade, went for 14 points of his own opposite OKC while Dirk rested.

    Position to Watch: Point guard

    Nelson's starting spot in Dallas hardly seems set in stone.

    It's not that Harris and Felton are such stellar competition, but Nelson, at 32, isn't exactly an overwhelming option himself.

    The real intrigue here—for the time being, anyway—is supplied by Yuki Togashi. The 5'7" waterbug out of Japan is in camp with the Dallas Mavericks for now, but he is expected to join the D-League's Texas Legends once the regular season starts.

    "I’d say it’s a long shot at best for him to make [an NBA] roster right now," Mavs general manager Donnie Nelson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Dwain Price. "But it’s an opportunity for him to make his dream come true in reality to play for the Legends and, like so many guys before him, to use this as a springboard to get in the league."

Denver Nuggets

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    PG: Ty Lawson, Nate Robinson, Erick Green

    SG: Arron Afflalo, Randy Foye, Gary Harris, Marcus Williams

    SF: Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Quincy Miller, Alonzo Gee, Jerrelle Benimon

    PF: Kenneth Faried, J.J. Hickson, Darrell Arthur

    C: Timofey Mozgov, JaVale McGee, Jusuf Nurkic

    Key Additions: Arron Afflalo, Gary Harris, Jusuf Nurkic

    Afflalo has been solid in the preseason, hitting double digits in three of his first five games. A veteran of Afflalo's ilk, though, needn't exert himself in October to prove anything.

    Denver's rookies, on the other hand, have opened their fair share of eyes. Harris has chipped in 10 or more points twice, while Nurkic remains among the preseason's leading rebounders at more than nine per game.

    Position to Watch: Small forward

    Contrary to popular belief, the Los Angeles Lakers and Bulls aren't the only teams with recovering stars worth tracking. The Nuggets also have a number of their own guys returning from devastating injuries—most notably Gallinari.

    The Italian swingman tallied 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting in what was his first NBA action in just over a year-and-a-half, and he followed that up with a more modest six points in Chicago.

    Gallo got the night off against Golden State, but the fact that he's back in action should be reason enough for the Nuggets to celebrate. If he can contribute at a level approaching his play pre-ACL injury, Denver could have enough in the tank to compete for a playoff spot out West. Lawson, Faried and Afflalo can do the rest of the heavy lifting.

Detroit Pistons

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    PG: Brandon Jennings, D.J. Augustin, Spencer Dinwiddie

    SG: Jodie Meeks*, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope*, Cartier Martin

    SF: Josh Smith, Caron Butler, Kyle Singler, Luigi Datome

    PF: Greg Monroe, Jonas Jerebko, Tony Mitchell

    C: Andre Drummond, Aaron Gray, Joel Anthony

    Key Additions: D.J. Augustin, Caron Butler, Cartier Martin

    Injuries to Meeks and Caldwell-Pope have thrust Martin to the fore at shooting guard. Martin responded well as he scored 11 points as a starter during Detroit's 104-84 flattening of Charlotte.

    Butler's role has also fluctuated, though not due to the misfortunes of his teammates. Rather, head coach Stan Van Gundy's experimentation with his three talented bigs (Smith, Monroe and Drummond) has left Butler in an unsettled position. Butler's playing time is (and will likely be) dictated by whatever success the Pistons' front line is able to enjoy as a unit.

    Position to Watch: Power forward

    It wasn't so long ago that Monroe seemed destined for a spot on the Pistons' bench as the team's super sub. As Fox Sports Ohio's Sam Amico wrote:

    Early word out of Detroit is big man Greg Monroe will come off the bench. New coach Stan Van Gundy prefers a smaller lineup and may start Andre Drummond and Josh Smith as the Pistons' bigs. Smith started at small forward last season.

    Monroe, though, has started every game since scoring 24 points as a reserve in the Pistons' preseason opener. He even started alongside Drummond and Smith against the Hornets.

    In truth, the issue with the Pistons isn't who starts. It's how Van Gundy divvies up minutes among his bigs. So long as he staggers playing time at power forward between Monroe and Smith, they should both put together productive campaigns in 2014-15—perhaps even with some side-by-side time.

Golden State Warriors

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    Noah Graham/Getty Images

    PG: Stephen Curry, Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa, Nemanja Nedovic, Aaron Craft

    SG: Klay Thompson, Brandon Rush, Justin Holiday, Jason Kapono

    SF: Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala, James Michael McAdoo

    PF: David Lee, Draymond Green, Marreese Speights, Mitchell Watt

    C: Andrew Bogut, Ognjen Kuzmic, Festus Ezeli

    Key Additions: Leandro Barbosa, Shaun Livingston, Brandon Rush

    Livingston's on the mend, though head coach Steve Kerr suggested that the recent signee could still be out once the regular season starts, per Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle

    Steve Kerr said there's a good chance Shaun Livingston (toe) will miss a week or two of the regular season even after a good medical report.

