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Nets Preview: Eagle on Rookies to Watch

10/16/2012 10:31 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Ian Eagle likens Charlotte's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to a "Swiss army knife."(AP)
When it comes to rookies in the NBA, you never really know who will end up being the “worth the pick,” says Nets play-by-play man Ian Eagle.

“With rookies, it’s all about opportunity, and that’s why more often than not, you see rookies with bad teams getting chances. They’re getting reps, while rookies on better teams are sitting back and learning, biding their time until they get a chance,” Eagle said.

So, in giving us his list of five rookies to watch in 2012-13, Eagle chose five men drafted in the Top 6 this past June – but warned that they’re not the only ones who can succeed, as the Nets’ own MarShon Brooks (who was selected 24th overall in the 2011 draft) proved last year.

No. 1: Anthony Davis, New Orleans:
“Davis was the No. 1 overall pick and they’re building the team around him, and he’s got a skill set that certainly fits in with the pro game. He’ll have to gain weight and some muscle because he’s going to get beat up down low on a nightly basis, but he has a unique talent; he is incredibly long, and he still has guard ability from his high school days.”

No. 2: Damian Lillard, Portland:
“Portland has cleared out the spot for Lillard, and they want him to run the show. He was impressive in the summer league, and while he’s not necessarily a natural point guard, in today’s NBA you can be an effective combo guard playing the point. Lillard appears to be fearless, he can certainly score, and the Blazers want him to grow into an on-court leader.”

No. 3: Bradley Beal, Washington:
“This is clearly a transition phase for the Wizards, and they wanted Beal from Day 1. They believe he can step in right away and shoot the ball at this level. His stroke will carry him for a stretch, and then he’ll have to work on his all-around game, but he’s going to be given every chance to succeed.”

No. 4: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte:
“The Bobcats are basically starting from square one. Kidd-Gilchrist is not the kind of player whose skills stand out on videotape like others, but he is an “all-everything,” fill up a stat sheet, intangibles kind of performer who can do many things. He’s almost like a Swiss Army Knife in that way, and he’ll fit into the roles they need him to fill.”

No. 5: Dion Waiters, Cleveland:
“Waiters probably went higher than most anticipated, but the Cavs think that pairing him with Kyrie Irving in the backcourt sets them up for the next decade. The pick wasn’t so much about pure talent as it was about how he complements Irving, and he could not be in a better situation playing next to a guy who will be a Top 3 point guard when all is said and done.”

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES

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