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Predicting the NBA's Top 100 Players of the 2012-13 Season

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIJanuary 13, 2017

Predicting the NBA's Top 100 Players of the 2012-13 Season

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    The 2012 NBA season is a part of history. The 2012 NBA draft has come and gone. As of midnight, July 1, free agency has become the new focus.

    Forgive me for being a purist, but I'd prefer to put the business aside and focus on the game.

    With superstars aging and young guns hitting their prime, the NBA is undergoing a transition. While we could ask who's next, it's much more fitting to see how the past, present and future match up at this very moment.

    To put that into perspective, here's a projected list of the top 100 players in the post-2012 NBA.

Next Six in

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    Isaiah Thomas, Sacramento Kings

    Isaiah Thomas is a very efficient point guard whose motor will work wonders with that of rookie Thomas Robinson. Expect Thomas to post another good season.

     

    DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors

    DeMar DeRozan took a major step back in 2012. With shooting guard Terrence Ross drafted by the Raptors at eighth overall, will he see the necessary playing time to bounce back?

     

    MarShon Brooks, Brooklyn Nets

    The Brooklyn Nets are setting themselves up for a deep run in the playoffs. This leaves Brooks as a potential sixth man who's yet to fully develop his abilities. Should he stay healthy, he'll crack this list.

     

    Wilson Chandler, Denver Nuggets

    Wilson Chandler is a stud wingman whose abilities suggest potential stardom. However, he's stuck on a Nuggets roster in which Arron Afflalo, Danilo Gallinari and Quincy Miller all demand playing time, so Chandler will find that getting consistent time is difficult.

     

    Chauncey Billups, Free Agent

    Billups is a 35-year-old guard who is coming off of a severe Achilles injury. Can he truly recover?

     

    Eric Bledsoe, Los Angeles Clippers

    Upon trading Mo Williams, the Los Angeles Clippers made it perfectly clear who they felt deserved the duties of reserve point guard. After a stellar postseason in which Eric Bledsoe turned the tide in a handful of games, it's not hard to see why.

    Expect Bledsoe to find solid statistical success but better contributions in the areas that don't show up in the box score.

100. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 18

    Experience: Rookie

    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will complement Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson perfectly in his first year in the league, proving to be one of the league's better perimeter defenders right off the bat. He is a low-risk defender who plays the passing lanes intelligently and always manages to stay in front of his man.

    The ability to score off of the dribble and finish well above the rim will make MKG a fan favorite. His well-rounded stat line and on-court tenacity will help him earn this position.

    Projected Season Averages

    13.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.7 BPG

99. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 21

    Experience: 1 Year

    Kawhi Leonard broke out as one of the most promising young players in the NBA, pairing fearless and efficient perimeter defense with rapidly improving shooting skills. In 2013, Leonard will continue to build on that success, establishing himself as a future face of the Spurs' franchise.

    Leonard will crash the boards, defend an opponent's best player and shoot in the clutch. He will also put up efficient numbers on his way to becoming one of the game's fastest-rising players.

    Projected Season Averages

    10.1 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.5 SPG, 43.1% 3PT

98. DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers

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    Position: Center

    Age: 23

    Experience: 4 Years

    DeAndre Jordan was a statistical beast in 2012, putting up 7.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game in an average of just 27.2 minutes per game. In 2013, the minutes are likely to increase.

    The numbers will also increase, just not by much. After all, these are Vinny Del Negro's Clippers.

    Projected Season Averages

    27.7 MPG, 8.1 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 2.3 BPG

97. Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 22

    Experience: 2 Years

    Avery Bradley had his own mini Linsanity in Boston, as Celtics fans sang the former Texas Longhorn's praises after his final month of play. Bradley proved to be an even greater two-way threat than was expected, and he has built a solid foundation from which to continue his success.

    In 2012, the numbers won't be stellar, but the consistency will be key to the Celtics overcoming the potential loss of Ray Allen. Bradley will play strong defense and contribute in transition, as the success of the Celtics officially rests on Rondo's style of play.

