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Top 10 NBA Rookies to Watch in 2013-14

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Top 10 NBA Rookies to Watch in 2013-14

rookies
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

As we head into the 2013-14 NBA season, fans of most teams are very excited to see what their newly drafted rookies are capable of. After all, the draft is the best way to add young talent to a franchise, and it is highly drafted stars that give the fan bases of downtrodden teams hope for the future.

This year’s draft was a night of surprises, beginning with the Cleveland Cavaliers’ shocking decision to draft Anthony Bennett with the first overall pick. What followed was a night of big trades and surprising picks that made every mock draft look ridiculous.

The 2013 draft class was one that lacked star power at the top, but it was a deep and balanced group and that should provide the league with quality starters and key reserves for years to come. There doesn’t appear to be the next LeBron James or Kevin Durant in this class (you’ll have to wait until next year for that), but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any intriguing players.

The following ten players are the ones who are going to be the most interesting to watch this season. Some are worth watching because of their own talent, while the intrigue surrounding some others is based on their new team and their fit within it.

This list is not a list of who the ten best rookies will be this season, nor is it a prediction of who will have the ten best careers. Injuries, team roster depth and need for development were all taken into consideration, which is why players like Nerlens Noel and others don’t appear here.

Without further ado, here are the top 10 NBA Rookies to Watch this season.

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10. Nate Wolters

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks drafted Nate Wolters in the second round, and he will quickly become a fan favorite. Wolters is very big for the point guard position, and he was arguably the best three point shooter in the draft.

The Bucks have a lot of shooting guards masquerading as point guards, and Wolters is a better passer than most of the Bucks’ roster. He will be a very poor defender, but his offensive skills could earn him major minutes.

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9. Tony Mitchell

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons landed the steal of the draft when they got Tony Mitchell, who is an absolute freak athlete with a world of potential. He needs a lot of work offensively, but he could make an impact as a defender and rebounder off the bench.

Mitchell may struggle to crack Detroit’s deep rotation, but when he does play you can bet the house that there will be several dunks and blocked shots that leave your jaw on the floor.

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8. Dennis Schroder

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Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks drafted the man they call the German Rajon Rondo, and they hope Dennis Schroder will turn out to be that kind of player. By far the fastest player in the draft, Shroder should see big minutes off Atlanta’s bench this season.

Schroder has incredible vision for a 19 year old, and he is also a very good defender. His jumper may be even further along than Rondo’s as well. Schroder will need time to adjust, and he will definitely be turnover prone. However, he will make some highlight reel passes and be a key reserve for the Hawks.

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7. Alex Len

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns chose Alex Len over Noel, and they believe the big Ukrainian has the potential to be a franchise cornerstone in the post. Len is a very skilled scorer who has great touch around the basket and a solid midrange jumper.

He will need to develop defensively, and he certainly needs to get stronger. However, Len could become a Pau Gasol like player for the Suns, and his development this season is crucial for their future. The NBA is always looking for high quality centers, and Len could be the next one.

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6. Michael Carter-Williams

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Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Carter-Williams was one of the most divisive prospects in the draft, but the Philadelphia 76ers thought enough of him to trade Jrue Holiday and draft MCW. At 6’6”, Carter-Williams is huge for a point guard, and he was the best passer in the draft by a mile.

Unfortunately, he has major problems with his jumper, and he will need to learn to play man to man defense after playing exclusively zone at Syracuse. MCW will start for the Sixers, and they hope that he will look like a player who can be their floor general for a long time.

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5. Shabazz Muhammad

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Shabazz Muhammad was a player who was talked about as a potential first overall pick at one time, but he fell to 14th and the Minnesota Timberwolves. However, Muhammad is a wing scorer who gives the Wolves exactly what they need, and he could be huge off the bench for them.

Muhammad can’t pass, but the Wolves won’t ask him to. He is a better defender than he’s given credit for, and his off the court issues are overblown. The Wolves need someone who can fill it up off the bench, and Muhammad is the perfect fit.

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4. Ben McLemore

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings were thrilled when they got Ben McLemore at No. 7, considering many viewed him as the best player in the draft. McLemore is a lethal outside shooter who will immediately start for the Kings.

He has a ton of athleticism, and he has the potential to be a very good defender. McLemore needs a lot of work as a ball handler and especially as a passer, but he should be the Kings’ second option to DeMarcus Cousins. McLemore will need time to round out his game, but he will probably lead all rookies in scoring.

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3. Anthony Bennett

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Bennett was a shock as the first overall pick, but you can see why the Cavaliers made it. Bennett is a poor man’s Carmelo Anthony, capable of scoring easily from anywhere on the floor and playing both forward spots. Bennett has a great handle and good passing abilities for a man his size as well.

Bennett is a very good rebounder, but he may struggle defensively as the Cavs try to figure out whether he should guard the 3 or 4. Bennett will come off the bench in Cleveland to start, but his versatility allows the Cavs to mix and match lineup combinations. Bennett was a good fit for Cleveland, and he has huge upside.

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2. Trey Burke

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Trey Burke to the Utah Jazz was in my opinion the best fit of any team and prospect in the draft. Unfortunately, Burke will miss the first six weeks of the season with a broken finger, but he should be Utah’s starting point guard upon his return.

Burke is very experienced in the pick and roll, and he is a very good passer. Burke is a solid shooter, but he will be a mess defensively. However, his addition means the Jazz now have a very young and very talented starting five that is one of the most intriguing in the NBA.

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1. Victor Oladipo

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Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Victor Oladipo was in my opinion the best player in the draft, and the Orlando Magic were more than happy to make him the new face of their franchise. Oladipo is an incredible athlete who will immediately become a lock down defender and top notch rebounder for his position.

He has a good handle and is unstoppable in transition, but there are still questions about his jumper. People love to compare him to Dwyane Wade, but he needs work offensively to reach that point. Still, Oladipo has an excellent work ethic, and he will put in the necessary hours in the gym. He has the highest ceiling of any player in the draft, and he is the early favorite for Rookie of the Year.

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