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NBA Training Camp 2010: Seattle's Young NBA Stars Defining New Roles For Themselves

Seattle may not have a NBA team any longer, but there are plenty of Seattlites - and players with local ties - playing in the NBA this season.

Of course, you already know about Brandon Roy, Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford, and dunk champion Nate Robinson.

But there are a few newer faces from Seattle as well as a few familiar ones changing places that are worth keeping track of as NBA training camps start up.

Avery Bradley, G, Boston Celtics (Bellarmine Prep - Tacoma/University of Texas)

Bradley was drafted #19 in the first round of the NBA draft this past June and Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus projected him as similar to Dejuan Wagner around draft time.

Unfortunately, Bradley's career is already off to a slow start as he is still in the final stages of recovery from ankle surgery.

Report: Avery Bradley Won't Be Ready for Start of Camp - CelticsBlog
Watching Bradley play was going to be one of the highlights of this year's preseason, and he probably would have seen plenty of time, given the limited playing time the veterans on the team will most likely see (unless Doc plans on playing those guys more minutes in an effort to help them all gel faster). Training camp opens Tuesday, the 28th, and the team's first preseason game comes eight days later on October 6 against the Philadelphia 76ers. The preseason concludes on October 20, so there is still a chance we might see Bradley in the latter stages of it.

Jon Brockman, F, Milwaukee Bucks (Snohomish High School/University of Washington)

What Brockman brought to the Sacramento Kings in his rookie season was quite predictable: rebounding, among the statistical abilities that translates best from college to the NBA.

After having a pretty strong rookie season with the Sacramento Kings, Brockman was traded to the Bucks this summer in return for Darnell Jackson and a future second-rounder.

Brockman joins a rather crowded Bucks frontcourt with at least six guys in camp competing to make the team as post players.


Milwaukee Bucks Preview 2010/2011 - Brew Hoop
And though the Bucks lack a true center behind Bogut--hence the recent interest in Erick Dampier--they have exceptional depth virtually everywhere else. Sure, it might be a challenge finding minutes for everybody, but that's the kind of problem Skiles wants to have. Power forward will be particularly tricky, as Gooden is the default starter but will get plenty of competition from Ersan Ilyasova, Mbah a Moute, Sanders, and Jon Brockman. At least one of those guys could be dealt by the trade deadline, and it pains me to admit that Ilyasova and Mbah a Moute are probably the most likely candidates.

The potential advantage that Brockman has is that he is by far the best rebounder (18.7% total rebounding percentage and 18.2 offensive rebounding percentage) of that bunch. Whether that helps him earn minutes remains to be seen.

Spencer Hawes, C, Philadelphia 76ers (Seattle Prep/University of Washington)

Like former Washington and Kings teammate Brockman, Hawes finds himself in a new situation this season after being traded to the 76ers this summer along with Andres Nocioni for Samuel Dalembert.

While the 76ers current depth chart seems to suggest that Hawes is assured of getting minutes in the rotation, the question for him is whether he can earn a starting spot.


Who Will Start at Center for the Sixers? - Liberty Ballers
Hawes biggest strengths are his passing and ability to stretch the floor as a center. His 13.2 AST% last season ranked second amongst centers and just barely behind other elite-passing big men Pau Gasol, KG and Carlos Boozer.

Looking past Hawes jumper and his passing skills he doesn't bring too much to the table. His rebounding is average-to-below average. His efficiency for a big man is below average. And his defense is bad.

Given that the 76ers also made a coaching change this off-season and now have Doug Collins at the helm, Hawes' place in the rotation could depend on the new system they choose to play and how his passing ability fits in.

Quincy Pondexter, G/F, New Orleans Hornets (San Joaquin Memorial - Fresno, CA/University of Washington)

Pondexter might be the more intriguing of the two Seattle-area-connected rookies as a player who had a strong summer league and has more than one New Orleans observer excited.

Quincy Quickly Quality - At The Hive
But focusing on the present: all the tools are there; physically, he's ready for the NBA, and he really has a great feel for the flow of the game. Offensively, Q is a polished player, and defensively, he's certainly one of the better rookies. You never expect success from a 26th overall selection, but for now, let's just say I'm excited.

But like the others on this list, Pondexter will have to fight for minutes in a rather crowded wing rotation and a lot of that will depend on his ability to show that he can shoot from three point range with consistency. Kevin Pelton compared Pondexter to Desmond Mason before the draft and if you accept that comparison then three point shooting could be the difference between being a career journeyman or a solid rotation player.


Martell Webster, G/F, Minnesota Timberwolves (Seattle Prep)

Webster was sent to the T'wolves as part of a draft day trade and a player in whom the team sees some upside in. Thus far, he's competing for a spot somewhere on the perimeter.


Hoopus at Camp - Canis Hoopus
On the wing, Martel Webster spent some time playing both the 2 and 3, Corey Brewer looked to be energized and somehow skinner, and Michael Beasley looked to be in shape and wanting to play the small forward position before leaving the scrimmage with an injured left hand.

After coming off an injured season in 2008-09, Webster's strength continued to be his three point shooting ability, which might be the advantage he has in attempting to get minutes during training camp.

Terrence Williams, G/F, New Jersey Nets (Rainier Beach High School/University of Louisville)

Williams is neither a new face nor in a new place but will be a player to watch as someone who is looking to build on a strong spring performance from last year and could be considered a key piece to the Nets' playoff hopes.


NetsDaily 2010-11 New Jersey Nets Preview - NetsDaily
Williams and Favors both have to take big steps forward for the Nets to make the playoffs. Williams needs to demonstrate that his performance last spring wasn't a fluke and that he is a consistent multi-faceted threat.

Of course, another reason to watch Williams is that a trade for Carmelo Anthony would obviously have an effect across the Nets' rotation and style of play and it will be interesting to see how Williams is affected by that. But coming off the bench is not something he seems to mind.


TWill Ready for Anything... and That Includes Bench Role - NetsDaily
Being a sixth man, a Sixth Man of the Year candidate, that's such a long way down the road," Williams said laughing, before noting, "but to just be considered, that would mean a lot. But being a starter would mean a lot also.