    Projected Season Averages

    13.1 PPG, 3.2 APG, 2.2 RPG, 1.2 SPG

96. Thomas Robinson, Sacramento Kings

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 21

    Experience: Rookie

    Thomas Robinson is going to have a stellar rookie season. He'll contribute in every facet of the game, effectively forming one of the best young frontcourts in the NBA. He'll offer tough interior defense and a great motor to a Kings team in dire need of such additions, as well as a respected offensive attack.

    Thomas Robinson will be in the discussion for Rookie of the Year. Until then, he's a member of this honorable list.

    Projected Season Averages

    11.6 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.0 BPG, 0.8 SPG

95. Nikola Pekovic, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Position: Center

    Age: 26

    Experience: 2 Years

    In 2012, Nikola Pekovic became a quiet nominee for Most Improved Player of the Year. He'd gone from a virtual nobody to a consistent contributor alongside Kevin Love. In 2013, "consistent" won't be a strong enough word to describe Pekovic's contributions.

    The well-built big man is a ferocious finisher around the basket and an asset on the glass. He's as strong as any in the paint, thus dominating for short spurts on either end of the floor. Those spurts will grow longer in 2013.

    Fans will know Pekovic's name as Minnesota pushes for the playoffs.

    Projected Season Averages

    13.7 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.0 BPG, 0.8 SPG

94. Thabo Sefolosha, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 28 

    Experience: 6 Years

    Thabo Sefolosha will never fill up a stat sheet with eye-popping numbers. What he will do, however, is remain one of the top-five perimeter defenders in the NBA. That alone offers him placement on this list.

    Sefolosha would certainly be higher if the Thunder offered him more time on the court. Unfortunately, his minutes have long been inconsistent and low, leaving the Swiss defender at No. 93 for the time being.

    Projected Season Averages

    24.5 MPG, 7.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.6 SPG

93. Ben Gordon, Charlotte Bobcats

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 29

    Experience: 8 Years

    Ben Gordon is headed to Charlotte, so a career revitalization is in the works. Expect Gordon to rediscover his stroke and put up numbers similar to those posted while he was a member of the Chicago Bulls.

    Gordon is young enough to begin a comeback. Expect him to do just that.

    Projected Season Averages

    16.4 PPG, 3.1 APG, 2.3 RPG, 0.8 SPG, 44.3% 3PT

92. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 22

    Experience: 1 Year

    Klay Thompson is a potential scoring title contender. Unfortunately, he hasn't figured out how to do much else except put points on the board.

    Playing with a top-tier interior defender in Andrew Bogut will create plenty of transition opportunities for Thompson. This will help the former Washington State star walk amongst the scoring leaders of sophomore-season ballers, which is a respectable position after just one year in the league. 

    Projected Season Averages

    16.2 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 2.1 APG, 0.8 SPG, 42% 3PT

91. Mario Chalmers, Miami Heat

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 26

    Experience: 4

    Mario Chalmers is coming off of a big-time NBA Finals in which the former Kansas Jayhawk star pushed out 25 points in a pivotal Game 4. While LeBron James' and Dwyane Wade's punching bag won't put up numbers like that on a nightly basis, he's certainly cracked the top 100 because of what we know he can do.

    As for what he will do, expect a well-rounded season from Chalmers that should include some memorable fourth-quarter performances.

    Projected Season Averages

    12.3 PPG, 4.6 APG, 3.0 RPG, 1.7 SPG

90. JaVale McGee, Free Agent

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    Position: Center

    Age: 24

    Experience: 4 Years

    Before we get carried away with JaVale McGee's 21 points and 14 rebounds against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of their first-round matchup, let's remember that McGee reached double figures in just one of the other six games. The talent is there and the upside is being tapped, but it's still a process.

    In 2013, that process will be on full display as fans keep a close eye on McGee's production. Expect double-digit scoring and just over nine rebounds a game.

    Projected Season Averages

    13.4 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 2.7 BPG, 0.8 SPG

89. Jose Calderon, Toronto Raptors

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 30

    Experience: 7 Years

    Jose Calderon has quietly been one of the best facilitators of this generation, consistently finishing in the top five in assists. While the 30-year-old has never been a postseason standout like another point guard the Canadian nation is familiar with, he has been a great model of consistency.

