Soph 20: Who's soaring in Year 2?

Crowder

14. Jae Crowder, Mavericks
When Crowder is making 3s, something he has improved upon since last season, he becomes an integral player for Dallas. But when he isn't making 3s, then it becomes a struggle for him. He is a competitive and hardworking player on the court, but he lacks quickness and ball skills, which becomes more apparent when his shot is not falling.

The good news for Mavs fans is that he gives a great effort at all times and thus becomes helpful in the transition game for the second unit. Dallas likes to play fast, and Crowder helps them accomplish that.

MKG

15. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bobcats
Unfortunately for MKG, it looks as if he'll always be known as the guy Charlotte drafted instead of Andre Drummond. Kidd-Gilchrist is basically an energy guy right now, which is not what you expect from the No. 2 overall pick, who was picked before a franchise-level center (Drummond), an excellent shooting guard (Beal) and a star point guard (Lillard, though Charlotte does have Kemba Walker).

MKG entered the league with little ability to shoot or create shots for himself other than in transition, and that is still an issue. The good news is he is just 20 years old and certainly can get a lot better on offense over time. Plus, he still has All-NBA potential on defense.

Lamb

16. Jeremy Lamb, Thunder
Lamb is exactly what it appeared he would be when he came out of UConn -- a terrific pure shooter who can make catch-and-shoot shots and other shots that come from moving without the ball. His lack of ball skills and his high center of gravity, though, keep him from being more elusive off the dribble and thus keep off the free throw line.

But as a shooter next to Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, he's an excellent fit. The Thunder are even adding some screening actions for him to get him more open jumpers.

Green

17. Draymond Green, Warriors
Green is a good energy player despite lacking quickness and speed. That's because his effort, toughness and basketball IQ score very high.

This season he is making more 3s, adding huge value to what he did for Golden State as a rookie because now he can play alongside the Warriors' other shooters who lack Green's power and benefit from his rougher style of play.

Roberts

18. Brian Roberts, Pelicans
Roberts quietly had an excellent rookie season after starring in Europe and is doing more of the same this season. His role is slightly smaller thanks to Jrue Holiday's arrival, but Roberts is having an even better season shooting 3s, and his assist-to-turnover ratio is better than 4-to-1, which is outstanding.

For a team in the playoff hunt in the loaded West, it helps a great deal to have a role player like Roberts who has experienced the intensity of the pro game for years.

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