NBA: 6 sophomores looking to step up in 2014-15

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Jan 31, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) battles for the ball with Orlando Magic shooting guard Victor Oladipo (5) during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

An NBA player’s rookie year is often a blur of back-to-back games, blown defensive assignments and steep learning curves. Most players good enough to be drafted have almost never not been the star of their team. Playing a role and fitting in with a system not built around them is a huge challenge.

Add to that the heightened level of competition, the length of the season and the constant travel, and most rookies are simply not good NBA players.  This is especially true of a draft class as relatively weak as 2013′s turned out to be, with even Rookie of the Year winner Michael Carter-Williams having a poor shooting season of epic proportions for the not-really-trying-to-win 76ers.

Still, there were more than a few players who have shown the potential to be solid NBA contributors and in some cases even stars. As the 2014 NBA offseason winds down, and team rosters are mostly set, it’s time to start looking at those players being counted on to show some of this improvement in their second seasons. Whether in spurts last season or during 2014 Summer League play, these guys all have something to build upon.

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