    Expect more of the same from Calderon, regardless of whether he remains in Toronto or is traded elsewhere. His is a true model for fundamental success.

    Projected Season Averages

    10.1 PPG, 8.1 APG, 3.1 RPG, 1.0 SPG

88. Nene Hilario, Washington Wizards

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    Position: Center

    Age: 29

    Experience: 10 Years

    Nene will bring the Washington Wizards the respected veteran presence that they have so desperately needed. He'll also offer John Wall a legitimate pick-and-roll partner who finishes well around the basket.

    Consider Nene a great player in Washington and a good player elsewhere.

    Projected Season Averages

    15.6 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.3 BPG, 1.0 SPG

87. Brook Lopez, Free Agent

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    Position: Center

    Age: 24

    Experience: 4 Years

    Brook Lopez is set to make his long-awaited return from injury and will likely be in a Brooklyn Nets uniform when he does so. Once he hits the court, we can expect more of the same: solid scoring, terrible rebounding and porous defense.

    Sorry, Brook Lopez fans. This is as high as he goes.

    Projected Season Averages

    17.6 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.0 BPG

86. Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings

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    Position: Guard

    Age: 22

    Experience: 3 Years

    If we're basing this off of talent alone, Tyreke Evans may be a top-30 player in the league. The fact is, Evans has done nothing to help the Kings win over the past two seasons. He's struggled to find a position and has displayed terrible shot selection.

    2013, unfortunately, will not change a thing.

    Expect Evans to have his usual solid stat line, but don't expect solid play. The inconsistency he's struggled with is likely to continue.

    Projected Season Averages

    15.4 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.2 SPG

85. Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz

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    Position: Center

    Age: 20

    Experience: 2 Years

    Derrick Favors is slowly displaying signs of his maximum potential, establishing himself as a dominant interior defender and controlling rebounder. He's also picking up the basics of an offensive attack, developing a face-up and back-to-the-basket attack.

    In 2013, the development will continue and Favors will emerge as a trendy pick for Sixth Man of the Year. One more year and he could make a major leap into the top 50.

    Projected Season Averages

    25.5 MPG, 10.1 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.6 BPG, 0.9 SPG

84. J.R. Smith, Free Agent

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 26

    Experience: 8 Years

    When on his game, J.R. Smith is legitimately unstoppable. He's as dominant as any scorer this league has seen and can both shoot the lights out and rise above defenders to throw it down.

    Can't he, Miami?

    Unfortunately, Smith is one of the most sporadic players in the league. The night after he posts 30 on 13-of-21 shooting, he'll put up 13 on 5-of-17 shooting. While his new-found care for the defensive end is encouraging, it's hard to place Smith where he belongs (the top 25) without consistency.

    After all, what's ability when you don't know how to use it?

    Projected Season Averages

    16.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.8 SPG

83. Kemba Walker, Charlotte Bobcats

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 22

    Experience: 1 Year

    Quietly but surely, Kemba Walker put together one of the more respectable rookie seasons of any 2011 NBA draftee. He filled the stat sheet nicely and, in spite of his weak slash line, became one of the more respected players in the Bobcats' locker room.

    What was most impressive about Walker's game was the effort he put forth on the defensive end. Despite the fact that he split time at the point and 2 with D.J. Augustin on the roster, Walker has taken steps toward legitimacy as a starting point guard.

    Projected Season Averages

    14.6 PPG, 5.1 APG, 3.8 RPG, 1.2 SPG

82. Paul George, Indiana Pacers

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 22

    Experience: 2 Years

    The Indiana Pacers are anxiously awaiting Paul George's explosion in the NBA, as the 6'10" shooting guard's size and athleticism suggests potential dominance. For those expecting 2013 to be the year of his emergence, remember that he's only 22 years old.

    Not every young player can be the Oklahoma City Thunder's quartet.

    Nevertheless, George will become a more consistent scoring option who will provide the Pacers with what they desperately need: a reliable perimeter shooter. Come postseason, George may just take his first step towards stardom.