    — Rusty Simmons (@Rusty_SFChron) October 13, 2014

    Until then, Barbosa will continue to back up Curry at the point. The Brazilian guard has held his own so far, averaging 6.3 points per game through his first four. Rush, too, has done well in support of Thompson, though it could be some time before Rush hits his stride as he works his way back from a gruesome leg injury.

    Position to Watch: Small forward

    Kerr's already taken some bold steps since joining the Warriors, not the least of which was his decision to move Iguodala to the bench. Iguodala tipped off life as a reserve with eight assists and no turnovers against the Lakers and he followed that up with a box-score-stuffing four points, four assists, six rebounds, two steals and a block at the Nuggets' expense.

    The move is partly one of necessity for Golden State. With Livingston out of action and Barbosa no longer the blindingly quick athlete he once was, the Warriors could use Iggy's playmaking to shore up their second unit. Barnes' struggles as a reserve last season only add to the sensibility of this switch.

    Then again, Iggy's slated to make nearly $12.3 million in 2014-15 and has started every regular-season and playoff game of his career thus far. To his credit, Iguodala seems to be taking the shift in stride.

    "It doesn’t matter to me who I’m playing with. I think I’m going to make anybody better," Iguodala told the San Francisco Chronicle's Simmons. "When I’m out there playing basketball, it’s just ‘let me do me,’ and everybody is going to benefit. I feel confident that whoever I’m out there with is going to win."

Houston Rockets

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    Layne Murdoch Jr./Getty Images

    PG: Patrick Beverley, Jason Terry, Isaiah Canaan, Ish Smith

    SG: James Harden, Troy Daniels, Nick Johnson 

    SF: Trevor Ariza, Kostas Papanikolaou, Francisco Garcia, Robert Covington

    PF: Terrence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas, Jeff Adrien, Tarik Black, Josh Powell, Akil Mitchell

    C: Dwight Howard, Joey Dorsey, Clint Capela

    Key Additions: Trevor Ariza, Nick Johnson, Kostas Papanikolaou, Jason Terry

    Terry has yet to set foot in a preseason game on account of a nagging hamstring injury. That's afforded Johnson, the most recent Pac-12 Player of the Year, ample opportunity to show what he can do after shining for the Rockets' summer league squad in July.

    The same could be said for fellow rookie Papanikolaou. With Harden nursing a sore hip, Papanikolaou has slithered his way into Kevin McHale's starting five with mixed results. The Greek import's first stint netted him four points on 2-of-10 shooting against the Phoenix Suns. His second turned out much better (13 points on 5-of-8 shooting), though the Rockets lost the game to the New Orleans Pelicans.

    Position to Watch: Small forward

    Ariza shouldn't be terribly concerned about ceding his starting spot at small forward. He's played fairly well so far this month, he's being paid like a starter (four years, $32 million) and he's well-versed in Houston's ways from his first stint with the squad.

    That doesn't mean things won't get interesting on the wing for the Houston Rockets. Papanikolaou could be a factor there in due course. And the Rockets could soon add another familiar face (Chase Budinger) to the mix, per Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.

Indiana Pacers

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    Ron Hoskins/Getty Images

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

    SG: C.J. Miles, Rodney Stuckey

    SF: Solomon Hill, Chris Copeland, Damjan Rudez, Chris Singleton, C.J. Fair, Adonis Thomas

    PF: David West, Luis Scola, Lavoy Allen, Shayne Whittington

    C: Roy Hibbert, Ian Mahinmi, Arinze Onuaku

    Key Additions: C.J. Miles, Damjan Rudez, Rodney Stuckey

    Miles appears to have solidified a starting spot for himself. He featured in each of the Pacers' first three preseason games and he took full advantage of that opportunity to the tune of 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting against the Mavs. Stuckey, on the other hand, has shuttled between the starting five and the bench so far.

    Rudez never figured to crack Frank Vogel's starting five, though the Croatian rookie has garnered close to 20 minutes per game amid the Pacers' search for a Paul George placeholder.

    Position to Watch: Small forward

    Vogel isn't likely to settle on one swingman or another to replace George. Between Hill, Copeland, Rudez, Miles and Stuckey, the Pacers have a plethora of options—albeit questionable ones—to sop up minutes at the wing spots, with Lance Stephenson off to Charlotte and George working his way back from a leg injury.

    Miles may be the one closest to locking down a spot in Indy's starting five, but even he may have to fend off Stuckey and Hill, depending on how the situation at shooting guard shakes out. Either way, don't be surprised if the Pacers reshuffle their wing rotation more than a few times in the weeks (and months) ahead.

