Landing a starting spot in the NBA is something that’s going to last forever, and even though you may find yourself among the highest ranked prospects, you’re going to need to deliver in order to make it in one of the most ungrateful leagues in competitive sports.
So, whenever a starting spot gets up for grabs, players need to work their butt off in order to become part of the team’s first unit, get starter minutes, maybe a bump in their salary and of course, walk a few steps on their way to stardom.
Fans, the team’s front office, and the coaching staff are constantly ready to move on and players get quickly left behind in a league that won’t wait for anybody, and this upcoming season isn’t going to be the exception.
At the end of the prior campaign, we were already witnessing some interesting fights for the starting gig, and with new faces coming into the league, we’re poised to watch this happen again, so today we’ll let you know about some teammates that will face off to death to take the starting gig.
10. TJ Warren vs. Josh Jackson
Not so long ago, TJ Warren seemed like he was a lock to make it in the Phoenix Suns and his young squad, but he’s failed to take the next step and have a considerable impact on both ends of the court in the desert so far.
So, it’s pretty likely that Josh Jackson gets his spot from the early going, as Jackson is considered to be one of this Draft’s better talents, and his defensive ability will represent a huge boost for a Phoenix Suns team that couldn’t stop anybody the past couple of seasons.
9. Gorgui Dieng vs. Taj Gibson
Gorgui Dieng has been the Minnesota Timberwolves starter alongside Karl-Anthony Towns for quite a time now, even stepping up when the team was in need of a big man after Nikola Pekovic once again fell down with an injury.
Still, he’s going to have to fiercely fight for the spot now with one of Tom Thibodeau’s favorite players: Taj Gibson. Gibson can provide a lot of energy and a bit much on offense, and he’s mastered Thib’s system already, so we’re going to have a nice battle down low here.
8. Tyreke Evans vs. Ben McLemore
Tyreke Evans looked like he was going to be a huge star in the early going, but after some nagging pains and injuries and an offensive game that’s pretty much unidimensional, things didn’t fare quite good for him.
On the other side of the ring, we got Ben McLemore, a youngster that had tons of chances to prove his worth but that didn’t improve on any single aspect of his game, and that’s keen to have a bounce-back season and become the Grizzlies’ starting shooting guard.
7. Bismack Biyombo vs. Nikola Vucevic
Bismack Biyombo arrived to the Orlando Magic the prior campaign and had what we could expect out of him: a subpar campaign with absolutely no offensive contribution and struggling to become the rim protector he was so called to be.
Vucevic’s offensive talent and rebounding ability has never been put to doubt, but he’s a major defensive liability for a team that needs as much help as he can get. Still, losing his starting spot to Biyombo, he’s going to need to impress a lot to go back to getting starting minutes.
6. Thon Maker vs. Greg Monroe
Greg Monroe looked like he was ready to take his career in the right direction and move forward after a very impressive couple of seasons with the Detroit Pistons, but he’s failed to make a significant impact in the Milwaukee Bucks from day one.
Constantly being involved in trade rumors, Monroe’s also going to have to deal with the fact that controversial rookie Thon Maker already took the starting gig with the Bucks, and considering his upside and how much Jason Kidd seems to trust him, he’s going to have to work his butt off to take the job once again.
5. Wesley Matthews vs. Seth Curry
Seth Curry had a breakout year the last season as one of the lone offensive forces in a subpar Dallas Mavericks team that struggled with injuries throughout the entire campaign, proving that even though he may not be half as talented as Steph, he’s a more than a capable shooter that can definitely boost their offense.
Wesley Matthews has really regressed since his Portland Trail Blazers days and he’s not been able to stay healthy for the season, so even though he’s a much better choice than Curry, at least defensively speaking, he may not hold onto his starting job for much.
4. Allen Crabbe vs. DeMarre Carroll
Allen Crabbe was one of Brooklyn’s prime targets during this offseason and after the Portland Trail Blazers decided to match his offer as a restricted free agent, they wind up trading him to the team that originally wanted him the most.
On the other hand, Carroll’s also one of Brooklyn’s new faces and a player that may represent a huge defensive boost for the team, so they’re going to have to decide whether they rather start games with more shooting or defense on the wing.
3. Austin Rivers vs. Lou Williams
With JJ Redick heading to the Philadelphia 76ers, the starting shooting guard spot is up for grabs for the Clippers and considering the fact that Austin Rivers already knows he’s dad system, he’s going to be the frontrunner to start right away.
Nonetheless, there’s absolutely no doubt that Lou Williams is a much more capable choice for a team in need for scoring, but he’s way more used to run the team’s second unit and hog as many shots as he can get.
2. Emmanuel Mudiay vs. Jameer Nelson
Emmanuel Mudiay went from being one of the highest ranked prospects in the world to lose his starting job and become the Denver Nuggets’ third-string point guard, barely seeing playing time at all due to his reckless play with the ball on his hands and his nonexistent shooting.
The Nuggets decided to trust the rock to Jameer Nelson, while Nikola Jokic was the team’s primary ball handler. And considering how much better the team fared in Mudiay’s absence with Nelson and Murray running the team’s offense, Mudiay’s going to find it really tough to go back to the starting unit.
1. Patrick Beverley vs. Milos Teodosic
With Chris Paul also leaving the Los Angeles Clippers, there’s going to be a very interesting face off for the starting point guard gig in Doc River’s squad, with Patrick Beverley being one of the best defenders in the world and a capable ball handler, but with not much to provide on the offensive end.
On the other hand, we get Milos Teodosic, a veteran point guard that’s used to light it up from everywhere on FIBA, but that may lack the explosiveness and not have what it takes to contain opposing players. Both guys are great complements, so let’s wait and see what Rivers decide to do here.