    Projected Season Averages

    14.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.8 BPG

81. Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls

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    Position: Forward

    Age: 27

    Experience: 3 Years

    Taj Gibson is a fan favorite amongst the Chicago Bulls nation and Brooklynites alike. In 2013, he'll become something new: a Sixth Man of the Year candidate.

    With Derrick Rose out, Gibson will take on a heavier scoring role off of the bench. He'll also see more playing time as the rotation becomes a wide-open free-for-all at point in the first weeks of the season. Should Gibson prove himself—which he will—he'll receive the most consistent playing time of his career.

    And rightfully so.

    Projected Season Averages

    11.3 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.9 BPG

80. Arron Afflalo, Denver Nuggets

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 26

    Experience: 5

    Arron Afflalo is a top-tier perimeter defender, an excellent jump shooter with three-point range and an improving slasher with or without the ball in his hands. He's a consistent contributor on a playoff team and has earned the respect of many elite shooting guards.

    In 2013, Afflalo will offer more of the same: consistent scoring and the Nuggets' best perimeter defending option. This garners the recognition he deserves at No. 79.

    Projected Season Averages

    15.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.2 SPG, 42.1 3PT%

79. Goran Dragic, Free Agent

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 26

    Experience: 4 Years

    Goran Dragic quietly burst onto the scene with the Phoenix Suns in 2010. Dragic provided a legendary postseason performance in which he scored 23 points in the fourth quarter of a Game 3 showdown between the Suns and Spurs, thus launching his career into a land of high expectations.

    During the 2012 NBA season, the hype returned, as Dragic played excellent ball in Kyle Lowry's absence. Many expect Dragic to continue that success in 2013.

    Dragic will crack the top 80 players in his first year as a lead point guard.

    Projected Season Averages

    13.3 PPG, 7.3 APG, 3.1 RPG, 1.8 SPG

78. Andrea Bargnani, Toronto Raptors

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 26

    Experience: 6 Years

    Andrea Bargnani joins Brook Lopez and Kevin Martin in the "score well and do very little else" category. The difference here is that Bargnani is a seven-footer who can stroke it from distance.

    In 2012, Bargnani exhibited his greatest defensive effort to date. While the statistical results were none too promising, the former first overall draft choice played a key role in the Raptors' top-10 scoring defense. Jonas Valanciunas' arrival is only going to help the team take a step further.

    That is, if they don't feel an Amir Johnson and Valanciunas frontcourt is the answer.

    Projected Season Averages

    22.3 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.3 APG, 0.7 BPG, 0.7 SPG

77. Kevin Martin, Houston Rockets

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 29

    Experience: 8 Years

    Kevin Martin is a talented scorer who can find the bottom of the net in a variety of ways. From his lengthy jump shot to an uncanny ability to finish in the paint, Martin can light up the scoreboard on any given evening.

    Just don't ask him to play defense.

    Due to Martin's poor defensive play, his name drops to No. 76. Should he improve in that area, his name will certainly see a meteoric rise.

    But that just won't happen.

    Projected Season Averages

    16.3 PPG, 3.1 APG, 2.9 RPG, 0.8 SPG

76. Nicolas Batum, Free Agent

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 23

    Experience: 4 Years

    Nicolas Batum has been on the rise for quite some time. His elite athleticism and unbelievable length has caused any and every person who has seen him play to label him a future star. With four years in the league and very little to show for it, however, the time may be now for Batum to break out.

    The 23-year-old Frenchman is finally going to put his talents on display as he posts the best statistical season of his career. He'll develop into a stellar perimeter defender and even establish a reliable offensive attack.

    Projected Season Averages

    15.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.2 BPG

75. Rodney Stuckey, Detroit Pistons

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 26

    Experience: 5

    With Ben Gordon shipped out, the scoring load at the 2 no longer has balance. Should Rodney Stuckey fail to provide the Pistons with the necessary scoring, the development of their youth will be stunted and their season will be lost again.

    Expect Stuckey to step up and take on the burden. The former Eastern Washington star will improve his perimeter shooting and continue to attack the basket, putting up his most efficient scoring season of his career.

