NBA training camp began on Tuesday and the regular season is just around the corner.

Once preseason play begins Friday, plenty of rookies will be set loose so they can show what they can do before rotations are narrowed.

Each year first-year players exceed the expectations set for them, so we have put together a shortlist of who you should look out for.

Here are five under-the-radar rookies you should keep an eye on:

 

Chris Clemons, Guard, Rockets 

There is no guarantee Chris Clemons will make the Houston Rockets' roster, but we have a good feeling he will be in the mix this season.

The Campbell product led the nation in scoring in 2018-19, averaging 30.1 points and ended his college career as the third-highest scorer ever in NCAA Division I men's basketball history.

Although Clemons is 5-9, he has above-average athleticism and a willingness to fire the long ball while making them at an efficient clip, which makes him perfect for Houston.

He made five three-pointers and scored 21 points in 18 minutes in the fourth quarter of the Rockets' exhibition win against the Shanghai Sharks on Monday.

Houston's analytics-driven offense will always have room for snipers who make the most of open space.

Brandon Clarke, Forward, Grizzlies 

Brandon Clarke had plenty of critics leading up to the 2019 NBA Draft, but the undersized forward answered a lot of questions during summer league play.

Clarke helped lead the Memphis Grizzlies to an NBA Summer League title in July and was awarded MVP honours twice in Las Vegas.

At 6-8, he is not the most physically imposing power forward. However, his athleticism, natural defensive instincts, high motor, efficient finishing around the basket, and dedication to improving as a perimeter shooter will make it hard to keep him off the floor.

Most eyes will be on 2019's second overall pick Ja Morant and second-year forward Jaren Jackson, and that will give Clarke an opportunity to continue exceeding expectations.

Carsen Edwards, Guard, Celtics

If there is one thing that stands out about Carsen Edwards, it is his ability to fill it up on difficult shot attempts.

Although he will be backing up an All-NBA talent in Kemba Walker, Edwards should have ample opportunity to run the offense with the Boston Celtics. Especially since Marcus Smart is not much of an on-ball guard.

Edwards' quick release and seemingly unlimited shooting range helped him average 24.3 points at Purdue last year and 34.8 points in the NCAA tournament.

He is one guy who will not hesitate to shoot his shot and establish a role for himself early.

Bruno Fernando, Center, Hawks

Bruno Fernando slipped through the cracks after originally being considered a lottery prospect in 2019, but he still has plenty of promise.

He is a capable two-way player who averaged 13.6 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks last season at Maryland and will compete to back up Alex Len down low.

Fernando's large frame, athleticism and potential to affect games as a post passer could make him valuable on a team with plenty of young talent that will attract more attention.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Guard, Pelicans

Nickeil Alexander-Walker will certainly benefit from the New Orleans Pelicans' versatility at the guard spots.

Much like Lonzo Ball and Jrue Holiday, who will likely form one of the NBA's best defensive backcourts in 2019-20, Alexander-Walker can play on or off the ball.

Although he is 6-5 his 6-9 wingspan only adds to the great length of the Pelicans' ball handlers. 

The Canadian's aggressive driving and craftiness around the rim are complemented by the developing shot creation skills he showcased in the summer league.

New Orleans' combination of young, athletic finishers and a sharpshooter in JJ Redick have set the table for Alexander-Walker to thrive in a reserve role.

NBA veteran Dwight Howard would be open to playing for the Los Angeles Lakers or the Los Angeles Clippers.

Howard played just nine games for the Washington Wizards last season because of a back injury that required surgery before he was sent to the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies are likely to waive Howard – an eight-time All-Star – if they cannot find a reasonable trade for the 33-year-old center.

If Howard becomes a free agent this offseason and gets to choose where he plays next, he would consider a return to Los Angeles, where he represented the Lakers in 2012-13.

"I don't know what's going to happen, but I do love L.A.," Howard told the Los Angeles Times. "Staples Center is going to be rocking this season. When I played there it was rocking every night.

"The atmosphere is crazy, not just for the Lakers but the Clippers too. I just think all the hard work they've put in is paying off now. They've always been viewed as the Lakers' little brother, but they decided to stand out and be different and you have to thank guys like Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul for laying the foundation for this team, and then what Doc [Rivers] has done has been great. This is just all that hard work paying off."

Howard played for the Lakers for one season in 2012-13, hoping to form a super team with aging stars Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant. That roster was underwhelming, though, finishing seventh in the Western Conference. They were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs and Los Angeles have not made the postseason since.

After parting ways with the Lakers, Howard played for the Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets and Wizards. And the league has changed a lot since he last lived in Los Angeles.

The Lakers signed LeBron James in free agency last offseason and pulled off a blockbuster deal to acquire Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans this month. They also brought in Danny Green, DeMarcus Cousins and some highly-regarded role players.

Although the Lakers did not make the playoffs last season, their new personnel make them one of the favourites to win the championship in 2019-20.

Then there is the Clippers, who signed 2019 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and managed to convince the Oklahoma City Thunder to trade Paul George – spring boarding them into the championship conversation.

Howard still thinks highly of the Lakers, despite his short stint with the team.

"It just wasn't the right fit for me at the time," Howard said of his first season in Los Angeles. "But the Lakers have been doing something right for a long time because they have the most fans in the world and the most championships over the past 40 years. You're not going to win a championship every year, but they're back and will compete for a championship next season."

The Golden State Warriors dealt Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday, but they plan to retire his number nine jersey.

Iguodala was integral to the Warriors winning their first NBA championship in 40 years in 2015 and was named the NBA Finals MVP.

He was due to earn $17million next season and his departure is understood to be down to Golden State needing to generate cap space after reportedly signing D'Angelo Russell to a four-year, $117m max contract.

Despite trading Iguodala for Julian Washburn and a future first-round draft pick, the Warriors will honour his impact on the franchise by retiring his number.

"As we look back six years [after signing Iguodala], we actually underestimated what his value would be to our team, both on the court and in the locker room," Warriors co-chairman and CEO Joe Lacob said in a statement.

"In what has been well documented, Andre sacrificed for the betterment of our team and, in one of the best stories of this journey, earned NBA Finals MVP honours in 2015.

"He has been absolutely vital to our success during five consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals and three championships. We thank Andre for all of his contributions and look forward to seeing his number in the rafters at Chase Center." 

Iguodala averaged 7.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.1 steals in 413 regular-season appearances for the Warriors.

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