11. Anthony Davis Will Be in NBA’s Top 5 in Goaltending + Blocks
Everyone knows that Davis was one of the most prolific shot-blockers college basketball had seen in a long time, averaging over four blocked shots per game. There is no reason to believe that this trend will not continue because Davis simply has a knack for it and has the athleticism, skill and arm length to dominate defensively. But as a young player, he will lack discipline at times and will swat at everything he sees, as Dwight Howard did early in his career. Davis will be in the top five in both categories.
12. Ryan Anderson Will Make Shoot Under 40 Percent From 3
Ryan Anderson won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award last year, as he was a 3-point shooting machine, but also improved inside. But without a Howard–esque player getting consistent double teams down low, Anderson will see far fewer open looks and will force bad shots. His percentage will be under 40 percent for the first since his rookie season, down from 44 percent last year in Orlando.
13. Austin Rivers Will Lead the New Orleans Hornets in Steals
Most people know that Rivers is not strong on defense, but he is quick and very opportunistic and will lead the team at steals at almost two per game. He will give up his fair share of points, but at least he does have a big-time skill on defense.
14. Xavier Henry Will Find Role
This is now Henry’s third season and the former lottery pick has yet to make a difference in the NBA. Being traded after his rookie season in Memphis created a big adjustment as he played for a second team in just two years, but he did next to nothing for the Hornets last year. However, he has a lot of potential on defense with his size and athleticism and he could be a difference maker on that end for the Hornets. He is also a very good shooter and should finally start hitting three pointers consistently. If he can be a plus defender and hit his shots when given the opportunity, he could find a role as a Shane Battier-type of player.
15. Hakim Warrick Will Be Phased Out of Rotation
Warrick came into the league as an explosive athlete, but with little skill and he is still in that same role. He may be one of the more experienced players on the team and will have a role as a combo forward off of the bench, but younger players with more potential, such as Al Farouq Aminu and Darius Miller, will take the majority of his minutes as the season goes on. It is safe to say that Warrick is not in the team’s long-term plans.