    Projected Season Averages

    17.3 PPG, 4.6 APG, 2.7 RPG, 1.1 SPG

74. Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 22

    Experience: 1 Year

    While Kyrie Irving stole the headlines, Kenneth Faried proved to be the most efficient rookie in the NBA. His rebounding skills were on par with the NBA's elite, while his energy and effort were infectious for an underwhelming (on paper) Denver frontcourt that overachieved in a major way.

    From Al Harrington performing consistently to JaVale McGee finding his way, Faried's efforts positively affected everyone on the team. Expect the same in 2013; Faried will come close to a double-double season.

    Projected Season Averages

    9.6 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 0.8 SPG

73. Jeremy Lin, Free Agent

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 23

    Experience: 2 Years

    Linsanity was a spectacle that the NBA may never forget. Jeremy Lin, meanwhile, is a crafty young point guard whose skill set and approach to the game will land him a lengthy and memorable career.

    In 2013, Lin will come down to earth. His numbers won't be of the All-Star caliber, but his production will be consistent enough to warrant this position on the list. He's an excellent passer whose penetrating skills are top notch. While his decision-making must improve, the fact that he's only 23 years old suggests they will.

    Lin will prove by year's end that he does in fact deserve this spot on the list.

    Projected Season Averages

    14.7 PPG, 6.7 APG, 3.4 RPG, 1.4 SPG

72. Shane Battier, Miami Heat

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 33

    Experience: 11 Years

    Without Shane Battier's clutch defense, precise decision-making and barrage of three-pointers, the Miami Heat would not have won the NBA championship. In fact, they might not have even made the NBA Finals.

    2013 will remind us of that on a consistent basis, as Battier continues to play the role of sharpshooting defensive guru. After all, who else in the NBA can play that role?

    Projected Season Averages

    9.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.2 SPG

71. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets

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    Position: Power Forward

70. Marcus Thornton, Sacramento Kings

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 25

    Experience: 3 Years

    Marcus Thornton is talented enough that he could one day compete for a scoring title. While that time will come later rather than sooner, he will take a giant step forward in 2012 as he finally finds consistent playing time within the Kings' starting lineup.

    Thornton will emerge as the Kings' best perimeter scorer, developing a beautiful low-high chemistry with interior forces DeMarcus Cousins and rookie Thomas Robinson.

    Projected Season Averages

    20.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.6 SPG

69. Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 30

    Experience: 10 Years

    Carlos Boozer has been an underwhelming addition in Chicago, as he has failed to live up to his mega-deal. To make matters worse, in 2013 the pressure will be as high as ever with Derrick Rose sidelined for an extensive period of time.

    Expect Boozer to put up better numbers than he has in the past, as he'll score well and rebound adequately. While his defense will leave many asking for more, his contributions will be welcomed and the Bulls will survive with an even balance of scoring from a strong frontcourt.

    Projected Season Averages

    16.7 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.6 BPG

68. Ray Allen, Free Agent

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 36

    Experience: 16 Years

    Ray Allen will continue to be one of the game's elite three-point shooters. He'll also bring irreplaceable veteran leadership, a championship pedigree and some of the best clutch performances to whatever team signs him.

    Allen is no longer the athlete that he used to be. Injuries and age have caught up with the all-time great, but his contributions will remain steady. Ray Allen is one of the best.

    Projected Season Averages

    13.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.0 SPG, 46.7% 3PT

67. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 36

    Experience: 15 Years

    Tim Duncan is one of the greatest players in NBA history. He ranks right alongside Kobe Bryant as the best player of their generation and will make the Hall of Fame on his first ballot.

    Unfortunately for Duncan, his playing time will be at an all-time low.

    Popovich and the Spurs began the "keep Duncan fresh until the playoffs" process in 2012. The process will continue in 2013, and Duncan's production will take a major hit. In the postseason, however, Duncan will be back and ready to contribute in a major way.

    The soon-to-be 37-year-old simply suffers from a major decrease in playing time. Manu Ginobili can testify to that.

    Projected Season Averages

    25.4 MPG, 12.6 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.2 BPG, 0.7 SPG

66. Ersan Ilyasova, Free Agent

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 25

    Experience: 4 Years

    Ersan Ilyasova has been one of the most exciting yet frustrating players in the league since the turn of the 2011 season. For every night in which Ilyasova has posted five rebounds, he's followed it up with a 15-plus performance that suggests he's a true star in the making.

