Is not easy being a young player in the NBA, especially if the team’s coaching staff changes or the team’s plans for the season change due to how the team has fared throughout the first passages of the season.
Getting playing time is a major concern for young studs in the league, and most rookies and sophomores only get a handful of minutes during garbage time with their teams either clinging to a huge lead or getting blown out.
So, barring major or several injuries, some young players get relegated to the bottom of the bench and just pile up DNPs, something that obviously takes a toll in their confidence, development and eventually, their careers.
That’s why today, we’re going to let you know about 5 young basketball players that need to get more playing time right now if they don’t want to become busts.
5. Daniel Theis
Daniel Theis came to the league as a pretty much unknown player that has had a lot of success overseas, and the rookie has been extremely productive for the Boston Celtics off the bench this year.
Nonetheless, he’s only getting 14 minutes a night right now and Greg Monroe’s addition may only hurt his playing time, but with the Celtics struggling so mightily in the defensive end of the hardwood right now, he should be used way more than he’s being used right now.
4. Ivica Zubac
Ivica Zubac just proved coach Walton that he definitely needs to be out there, posting a 19 point - 11 rebound double-double vs the Minnesota Timberwolves in just 20 minutes of playing time, and he’s already shown his scoring ability the prior campaign.
Zubac is still pretty rough, but the only way he’s going to get better is playing, and considering the fact that Brook Lopez is no part of the team’s plans for the future, he might as well just get his minutes after the All-Star Break, as he’s just made 18 appearances with averages of 5.2 minutes per game this year.
3. Jahlil Okafor
Jahlil Okafor’s career got off to a very bad start and he’s not even a part of the team that originally drafted him, but he’s still got a bright future ahead of himself alongside D’Angelo Russell as the two franchise players of the sluggish Brooklyn Nets.
Sadly for him, he hasn’t been able to get much playing time due to the poor shape he’s gotten into for all those constant DNPs at Philadelphia. Still, he’s one of the best young talents in the league and he should only get better by now.
2. Willy Hernangomez
Willy Hernangomez finally got the hell out of the New York Knicks, as he looked like a lock to be the team’s starting center this season but completely fell out of the rotation, trying to kick-start his career with the Charlotte Hornets.
Willy was a major stud the prior campaign following the All-Star Break and Joakim Noah’s decline, but he’s only made 26 appearances averaging 9.2 minutes per game this season despite being one of the most promising big men from Europe at age 23.
1. Frank Ntilikina
The New York Knicks are pretty much a disaster and they already seem to be regretting passing on Dennis Smith Jr to draft Frank Ntilikina, the last Phil Jackson decision before finally getting fired from the team after a couple of seasons making a fool of himself.
Still, the Frenchman has shown some pretty interesting things in the defensive end and crafty playmaking but is only getting 20 minutes a night, having to share touches with Jarrett Jack, Trey Burke and now Emmanuel Mudiay, something that doesn’t make absolutely any sense considering he was the 8th Overall Pick.