3 Potential Sleepers to Keep an Eye on During 2011-12 NBA Season

Karthik TadisinaSenior Writer IJanuary 15, 2012

3 Potential Sleepers to Keep an Eye on During 2011-12 NBA Season

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    So far in this young 2011-12 NBA season, there has been some great play coming from many players across the league. Specifically, great play has been coming from those players who have been under the radar in the past.

    However, three specific individuals have been beneficial to their teams and have taken the league by storm with their play.

    One of the players is a veteran guard in his sixth NBA season, while the other two are rookies who are still getting their feet wet in the league.

    Let’s meet the candidates!

Kyle Lowry, Houston Rockets

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    Lowry has been on a tear since the start of the 2011-12 NBA season, putting up big numbers for Houston. Averaging 16.1 points and 6.8 rebounds to go along with 9.3 assists per game, the sixth-year guard has become an offensive weapon. Kevin Martin and Luis Scola usually share the scoring load, but Lowry has been playing out of this world.

    It will be interesting to see if Lowry can continue his scoring streak, and what will happen to the Rockets in the Western Conference as the regular season rolls along. Head coach Kevin McHale may now be able to monitor Scola’s and Martin’s minutes if Lowry can be counted on to provide a spark to the offense on a consistent basis.

Ivan Johnson, Atlanta Hawks

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    Who exactly is Ivan Johnson?

    Johnson, an undrafted rookie forward from Cal State-San Bernardino, has seen his playing time increase with Al Horford expected to miss the next three to four months with a torn pectoral muscle in his left shoulder. Johnson has exploded on the scene and has been averaging 4.4 points, although he is more of the “energy” guy off the bench.

    Providing much-needed energy off the bench, Johnson could turn out to be a steal for the Hawks in terms of better production, as he may be able to somewhat replace the injured Horford in Atlanta for the time being.

Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    The rookie point guard from Spain has been impressive thus far and Timberwolves fans should be proud. Rubio has shown the ability to control the flow of the game with his court vision and passing prowess. Rubio has been averaging 10.4 points and 4.1 rebounds to go along with 8.0 assists per game and can only get better from here on out.

    Although the scoring has been somewhat inconsistent, Rubio does not have to always score to be effective. Passing the ball has made him successful early on, and playing alongside the consistent Kevin Love has been a blessing.

    Head coach Rick Adelman may also keep Rubio in the starting lineup and his minutes may become steadier for a good portion of the season.

    Turnovers have been an area that Rubio can improve in, but one reason why it could be a little higher than normal is that he is still trying to adapt to the style of the NBA.