    In 2013, he'll prove that the hype is warranted.

    Whether Ilyasova re-signs with Milwaukee or opts to go elsewhere, his rebounding prowess will be a focal point of his team's strategy. He'll also put on display his ability to knock down the three, score from the post and attack the basket.

    Ilyasova will hit his stride in 2013 and break out the following season.

    Projected Season Averages

    14.6 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.0 BPG

65. Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 30

    Experience: 8 Years

    When you're the best perimeter defender in the NBA, how can you go any lower than this?

    Tony Allen is your quintessential great player whom no one ever talks about. He plays a responsible brand of defense in which gambling is not an option. He picks his spots to go for steals, rather than tallying a high number only to find your team burnt by a slashing scorer.

    Allen is a consummate professional and an all-time great on the defensive end of the floor. The only question for the former Oklahoma State standout is whether or not he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

    Projected Season Averages

    10.1 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.6 APG, 2.1 SPG, 1.0 BPG

64. Gerald Wallace, Free Agent

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 29

    Experience: 11 Years

    Gerald Wallace is a defensive specialist who can lock down even the greatest opponent. He's a menace in transition and a powerful dribbler who can finish above the rim and control the defensive and offensive glass. Whether he ends up in Brooklyn or elsewhere, don't expect those attributes to take a hit.

    Wallace's versatility enables him to defend multiple positions. This alone will make him a valued asset for any franchise, so much so that he earns a deal that would suggest his placement deserves to be much higher than it is on this list.

    Projected Season Averages

    14.1 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.6 SPG

63. Danilo Gallinari, Denver Nuggets

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 23

    Experience: 4 Years

    Danilo Gallinari is a player whom many believe to be the key to the Carmelo Anthony trade. While the upside is there to warrant such a claim, Gallinari is currently locked into a crowded perimeter that struggles to create anything in the half court.

    Gallinari is in store for a solid season, but failing to execute in a traditional set is a serious knock on his ranking. If he wants to be considered an elite 3, the 23-year-old must improve his ability to create off of the dribble.

    While he'll take steps towards doing so in 2013, he's still a year or two away from reaching his maximum potential.

    Projected Season Averages

    16.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.0 SPG

62. Shawn Marion, Dallas Mavericks

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 34

    Experience: 13 Years

    How much does Shawn Marion still have in the tank? Just ask Kevin Durant.

    When matched up against Marion in the first round of the 2012 NBA playoffs, Kevin Durant shot 34.1 percent from the floor in the first two games of the series. The following games saw Durant's shot attempts drop from 44 to 35, a direct result of Marion's strong D.

    In 2013, Marion will be faced with a similar situation, as his perimeter defense will be pivotal to the Mavericks defense. Expect Marion to compile a much more well-rounded season, however, as he looks to put up the points necessary to climb back up this list.

    Projected Season Averages

    12.6 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.0 BPG

61. David West, Indiana Pacers

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 31

    Experience: 9 Years

    David West struggled early on for Indiana, failing to find his groove in a new system. As the year went on and the postseason came around, however, West appeared to have found the form that made him such a standout player in New Orleans.

    While Indiana's system and approach to the game will hold West back from major scoring outputs, his chemistry with fellow big man Roy Hibbert should lead to a very good season from the Xavier star. Should Hibbert sign elsewhere in free agency, though, expect West's name to shoot up this list.

    Projected Season Averages

    15.4 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.9 BPG

60. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 24

    Experience: 3 Years

    Assuming Stephen Curry can stay on the floor, the former Davidson superstar could put together a very nice season. The issue, of course, is that Curry has been unable to remain healthy since the beginning of his career.

    For as long as he remains active, Curry will average close to 20 points a night. He and second-year shooting guard Klay Thompson will offer the Warriors two of the best perimeter shooters in the game, while rookie Harrison Barnes will bring a maturity and intelligence that the team previously lacked.

    This opens the door for Curry to put up big numbers in a year where the Warriors are poised to make a push. Much like the Warriors' other star acquisition, however, Curry's likelihood to suffer an injury drops him down this list.