Los Angeles Clippers

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    Sam Forencich/Getty Images

    PG: Chris Paul, Jordan Farmar

    SG: J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford, C.J. Wilcox

    SF: Chris Douglas-Roberts, Matt Barnes, Reggie Bullock, Joe Ingles

    PF: Blake Griffin, Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu

    C: DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Hawes, Ekpe Udoh

    Key Additions: Jordan Farmar, Spencer Hawes, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Ekpe Udoh

    The Los Angeles Clippers have high hopes for Hawes, who will be featured in some intriguing frontcourt lineups this season.

    "I’ve got to figure out another way to get him more minutes," head coach Doc Rivers said after a recent practice. "I think we’ve got to get Spencer more with Blake [Griffin] and DJ [DeAndre Jordan], and I don’t think we’ve done a very good job of that."

    They've done a better job of finding minutes for Farmar, who averaged just under nine points through his first three games as Paul's understudy.

    Position to Watch: Small forward

    Douglas-Roberts has gotten some significant run on the wing as well, though his comes more as the result of an honest-to-goodness competition. He, Barnes and Bullock have all garnered starting nods thus far, though none of the three has distinguished himself from the other two.

    Rivers isn't concerned about who starts, but rather that he gets decent production out of his wings. "I don’t really care," Rivers added. "I just care about 48 minutes at the 3 spot."

Los Angeles Lakers

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    PG: Jeremy Lin, Steve Nash, Ronnie Price, Jordan Clarkson, Keith Appling

    SG: Kobe Bryant, Xavier Henry

    SF: Wesley Johnson, Nick Young

    PF: Carlos Boozer, Julius Randle, Ed Davis, Ryan Kelly

    C: Jordan Hill, Robert Sacre

    Key Additions: Carlos Boozer, Jordan Clarkson, Ed Davis, Ronnie Price, Julius Randle

    Boozer is already back to his and-one-celebrating ways, this time with a point-and-flex...even though the Lakers were trailing the Utah Jazz by 21 points at the time. Boozer can flex all he wants without fear of losing his starting spot, considering Randle's rookie struggles thus far.

    Then again, even Randle's shaky play beats that of Clarkson, if only because L.A.'s other rookie has been battling a calf strain. With Clarkson, Nash and Lin all sidelined, Price has stepped in at the point, albeit to middling effect. He tallied more than twice as many turnovers (five) as assists (two) during a 33-point pounding at the hands of the Jazz.

    Position to Watch: Shooting guard

    If there's any reason to watch the lackluster Lakers this year, it's Bryant's comeback. The superstar shooting guard looked more like his old self against Utah, recording 27 points on 23 shots in 28 minutes.

    Bryant's quickness and explosion are still lacking, as one might expect from a 36-year-old coming off Achilles and knee injuries. But the Mamba should be able to get by (and then some) on the strength of a bag of tricks that's as deep as any in the NBA today.

Memphis Grizzlies

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    PG: Mike Conley, Beno Udrih, Nick Calathes*, Kalin Lucas

    SG: Courtney Lee, Tony Allen, Jordan Adams, Patrick Christopher

    SF: Tayshaun Prince, Vince Carter, Quincy Pondexter

    PF: Zach Randolph, Jon Leuer, Jarnell Stokes, Earl Clark

    C: Marc Gasol, Kosta Koufos, Hassan Whiteside

    Key Additions: Jordan Adams, Vince Carter, Jarnell Stokes

    The Memphis Grizzlies got their first glimpse of Carter against the Atlanta Hawks. The eight-time All-Star hit a pair of threes as part of a nine-point night after missing Memphis' first two preseason games while recovering from offseason ankle surgery. If Carter can serve as a reliable outside threat, the Grizzlies shouldn't have too much trouble coping with Mike Miller's departure.

    As for the rookies, they both shined during the Grizzlies' prior game against the Rockets. Adams contributed 11 points, five rebounds and two assists to the cause, while Stokes bullied his way to 12 points and five rebounds of his own.

    Position to Watch: Shooting guard

    Pondexter has garnered three starts at shooting guard in four preseason games so far, including one on account of Lee's thumb and ankle injuries. He's also played alongside Lee and Allen amidst head coach Dave Joerger's lineup experimentation.

    It's not that Pondexter doesn't or won't have a shot at taking over that spot moving forward. The Washington product missed all but 15 games last season on account of a stress fracture. Minutes could be tough for him to come by at small forward, but with Lee's injuries and Allen's poor offensive rapport, Pondexter could be tapped as the sharpshooter the Grizzlies so desperately need in their starting five.

