NBA free agency is all but over, and training camp is still more than a month away. In the interim it’s time to comb over rosters and rotations to see which players might play unexpectedly large roles in the 2014-15 season.
For NBA rookies, securing playing time depends on two things: talent and opportunity. Generally speaking, high lotto picks have both in spades. If they weren’t talented, they wouldn’t be drafted so highly. And if their teams had solid rosters which didn’t provide opportunities for young players to step in immediately, they wouldn’t be drafting at the top of the first round, would they?
For the players outside of about the top 10 picks, cracking the rotation requires a little bit of luck. An unexpected injury, free agent defection or a roster simply weak in a player’s area of strength. Here are five guys who might have the right combination of skill and luck to make their marks earlier rather than later.