    Projected Season Averages

    19.1 PPG, 5.6 APG, 3.6 RPG, 1.6 SPG

59. Kris Humphries, Free Agent

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 27

    Experience: 8 Years

    Kris Humphries receives more attention for his marrying Kim Kardashian than he does for his play. That's quite a shame, as Humphries was one of the few to average a double-double.

    In 2013, Humphries' dominance on the boards will continue, while his consistency as a scorer will grow. This will lead to consideration for an All-Star bid and Humphries' establishment as one of the best power forwards in the NBA.

    Quite frankly, it's about time.

    Projected Season Averages

    15.6 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.4 BPG

58. David Lee, Golden State Warriors

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 29

    Experience: 7 Years

    David Lee is a statistical wonder. He's consistently hovering around 20 points per game while tallying somewhere between nine and 10 rebounds. In 2013, that success should continue.

    What places Lee lower on this list than his numbers would suggest is his sorry excuse for defense. While he's always had a great motor, his defensive abilities are suspect at best. Thankfully, Lee will be playing alongside defensive stalwart Andrew Bogut.

    2013 could be a big year in David Lee's solid career.

    Projected Season Averages

    19.7 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 2.4 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.6 BPG

57. Marcin Gortat, Phoenix Suns

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    Position: Center

    Age: 28

    Experience: 5 Years

    Marcin Gortat was marvelous in 2012, putting up 15.4 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game while posting an impressive 21.21 player efficiency rating. With Steve Nash likely on the way out, however, Gortat's production could take a hit.

    While the points will come and rebounds will follow, working with rookie Kendall Marshall will have its learning curve. Until Gortat is able to get over that hump—which he will—further development will take its time.

    Projected Season Averages

    15.7 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.5 BPG, 1.0 SPG

56. Andrew Bogut, Golden State Warriors

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    Position: Center

    Age: 27

    Experience: 7 Years

    Andrew Bogut has long been one of the elite interior defenders in the NBA. He's a dominant shot-blocker, first-class rebounder and intimidating presence in the paint. Unfortunately, he's also an injury-prone player who is never a sure thing to remain on the court.

    Should Bogut remain active, his ranking at No. 56 is about right. Bogut will need to acclimate himself with the pace of the game after missing so much time over the past few seasons, while also adjusting to a new system in Golden State.

    Projected Season Averages

    13.4 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 2.9 APG, 2.3 BPG, 1.1 SPG

55. Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 22

    Experience: 3 Years

    Jrue Holiday has long been one of the most sought-after players in the world. As a high school player, he was a superstar. As a UCLA Bruin, he was the source of championship expectations. As a draft prospect, he was widely considered to be a project player who could emerge into a superstar.

    Time to break out.

    Projected Season Averages

    13.1 PPG, 5.6 APG, 4.1 RPG, 1.7 SPG

54. O.J. Mayo, Free Agent

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 24

    Experience: 4 Years

    O.J. Mayo was once an elite scoring prospect whose efficient score-first approach led to many crowning him as a future star. Over the past two seasons, Mayo has been thrust into the role of a secondary ball-handler and lost his coach's trust in his scoring abilities.

    With Mayo now hitting free agency, it's likely that he will sign with a team that will properly utilize his abilities. The former USC Trojan will re-emerge as an elite scoring prospect and right a once promising career.

    Projected Season Averages

    18.1 PPG, 4.1 APG, 3.7 RPG, 1.3 SPG

53. Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 27

    Experience: 8 Years

    Luol Deng is one of the best perimeter defenders the NBA has to offer. He's also one of the more responsible scorers in the NBA, as he rarely plays outside of his abilities. With these factors weighed, it's hard to imagine why Deng would rank outside of the top 50.

    With Derrick Rose injured, however, Deng's responsibilities may reach beyond his abilities. This drops him only slightly, however, as Deng remains a great second scoring option for any team.

    He'd also be the best defender on almost any team in the NBA.

    Projected Season Averages

    15.7 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.9 BPG

52. Mo Williams, Utah Jazz

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 29

    Experience: 9 Years

    Mo Williams has quietly pieced together one of the better careers of any active point guard in the NBA. He's been a consistent contributor on multiple playoff teams, scored the basketball as well as any at his position and even thrived in his role as a lead facilitator.