Miami Heat

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    Felipe Dana/Associated Press

    PG: Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers, Shabazz Napier

    SG: Dwyane Wade, Shannon Brown, Andre Dawkins, Tyler Johnson

    SF: Luol Deng, Danny Granger, James Ennis, Shawn Jones

    PF: Udonis Haslem, Josh McRoberts*, Shawne Williams

    C: Chris Bosh, Chris Andersen, Justin Hamilton, Khem Birch

    Key Additions: Luol Deng, Danny Granger, Josh McRoberts

    Deng and Granger have both done their duties in Erik Spoelstra's rotation through the early portion of the preseason, albeit with mixed results. Granger, in particular, has gone just 2-of-15 from the field in the Heat's two overtime losses, including a 1-of-5 flat line against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Rio de Janeiro.

    Any concerns over Deng and Granger, though, pale in comparison to those regarding McRoberts. The journeyman forward is likely to miss the entire preseason and perhaps the start of the regular season after undergoing toe surgery earlier this month.

    The loss of McRoberts may not seem like much to the average fan, but as Bleacher Report's Ethan Skolnick points out, it could be critical to the Heat's ability to proceed successfully without LeBron James.

    Position to Watch: Point guard

    Miami's backcourt situation remains unsettled at the moment. Chalmers has already come off the bench twice, and missed the Heat's meeting with the Hawks while recuperating from a hip injury. Cole hasn't exactly dominated in his stead, with eight points and eight assists between his first two starts.

    Meanwhile, rookie Shabazz Napier threw himself into the conversation with a 16-point, seven-assist showing that helped the Miami Heat force overtime against the Cavs on Oct. 11. He also bolstered his credentials with 12 points and four assists versus Atlanta.

Milwaukee Bucks

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    PG: Brandon Knight, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jerryd Bayless, Nate Wolters, Kendall Marshall

    SG: Khris Middleton, Jared Dudley, O.J. Mayo, Elijah Millsap

    SF: Jabari Parker, Damien Inglis, Chris Wright

    PF: Ersan Ilyasova, John Henson, Michael Eric

    C: Larry Sanders*, Zaza Pachulia, Johnny O'Bryant

    Key Additions: Jabari Parker, Jared Dudley, Johnny O'Bryant, Jerryd Bayless, Kendall Marshall, Damien Inglis

    The injury bug has struck some of the Bucks' newcomers just two weeks into camp. O'Bryant (knee) and Inglis (foot) weren't on hand for Milwaukee's preseason tilt in Cleveland. Dudley was back but didn't start, even though he was the first-stringer at shooting guard in two prior contests.

    As for Parker, he's had little trouble finding his shots in Jason Kidd's offense. The No. 2 pick in the 2014 draft has already put up 52 attempts in four games, with an efficient 7-of-12 showing in Cleveland to his credit.

    Position to Watch: Point guard

    "The Great Giannis Experiment" began in earnest with Antetokounmpo's first start at the point against the Cavs. Granted, the move came about partly as a matter of opportunity. Knight, the team's starting point guard, missed the 106-100 loss with a groin injury.

    And it's not as though Antetokounmpo dominated in Knight's stead. He didn't register a single assist during his 23 minutes in Cleveland.

    Still, if Antetokounmpo's future is to be found at point guard, the Bucks' meeting with the Cavs could serve as an intriguing glimpse therein.

Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Jordan Johnson/Getty Images

    PG: Ricky Rubio, Mo Williams, J.J. Barea

    SG: Andrew Wiggins, Kevin Martin, Zach LaVine, Brady Heslip

    SF: Corey Brewer, Chase Budinger, Shabazz Muhammad, Glenn Robinson III

    PF: Thaddeus Young, Anthony Bennett, Robbie Hummel

    C: Nikola Pekovic, Gorgui Dieng, Ronny Turiaf, Kyrylo Fesenko

    Key Additions: Anthony Bennett, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Mo Williams, Thaddeus Young

    All of the T-Wolves' notable newcomers have had their moments to shine during the preseason.

    Wiggins wound up with 18 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals in his debut. Bennett bullied his way to 13 points and six rebounds in his first game. Young's been a fixture in double figures thus far. And Williams torched the sad-sack 76ers for 19 points, six rebounds and seven assists in the very same game that saw LaVine go off for 15 points.

    It's not that any of this will propel Minnesota beyond the bottom of the Western Conference during the regular season, but at least their fans can look forward to a fun team filled with fresh faces. 

    Position to Watch: Power forward

    Sure, Wiggins may be the youngster most worthy of eyeballs this season, but don't overlook the impact that Young and Bennett could have on the T-Wolves' present and future. Young can enter free agency next summer if he chooses to terminate a deal that will pay him a shade under $10 million in 2015-16.

    That figures to be a tricky calculus for Young, based as much on his performance in Minnesota as on how the league and the players decide to handle the flood of TV money that's due to balloon the salary cap.

