WILL BARTON NEWS
Introducing the NBA All-Unknown team
In a league where the spotlight is constantly shining on guys like Stephen Curry and Kobe Bryant, it's easy for a player to get lost in the shadows on a small market team with little national TV exposure.
Unless you're a hardcore fan that follows the league closely, you may have never even heard of these guys. But odds are they won't be flying under the radar for much longer, so we're bringing them out of hiding with our first ever All-Unknown team.
Will Barton, Guard, Denver Nuggets, Drafted 40th overall in 2012
The biggest name on this list, Barton has finally found his fit with the Nuggets after three years with the Portland Trail Blazers. He's started six games in his career and has an average of 14.5 minutes per game, but has made a difference coming off the bench for Denver (13.4 points and 47% shooting in 26.8 minutes).
Clint Capela, Center, Houston Rockets, Drafted 25th overall in 2014
After averaging 7.5 minutes in 12 games played his rookie season, Capela has recently found himself in the starting lineup for the struggling Rockets, and has played well. He may not be well known, but that's likely to change if he continues to produce at a high level (8.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, and 64.2% shooting in 18.9 minutes).
Nemanja Bjelica, Forward, Minnesota Timberwolves, Drafted 35th overall in 2010
Although he was drafted in 2010, the Serbian forward made his NBA debut this season as a 27-year-old rookie after bouncing around in Euroleagues for the past few years. Known as "the other rookie" in Minnesota, Bjelica has been a solid part of the Timberwolves rotation thus far, and looks like he will continue to be just that (7.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 26 minutes).
Nikola Jokic, Center, Denver Nuggets, Drafted 41st overall in 2014
Jokic was one of the top Serbian players during his time playing overseas, earning an MVP award in his league. But unlike his European big man counterpart Kristaps Porzingis, Jokic hasn't received much national attention. However, he has started the past seven games for the Nuggets and may have secured himself a spot in their lineup (7.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 54.5% shooting in 16.9 minutes).
Ian Clark, Guard, Golden State Warriors, Undrafted (2013)
As if making a name for yourself as a guard in a league with the aforementioned Curry wasn't hard enough, Clark has an even tougher task: being a player on the Warriors. Looking at the bright side, if they keep blowing teams out and sitting Curry in the fourth quarter, Clark may be able to get some extra playing time in the best backcourt in basketball (3.9 points, 1.0 assists, 1.1 rebounds, and 52.4% three-point shooting in 6.6 minutes).
AJ Neuharth-Keusch | usatoday.com | December 3, 2015