Best 1st year Depth Chart battle: Jason Thompson vs Demarcus Cousins
Just how much playing time are Wall, Cousins, Patterson, Bledsoe, and Orton looking at? Lucky for you I researched this a little. For each guy, I listed guys who play the same position that are currently on that teams roster:
JOHN WALL (Point Guard, Washington Wizards)
Gilbert Arenas (7 seasons with Wizards, 4 years remaining on contract)
Last season: 32 games/32 starts, 22.6 ppg, 7.6 apg (suspended for 50 games)
Earl Boykins (1 season with Wizards, not under contract)
Last season: 67 games/1 start, 6.6 ppg, 2.6 apg
Shaun Livingston (1 season with Wizards, not under contract)
Last season: 26 games/18 starts, 9.2 ppg, 4.4 apg
Outlook: Wall is 100% the starting point guard on the Wizards from Day 1. Gilbert Arenas is going to be moved to shooting guard, and with the addition of Kirk Hinirch through a trade, the Wizards have 3 guards who they can rotate between the 2 guard spots. But Wall is certain to run the point from the get go. Boykins, Livingston, and Javaris Crittendon (the other gun toting Wizard) are all going to be let go this off-season.
DEMARCUS COUSINS (Center, Sacramento Kings)
Jason Thompson (2 seasons with Kings, remains under contract)
Last season: 75 games/58 starts, 12.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg
Samuel Dalembert (0 seasons with Kings, recently traded to Sacramento)
Last season: 82 games/80 starts, 8.1 ppg, 9.6 rpg
Outlook: Cousins is not automatically the starter for the Kings at the 5 spot. Jason Thompson was the team’s lottery pick just 2 years ago, and has been a very solid player. Cousins will have to EARN his spot over Thompson. Dalembert was recently brought in and, and it seems to me, to be a consistent backup. Basically, we should know pretty quickly how things are going for Cousins in Sacramento. If Thompson beats him out for starting spots early in the season, red flags may be raised about Cousins impact for the team. Although I fully expect Cousins to be able to beat out a 12 ppg guy.
PATRICK PATTERSON (Power Forward, Houston Rockets)
Chuck Hayes (5 seasons with Rockets, 1 year remaining on contract)
Last season: 82 games/82 starts, 4.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg
Jared Jeffries (1 season with Rockets, 1 year remaining on contract)
Last season: 18 games/0 starts, 4.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg
Luis Scola (3 seasons with Rockets, not under contract)
Last season: 82 games/82 starts, 16.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg
Outlook: Scola is likely to be resigned by the Rockets, and if he is, that gives the Rockets 3 options at the power forward position: Patterson, Hayes, and Scola. Jared Jeffries is a non-factor. Hayes played center for Houston this year because of the injury to Yao, but assuming he gets back next season, the battle at the 4-spot should be fierce. I would actually be surprised to see Patterson in the starting lineup immediately, but I would expect him to get alot of minutes. Scola had a wonderful season last year, Hayes has been a rock on the defensive end of the floor, and Patterson is not proven yet. It will be interesting to see if the success of one UK player hurts the minutes of another. But, there is no doubt that Patterson will have to battle hard to get serious minutes for the Rockets.
ERIC BLEDSOE (Shooting Guard, Los Angeles Clippers)
Eric Gordon (2 seasons, with Clippers, 3 years remaining on contract)
Last season: 62 games/60 starts, 16.9 ppg, 3.0 apg
Rasual Butler (1 season with Clippers, not under contract)
Last season: 82 games/64 starts, 11.9 ppg, 1.4 apg
Outlook: For the sake of this discussion, I am going to list Eric as a shooting guard. He very well may end up playing the point for the Clippers, but most places I saw him listed before the draft had him as shooting guard. If the Clippers resign Butler, then Bledsoe could find himself 3rd on the depth chart. Eric Gordon has the starting spot locked up, so if you are Bledsoe, your goal should be to try and become the permanent backup to Gordon. It is certainly possible, because even if they resign Butler, Bledsoe could beat him out. But, as has been mentioned alot, not only are the Clippers a bad franchise, but they are also loaded with quality guards. Could be a bad team for Bledsoe.
DANIEL ORTON (Center, Orlando Magic)
Dwight Howard (6 seasons with Magic, 3 years remaining on contract)
Last season: 82 games/82 starts, 18.3 ppg, 13.2 rpg
Marcin Gortat (3 seasons with Magic, 4 seasons remaining on contract)
Last season: 81 games/0 starts, 3.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg
Outlook: Orton is 3rd on the depth chart and will probably stay there throughout the season. But frankly, the Magic drafted him as a project and thats just what he will be. We are probably looking at 5 minutes a game for Orton, and reports that he is really improving from the team. But, he does get daily work against Dwight Howard and with Patrick Ewing, so this really isn’t the worst spot for him. He is now rich, playing on a great team, and getting to work with two Hall of Famers. I think Orton will take that.