    All the while, Bennett—the No. 1 overall pick in 2013—will be battling not only for minutes up front but also to distance himself from his abysmal rookie campaign in Cleveland. Bennett could be a star at the 4 spot in the years to come and may get that opportunity in relatively short order if Young opts to take his talents elsewhere after this season.

New Orleans Pelicans

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    USA TODAY Sports

    PG: Jrue Holiday, Jimmer Fredette, Russ Smith

    SG: Eric Gordon, Austin Rivers

    SF: Tyreke Evans, Luke Babbitt, John Salmons, Darius Miller

    PF: Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson, Patric Young, Kevin Jones

    C: Omer Asik, Alexis Ajinca, Jeff Withey, Vernon Macklin

    Key Additions: Omer Asik, Jimmer Fredette, John Salmons

    Asik seems to be fitting in nicely as New Orleans' starting center. He's turned in a pair of double-digit rebounding efforts and, more importantly, he has freed up Davis to unload his ever-expanding arsenal of talents. Fredette's had himself a productive preseason as well, averaging 12 points per game and knocking down 11 of 20 from three-point range.

    Salmons, meanwhile, appears to have been buried behind Evans and Babbitt on Monty Williams' depth chart.

    Position to Watch: Power forward

    Have you seen what Davis has done recently? The All-Star forward piled up 26 points on 9-of-11 shooting (8-of-10 from the free-throw line) in a flattening of the Rockets and he subsequently scorched OKC for 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting (8-of-8 from the stripe).

    Granted, it's only the preseason. But if Davis' previous two seasons were any indication, he could be in store for another tremendous leap forward in year three of his pro career.

New York Knicks

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    Jessica Hill/Associated Press

    PG: Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin, Pablo Prigioni, Langston Galloway

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

    SF: Carmelo Anthony, Travis Outlaw, Cleanthony Early

    PF: Quincy Acy, Amar'e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, Travis Wear

    C: Samuel Dalembert, Jason Smith, Cole Aldrich

    Key Additions: Quincy Acy, Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Jason Smith

    Acy has emerged as the leading candidate to start at power forward for the Knicks this season. As the New York Post's Marc Berman notes, Acy's ascent is the product of both his own hustle and the plight of his competitors:

    That is a testament to Acy’s defensive fortitude and vibrant playing style that coincides with new coach Derek Fisher’s vision of what he wants out of his starting lineup. It also helps Acy’s cause that Andrea Bargnani’s battling a sore hamstring.

    Per that same report from the Post, Calderon and Dalembert have also sewn up starting spots among head coach Derek Fisher's "Fave Five." Jason Smith should see plenty of time at center behind Dalembert, so long as he avoids injury and keeps hitting mid-range shots. Larkin may be able to say the same if the 37-year-old Prigioni succumbs to the ill effects of middle age at the point.

    Position to Watch: Power forward

    Just because Acy's starting at the 4 now doesn't mean he's an absolute lock to be there later. By all accounts, the New York Knicks love Acy's heart and hustle, but they may not have moved him to the top of the depth chart if not for Bargnani's hamstring injury.

    Stoudemire has been the backup at power forward throughout, despite his best efforts to harness the healing powers of red wine.

Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Layne Murdoch Jr./Getty Images

    PG: Russell Westbrook, Reggie Jackson, Sebastian Telfair

    SG: Andre Roberson, Jeremy Lamb, Anthony Morrow

    SF: Kevin Durant*, Perry Jones

    PF: Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison, Lance Thomas, Talib Zanna, Richard Solomon, Grant Jerrett

    C: Kendrick Perkins, Steven Adams, Mitch McGary*

    Key Additions: Mitch McGary, Anthony Morrow, Lance Thomas

    McGary is one of a handful of injured Thunder players at the moment. Morrow and Thomas have certainly benefited from their absences. 

    Morrow, in particular, has had a hot hand for OKC. He averaged 16.7 points and hit eight of 14 from the three during his first three exhibitions with the Thunder. Thomas hasn't done too shabbily, either, parlaying injuries to Ibaka and Collison into starting experience for himself. 

    Position to Watch: Small forward

    Any effort to fill the cavernous void left behind by Durant in the wake of his foot surgery will have to be done by committee. The first crack at it, though, will go to Jones.

    The Baylor product will be hard-pressed to so much as sniff the reigning MVP's degree of prominence and productivity. But if he can finally pair his obvious basketball talent and physical ability with a greater measure of toughness and determination, OKC might better be able to weather the storm that lies ahead.

