Thursday , Nov , 09 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Fresh faces starting to pop up on NBA map

(Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, LeBron James,
Steve Nash and Dwyane Wade are just a few of the superstars that NBA fans
think of when they name the All-Star players in the league.

Fresh faces starting to pop up on NBA map

Some new faces are starting to standout early in the young season, and the interesting thing is that they are all products of the 2005 NBA Draft and none of them were the can’t miss stars. They are showing that they have bright futures and they may become household names sooner rather than later.

Here are some players that are playing like they want to be noticed. They may not become superstars like Bryant, Duncan, Iverson, James, Nash and Wade, but they are starting to make their presence felt and the best is yet to come.

1. ANDREW BYNUM (LOS ANGELES LAKERS) – The 19-year-old Bynum is already the man in the middle for the Lakers. He has proved that he has excellent moves in the low post and can knock down the mid-range jumper.

Originally drafted out of St. Joseph’s High School (10th overall) by the Lakers in the 2005 NBA Draft, Bynum is off to a fast start in the new season. He is tough off the glass and seems to be a solid defender. The seven-foot Bynum gives the Lakers the interior presence that they lacked, and he should be a major factor in helping All-Star Kobe Bryant get the Lakers back into the elite.

2. MONTA ELLIS (GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS) – The strength of the Warriors is their guards. Baron Davis and Jason Richardson makeup up an exciting duo, but Golden State is learning that there is going to have to be some serious minutes available for the 6-3 Ellis.

Ellis, who was picked out of Lanier High School in the second-round (40th overall) of the 2005 draft, has developed quicker than Golden State expected. The 21-year-old Ellis is a scorer and can play both guard spots. He has shown early on that he has excellent range from the outside and is able to create his own shot. The emergence of Ellis could mean that executive vice president of basketball operations Chris Mullin could be looking to find a new home for Davis or Richardson.

3. JARRETT JACK (PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS) – Portland is in the rebuilding mode and head coach Nate McMillan has handed over the responsibility of point guard to Jack. The Trail Blazers are trying to build around their young players and early on the product is looking good and the results have been positive.

The 23-year-old Jack is a solid lead guard. He is giving McMillan a floor leader who can score and find his open teammates for some easy buckets. Jack, who was selected out of Georgia Tech (22nd overall) by Denver in the 2005 draft. His rights were dealt by the Nuggets to Portland. The 6-3 Jack is one of the up-and-coming point guards in the league and has some great games ahead of him.

4. C.J. MILES (UTAH JAZZ) – Nineteen-year-old C.J. Miles is versatile, as he can play small forward or shooting guard. The 6-foot-6 Miles is still raw, but is proving that the more he plays the better his production will be. Miles was drafted No. 34 overall out of Skyline High School by the Jazz.

Utah has a solid frontcourt in Mehmet Okur, Carlos Boozer and Andrei Kirilenko, while Deron Williams is the man at the point. Head coach Jerry Sloan is waiting for someone to take the shooting guard spot and run with it. Miles is starting to make his play and his all-around ability is what could separate him from his competition.

5. RONNY TURIAF (LOS ANGELES LAKERS) – Turiaf had a rough start to his career, as he underwent open-heart surgery during the 2005 summer to repair an enlarged aortic heart. Still, Turiaf, who was grabbed out of Gonzaga with the 37th overall pick by the Lakers, worked hard to come back and has made the Lakers feel very good about their decision to stick with him through some tough times.

Turiaf is proving to be a solid rebounder and a smart player who can score around the basket. The 6-10 Turiaf is earning more minutes because of his solid play early on. Don’t be shocked if the 23-year-old Turiaf breaks into the starting lineup sometime during the campaign.