2010-11 NBA Season: Five Overlooked Rookies for the New Campaign

Andrew TolanCorrespondent IAugust 29, 2010

2010-11 NBA Season: Five Overlooked Rookies for the New Campaign

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    Derrick Caracter - Pick No. 58 of the Los Angeles Lakers
    Derrick Caracter - Pick No. 58 of the Los Angeles LakersJed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    The NBA Draft is very unpredictable.

    The fact that it is only a two-round draft juxtaposed with the ridiculous amounts of rounds in the NFL and MLB Draft leads to this unpredictability.

    Due to the small number of players drafted, fans and the media alike have a general misconception that if a player is not drafted in the top 15, there is something wrong with him. Or that he doesn't have the potential to be a truly valuable NBA prospect.

    In last year's draft alone, however, Ty Lawson, Darren Collison, Omri Caspi, Rodrique Beaubois, Taj Gibson and Dejuan Blair were all drafted outside of the top 15 and had immediate impacts for their respective teams.

    Frequently, players who aren't drafted in the lottery have less expectations and go to more sound franchises where they can be groomed through veteran leadership and have their talents optimally utilized.

    This year's preaseason buzz for rookie discussion will surely center around John Wall, Evan Turner and DeMarcus Cousins.  However, there are many players drafted outside of the lottery in the 2010 NBA Draft who have the potential to make an immediate impact.

    This article will focus on five overlooked rookies who can make an immediate impact for their team in 2010-2011.

Avery Bradley

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    Avery Bradley - No. 19 Pick of the Boston Celtics
    Avery Bradley - No. 19 Pick of the Boston CelticsDave Martin/Getty Images

    Avery Bradley was made the 19th selection in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics.

    Coming out of high school, many recruits had Bradley rated higher than John Wall. Bradley, the top-rated shooting guard out of Findlay Prep, was noted for his impressive and refreshing defensive skill.

    Bradley had an inconsistent year with the University of Texas Longhorns that saw his stock drop as the season progressed.

    UT began losing games, Bradley didn't shoot an incredibly impressive percentage from the field and certainly didn't deliver the awe-inspiring statistics expected out of a top-ranked high-school recruit.

    Consequently, Bradley dropped in draft projections and there were murmurs (hope) around the UT campus that Bradley would return for another season.

    Instead, Bradley declared for the draft and was selected by the Boston Celtics.

    The Celtics are a perfect fit for Bradley. After losing Tony Allen in the offseason, the Celtics lost some of their defensive tenacity at the guard position. With Ray Allen turning 35 this offseason, the Celtics certainly need a viable backup to provide Allen some spell through a regular season that, at this point, has to seem mundane for a veteran like Allen.

    Bradley can defend both guard positions. The Celtics can bring Nate Robinson and Avery Bradley off the bench to provide energy and a different pace to the guard rotation.

    If the Celtics decide to play Rondo and Bradley together, two of the better defensive guards in the league can play alongside eachother creating steals and providing the aging Celtics with much needed fast-break points.

    Bradley can immediately prove as an asset to the Celtics' rotation and add depth to the guard position.

James Anderson

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    James Anderson - No. 20 Pick of the San Antonio Spurs
    James Anderson - No. 20 Pick of the San Antonio SpursJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    What have been the key tenants to the Spurs litany of successful draft picks in the latter portion of rounds?

    A smart player who is either unnoticed or slips in the draft and can fill a key void for the team.

    Insert James Anderson.

    A shooting guard out of Oklahoma State, James Anderson had the misfortune of playing three years of college ball, which seems to lead to the idea that a player doesn't have strong NBA potential.

    Anderson is a flat-out scorer. Every year of his collegiate career he increased his scoring average by at least four points and Anderson left Oklahoma State averaging 22.3 points per game.  

    Anderson was named the Big 12 Player of the Year. Another curse in getting drafted highly for a player that actually stayed in college is getting recognition as the best player in your conference—Brandon Roy and Josh Howard can attest to this.

    With Roger Mason leaving in the offseason, the Spurs have major room at the shooting guard position.  The Spurs love to conserve the minutes for their starters during the regular season with All-Star shooting guard Manu Ginobili only playing more than 30 minutes per game once in the entirety of his career.

    James Anderson should see immediate minutes in the shooting guard/small forward rotation for the Spurs and hopefully add to the lineage of great Spurs' 3-point shooters.

Jordan Crawford

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    Jordan Crawford - No. 27 Pick traded to the Atlanta Hawks
    Jordan Crawford - No. 27 Pick traded to the Atlanta HawksJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    With rumors circulating around Jamal Crawford demanding a trade, Jordan Crawford may pay immediate dividends for the Hawks.

    News came out Friday that Jamal Crawford wants to be traded before the upcoming season if the Hawks do not offer a contract extension to his liking.

    Jordan Crawford, 21-year-old shooting guard out of Xavier, gained national attention for his infamous dunk on LeBron James that mysteriously disappeared.  

    Once video footage did appear and the collective spots nation was disappointed in the faux-posterization, Jordan Crawford seemed to slip back under the radar.

    Jordan Crawford had a very impressive season for Xavier, leading the Atlantic 10 in scoring.  Crawford scored 28 and 27 points in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament to lead Xavier to the Sweet 16 and his impressive ability to shoot and score from anywhere on the court reminded many of Jamal Crawford.

    If Jamal Crawford does end up demanding a trade and leaving the Hawks with the need for an explosive scorer of the bench, Jordan Crawford has the tools to step up and assume that role for the Hawks.

Dexter Pittman

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    Dexter Pittman - No. 32 Pick of the Miami Heat
    Dexter Pittman - No. 32 Pick of the Miami HeatJamie Squire/Getty Images

    The Heat have a lot of centers. Four to be exact.

    Two of them are over 30 and on the decline and the third has a 2.6 points-per-game career average.

    The fourth is a rookie named Dexter Pittman.

    A 22-year-old out of the University of Texas, Dexter Pittman has a lot of upside.

    Unfortunately, he has failed to put it together for more than a few 10-game stretches in college.

    The Heat have shown faith in Pittman signing him to a three-year deal, which is fairly rare for a second-round draft pick.

    With the amount of minutes Magloire is likely to see (not many) and the injury risk associated with 35-year-old Zydrunas Illgauskas, Dexter Pittman could be an integral part of the Heat's championship run this season.

Derrick Caracter

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    Derrick Caracter - No. 58 Pick of the Los Angeles Lakers
    Derrick Caracter - No. 58 Pick of the Los Angeles LakersJed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    After two years at Louisville, Derrick Caracter was a disappointing player who went from being a No. 1 prospect out of high school playing under Rick Pitino to an unknown player at the University of Texas El Paso.

    Caracter had character issues, was overweight and most had lost faith in his NBA chances.

    Caracter acknowledged his character issues and felt the two difficult years at Louisville were a learning process.

    Caracter averaged 14.1 points per game and 8.1 rebounds in his only season for UTEP and led them to an NCAA berth.

    On top of having an impressive season last year at UTEP, Caracter has lost almost thirty pounds in preparation for the NBA season.

    The No. 58 pick in the draft by the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, there were no promises about Caracter making the team.

    With an impressive showing in the summer league, Caracter was singed to a two-year deal by the Lakers and with the loss of Josh Powell and DJ Mbenga, Caracter could see immediate minutes with the Lakers.

    From disappointment with Louisville to a miraculous resurgence that has led him to the Los Angeles Lakers, Derrick Caracter is certainly a player to watch.


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