Orlando Magic

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    USA TODAY Sports

    PG: Elfrid Payton, Luke Ridnour

    SG: Victor Oladipo*, Evan Fournier, Ben Gordon, Willie Green, Roy Devyn Marble

    SF: Aaron Gordon, Maurice Harkless

    PF: Channing Frye*, Tobias Harris, Kyle O'Quinn

    C: Nikola Vucevic, Andrew Nicholson, Dewayne Dedmon

    Key Additions: Channing Frye, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Ben Gordon, Willie Green, Elfrid Payton

    Frye has yet to suit up for the Magic, on account of a knee injury. However, that could change soon, according to OrlandoMagic.com's John Denton:

    .@OrlandoMagic F @Channing_Frye said he is steadily increasing his workload and that he is back to shooting 3s again. Said knee feels sound.

    — John Denton (@JohnDenton555) October 13, 2014

    With Oladipo also battling a sprained knee, fellow sharpshooter Ben Gordon appears primed to make the most of increased opportunities at the 2-guard spot.

    Gordon told OrlandoMagic.com:

    I think it’s a huge year for me. I never had a year before like last year where I basically didn’t even play. This year is to re-establish myself and who I really am as a player. I want to try to be as consistent as I can be on a daily basis, whether that’s putting in my work in the gym or in games. I want to let my hard work flow and take advantage of this opportunity.

    Position to Watch: Point guard

    Payton seemed destined to start at point guard for the Magic well before Oladipo went down with a knee injury earlier in the preseason. After all, why would Orlando have traded up in the draft to nab Payton if the team didn't think he could handle those duties?

    Of course, there will be growing pains for Payton. There already have been, if his 11 turnovers across his first two starts were any indication.

    But such struggles are commonplace for young guards in the NBA. If nothing else, the Magic no longer need to concern themselves with trying to turn Oladipo, a more natural 2-guard, into a floor general. That's assuming Payton can maintain his place in Jacque Vaughn's lineup.

Philadelphia 76ers

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    Michael Perez/Associated Press

    PG: Michael Carter-Williams*, Tony Wroten Jr., Casper Ware, Pierre Jackson

    SG: Hollis Thompson, K.J. McDaniels, Malcolm Lee, Alexey Shved, Elliot Williams, Jason Richardson

    SF: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Chris Johnson, Ronald Roberts, Jerami Grant

    PF: Nerlens Noel, JaKarr Sampson, Drew Gordon, Arnett Moultrie, Jarvis Varnado

    C: Henry Sims, Brandon Davies, Joel Embiid*

    Key Additions: Joel Embiid, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, K.J. McDaniels

    Embiid's season was bound to be trying, what with his recovery from foot surgery and all, but it recently took a turn toward tragedy with the death of his 14-year-old brother Arthur back in Cameroon.

    Mbah a Moute, who played a part in Embiid's relatively late arrival to basketball, will probably be the only experienced player to garner a spot in Brett Brown's starting lineup. He may well be joined there by McDaniels, a second-round rookie who's performed fairly well so far this preseason. 

    Position to Watch: Power forward

    In light of Carter-Williams' slow recovery from offseason shoulder surgery, Noel has taken over the title of "Lone Sixers Player Who's Actually Worth Watching." He averaged right around nine points, nine rebounds, two assists and two blocks through his first three preseason games and is expected to compete for Rookie of the Year honors once the real action starts in late October.

    Noel would seem a more natural fit at center, given his height, length and shot-blocking ability. But with Embiid waiting in the wings and the Sixers destined to stink, it makes sense for Noel to get comfortable at power forward sooner rather than later.

Phoenix Suns

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    USA TODAY Sports

    PG: Goran Dragic, Isaiah Thomas, Tyler Ennis

    SG: Eric Bledsoe, Gerald Green, Archie Goodwin, Zoran Dragic

    SF: P.J. Tucker, Marcus Morris, T.J. Warren

    PF: Markieff Morris, Anthony Tolliver, Shavlik Randolph

    C: Miles Plumlee, Alex Len, Earl Barron

    Key Additions: Tyler Ennis, Isaiah Thomas, Anthony Tolliver, T.J. Warren

    Ennis and Warren have played sparingly this preseason, which was to be expected. Both are rookies and both happen to be stuck at positions (point guard and small forward, respectively) where the Suns have good depth.

    Thomas and Tolliver, on the other hand, have had no such trouble collecting minutes for themselves. The former has averaged 12.7 points and 5.3 assists off the bench, while the latter has twice been trotted out as a starter, thanks to his threatening three-point shot.

    Position to Watch: Shooting guard

    Phoenix's backcourt is absolutely loaded, with the offseason additions of Thomas and Ennis swelling those ranks. Bledsoe will clearly be the go-to at the 2, after re-signing with the Suns for $70 million over five years, but he could see Green, his primary backup, jettisoned before long, as Grantland's Zach Lowe suggested:

    Green will be a free agent in July, and while he was productive raining 3s for Phoenix last season, he may not have a future here. Trading him would be a gamble, since the Suns don’t have a traditional shooting guard with Green’s range.

