Courtesy of Sporting News (print) and Yahoo! Sports Online, Five Guys About to Make It Big in the NBA for the 2010-2011 season – note the top three – each of themUCLA Bruins.
1. Jrue Holiday(notes), PG, 76ers. He is long and talented and has really only scratched his potential. But the more he played last season, the better he got. The question has always been: How well can he run a team? And if you are going to have him as your one, you want to have a two who can be a playmaker, too. That’s what they have with Evan Turner(notes).
2. Darren Collison(notes), PG, Pacers. When you look at the numbers he put up as a starter when Chris Paul(notes) was hurt, obviously, if he gets big minutes he is going to produce. The one thing that worries me, though, is whether he’ll fit Jim O’Brien’s system. It’s not a traditional offense where the point guard simply creates and racks up assists. That’s what he did in New Orleans, and O’Brien will have to adjust a bit.
3. Kevin Love(notes), PF, Timberwolves. He has gotten better as a rebounder, and he is one of the more versatile power forwards out there. He can shoot it from medium and long range, and he is a tough matchup. He has to get better defensively—if he had been healthy all of last year, he would have made some natural improvements.
4. D.J. Augustin(notes), PG, Bobcats. Someone has to be the point guard. He took some steps backward last year, but that was because Larry Brown really wanted to make Ray Felton into a pretty good point guard. And he did. Now, with Felton gone, he can do the same with Augustin. He can shoot the 3, but he has to do better at playing within Larry’s system and not trying to do too much on his own.
5. J.J. Hickson(notes), PF, Cavaliers. There is a reason everybody wanted this guy at the trading deadline, but the Cavs will be happy they kept him. He is a beast inside and a great athlete. He could eventually block 2.5 to three shots per game. He will be a good rebounder, and although he might not have the smoothest offensive game, he runs the floor very well—and they’re going to be a good transition team.