    P.J. Tucker is a defense-first small forward, Marcus Morris is a tweener forward, and it’s unclear if Zoran Dragic and Archie Goodwin are ready to contribute.

    Don't be surprised, then, if Green winds up on the trading block—especially if the Suns like what they see from Goodwin and Dragic.

Portland Trail Blazers

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    PG: Damian Lillard, Steve Blake, Darius Morris, Diante Garrett

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

    SF: Nicolas Batum, Dorell Wright, James Southerland

    PF: LaMarcus Aldridge, Thomas Robinson, Victor Claver

    C: Robin Lopez, Chris Kaman, Joel Freeland, Meyers Leonard

    Key Additions: Steve Blake, Chris Kaman

    Early indications are that the Blazers might actually have a bench of which to speak in 2014-15. Blake chipped in seven assists apiece against the Jazz and the Clippers, while Kaman averaged 10 points and 7.3 rebounds through his first three appearances in a Portland uniform.

    Position to Watch: Point guard

    Lillard missed a pair of Portland's preseason games on account of a foot strain before returning against Maccabi Haifa.

    In other foot-related news, the All-Star will soon be the proud owner of his own signature shoe, courtesy of adidas. Not surprisingly, Lillard announced the news in lyrical fashion on #4BarFriday. 

    Rip City fans will be hoping that Lillard's shoes help keep him healthy, as the rest of the team's point guards don't have a the game-changing ability that Dame has.

Sacramento Kings

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    Ng Han Guan/Associated Press

    PG: Darren Collison, Ramon Sessions, Ray McCallum, Deonte Burton

    SG: Ben McLemore, Nik Stauskas, Trey Johnson

    SF: Rudy Gay, Omri Casspi, Alonzo Gee, Scotty Hopson

    PF: Jason Thompson, Derrick Williams, Carl Landry, Eric Moreland

    C: DeMarcus Cousins, Reggie Evans, Ryan Hollins, Sim Bhullar

    Key Additions: Darren Collison, Ramon Sessions, Nik Stauskas

    The Sacramento Kings have to like what they've seen so far from the point guard duo of Collison and Sessions. The former averaged 14 points and put together an assist-to-turnover ratio of 21-to-5 through his first four games. The latter, over that same span, turned in performances of 14 and 18 points.

    Stauskas has shot the ball decently so far, though the rookie seems destined to sit behind McLemore—a 2013 lottery pick—for now.

    Position to Watch: Center

    Sacramento's hopes of snapping an eight-year playoff drought will rest heavily on Cousins' shoulders.

    Good news: Boogie's doing plenty in camp to impress his teammates. Per CSNBayArea.com's Bill Herenda:

    Newly acquired big man Ryan Hollins says that he has never seen or played with a big man as talented as Cousins, who is “right up there” with Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki; his teammates in Boston and Dallas, respectively.

    Bad news: Cousins might already be worn down after a long summer of basketball. "I feel like I’m about 45 years old," he told NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper. If you're the Kings, that's not what you want to hear from your 24-year-old franchise cornerstone—unless he's talking about his mental maturity.

San Antonio Spurs

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    PG: Tony Parker, Cory Joseph, Patty Mills*, Bryce Cotton

    SG: Danny Green, Manu Ginobili, Marco Belinelli

    SF: Kawhi Leonard, Austin Daye, Kyle Anderson, Josh Davis

    PF: Tim Duncan, Matt Bonner, JaMychal Green

    C: Boris Diaw, Tiago Splitter, Aron Baynes, Jeff Ayres

    Key Additions: Kyle Anderson

    Anderson can thank the Spurs' tendency to rest their aging stars for his preseason starts. The 6'9" guard-forward chipped in five points, eight rebounds and a pair of assists in 26 minutes next to Parker and Green during San Antonio's blowout loss to the Suns, with assistant coach Ettore Messina acting in place of the ill Gregg Popovich.

    The game prior, he contributed nine points, two rebounds and two assists in a victory over Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce Ulker.

    Position to Watch: Center

    It's tough to get a read on where the Spurs stand on their situation at center. Splitter has yet to play in the preseason on account of recurring calf troubles.

    That would seem to open the door for Diaw to take over. The frumpy Frenchman, though, had but one start under his ever-expanding belt through San Antonio's first three exhibitions.

    It's not that Diaw is worried about it or anything.

Toronto Raptors

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    PG: Kyle Lowry, Greivis Vasquez, Will Cherry

    SG: Terrence Ross, Lou Williams, Jordan Hamilton

    SF: DeMar DeRozan, Landry Fields, James Johnson, Bruno Caboclo

    PF: Amir Johnson, Patrick Patterson, Tyler Hansbrough

    C: Jonas Valanciunas, Chuck Hayes, Greg Stiemsma, Lucas Nogueira

    Key Additions: Lou Williams, James Johnson, Jordan Hamilton, Bruno Caboclo, Lucas Nogueira

    So far, Williams has done exactly what the Raptors expected him to do: score. The Georgia native averaged 13.4 points off the bench through Toronto's first five exhibitions. Johnson's contributions have come across the board, which happens to fall right in line with what he normally does on the court.

    Pre-preseason expectations have also held true for Caboclo, who, at 19, has played sparingly for head coach Dwane Casey. Fellow Brazilian Nogueira has yet to see a single minute this preseason while recovering from a groin injury.

    The only surprise for the Raptors has been Hamilton, who's played well enough this month to contend for the final spot on Toronto's roster, per the Toronto Sun's Ryan Wolstat.

    Position to Watch: Point guard

    There's no debating that Lowry can, should and will start at point guard for the Raptors. The question is, how often should he play alongside Vasquez, a solid floor general in his own right? If Grantland's Jared Dubin had his way, the Lowry-Vasquez pairing would be the norm during the season:

    In just south of 500 minutes of playing time last season, the Lowry-Vasquez pairing had an offensive rating of 111.1 (the equivalent of the league’s best offense by 1.7 points per 100 possessions) and a defensive rating of 96.2 (better than Indiana’s league-best defense), according to NBA.com.

    They outscored opponents by 14.9 points per 100 possessions, the third-highest mark of any two–point guard lineup that played at least 100 minutes together. In the playoffs, they were even better, outscoring the Nets by 18.6 points per 100 possessions over 125 minutes in their seven-game series.

Utah Jazz

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    PG: Trey Burke, Dante Exum, Toure' Murry, Dee Bost

    SG: Alec Burks, Ian Clark, Dahntay Jones, Toure' Murry

    SF: Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood, Carrick Felix

    PF: Derrick Favors, Trevor Booker, Steve Novak, Jeremy Evans, Brock Motum

    C: Enes Kanter, Rudy Gobert, Jack Cooley

    Key Additions: Trevor Booker, Dante Exum, Rodney Hood, Steve Novak

    Slowly but surely, Exum is starting to look more comfortable with this whole "Being a Teenager AND a Pro" thing. He followed up his four-assist, eight-turnover debacle against the Clippers with a 13-point, six-assist, no-turnover showing against the admittedly awful Lakers.

    Fellow rookie Hood has looked good in place of the injured Burks, scoring a combined 23 points between his first two starts. Booker and Novak will be hard-pressed to make similar jumps themselves, ahead of Favors and Kanter, though their performance thus far has suggested that the Jazz might actually have a half-decent bench to back up their incredibly young starting lineup.

    Position to Watch: Shooting guard

    As hinted at earlier, Burks' absence has opened up more opportunities for rookies Exum and Hood to gain some valuable pro experience. Both project as long-term pieces of Utah's rebuilding puzzle, with Exum—the No. 5 in the 2014 draft—as a potential jewel in the Jazz's rusted crown.

    Burks could be headed out the door via restricted free agency next summer if his agent and the Jazz don't strike an accord on an extension prior to Halloween. Hence, until Burks returns, Utah could get a good, long look at what it has laying in wait at the 2-guard spot.

Washington Wizards

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    PG: John Wall, Andre Miller, Garrett Temple

    SG: Bradley Beal*, Martell Webster*, Glen Rice Jr., Garrett Temple

    SF: Paul Pierce, Otto Porter Jr., Damion James

    PF: Nene, DeJuan Blair, Drew Gooden

    C: Marcin Gortat, Kris Humphries*, Kevin Seraphin, Melvin Ely

    Key Additions: DeJuan Blair, Kris Humphries, Paul Pierce

    Pierce's statistical contributions have been relatively minute this preseason, though that's hardly shocking for a 37-year-old who surely has to pace himself over the course of what could be a long and fruitful campaign for the Washington Wizards. 

    Blair has done his part to produce behind Washington's formidable front line. The free-agent signee averaged 6.4 points and 6.6 rebounds through his first five contests.

    Humphries, on the other hand, seems likely to miss the start of the regular season after undergoing surgery on his right pinky finger.

    Position to Watch: Shooting guard

    With Beal out until November (or December) with a busted wrist, the Wizards will have to find themselves a passable partner for Wall in the backcourt if they're to hang tough in the East. Rice Jr. got his shot to start, but he has since been sidelined by an ankle injury of his own.

    That's left Temple and Porter Jr. to duke it out at the off-guard spot for the time being. Porter's looked good in the preseason, with four double-digit scoring games to start things off. The Wizards should certainly hope that Porter—the No. 3 pick in 2013—will eventually be good enough to earn a starting spot. That is, once Pierce's contract is up.

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