    In Utah, expect Williams to have his best season yet.

    Not only will Williams take over as the Jazz's assist man, running the pick-and-roll with an elite frontcourt, but he'll be the best perimeter shooter on the team. This will lead to plenty of scoring opportunities, as well as open passing lanes as opponents fail to anticipate the former All-Star's next move.

    Expect big things from Mo Williams in 2013.

    Projected Season Averages

    16.4 PPG, 6.9 APG, 2.3 RPG, 1.2 SPG

51. Jason Terry, Free Agent

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 34

    Experience: 13 Years

    Jason Terry is a perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate whose scoring prowess and championship pedigree separate him from many others on this list. He's one of the all-time greats from beyond the arc and always offers his full effort on both ends of the floor.

    That's the reason Jason Terry is entering his 14th year in the league.

    In 2013, Terry will continue to perform at a high level. He'll score well, play the role of combo guard and even force turnovers. He'll do for a team's offense what Tyson Chandler has done for the Knicks.

    Projected Season Averages

    16.7 PPG, 3.9 APG, 2.7 RPG, 1.1 SPG, 40.1% 3PT

50. Evan Turner, Philadelphia 76ers

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 23

    Experience: 2 Years

    Evan Turner will make a serious leap in 2013, going from promising and well-rounded to the player that everyone will be watching. Even if Chicago Bulls fans hate to hear it.

    The former Ohio State Buckeye is a potential 20-point-per-game scorer who crashes the boards, handles the ball well and distributes it with intelligence and responsibility. He's also an excellent defender and is versatile enough to play either the 2 or the 3.

    Turner is a true franchise player. 2013 will be the first time he shows that on a consistent basis.

    Projected Season Averages

    16.1 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.7 BPG

49. Mike Conley Jr., Memphis Grizzlies

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 24

    Experience: 5 Years

    Mike Conley Jr. has established himself as one of the best perimeter defenders at the point guard position. Over the past two postseasons, Conley has established himself as one of the best clutch shooting point guards, as well.

    Against Chris Paul and the Clippers, Conley forced the superstar point guard into committing 3.6 turnovers and 3.0 fouls per game. Conley may not be a household name just yet, but that's not too far away.

    Projected Season Averages

    14.4 PPG, 7.4 APG, 2.9 RPG, 2.4 SPG

48. Kyle Lowry, Houston Rockets

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 26

    Experience: 6 Years

    Kyle Lowry is one of the most well-rounded contributors at the point guard position. From solid scoring numbers to double-digit assists, Lowry is a consistent threat to post a double-double. Only Rajon Rondo can top his rebounding ability as a point guard, so it's clear why Lowry is such a fast-rising player.

    The question is, can Houston hold on to the mercurial point man (h/t Matt Moore, ProBasketballTalk)?

    Projected Season Averages

    15.1 PPG, 7.9 APG, 5.1 RPG, 1.3 SPG

47. Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 28

    Experience: 8 Years

    Andre Iguodala is an elite perimeter defender, a dominant transition attacker and an excellent team leader. He plays well in the clutch, defends multiple positions and maintains his elite level of athletic ability.

    While Iguodala isn't one of the game's elite, he's certainly one of the greatest around. His top-50 qualifications are undeniable, his placement justified.

    Projected Season Averages

    12.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 5.2 APG, 1.6 SPG

46. Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 22

    Experience: 1 Year

    Ricky Rubio had a stellar rookie season, posting an average of 8.2 assists before suffering a season-ending knee injury just 41 games into the season. In 2013, expect similar success and a much healthier ending.

    Rubio will have two dominant frontcourt options to work with in franchise player Kevin Love and budding star Nikola Pekovic. He'll also have a matured Derrick Williams and, hopefully, a more developed Wesley Johnson.

    Expect Rubio to flirt with double-digit assists by season's end.

    Projected Season Averages

    11.1 PPG, 9.6 APG, 4.4 RPG, 2.0 SPG

45. Paul Millsap, Utah Jazz

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 27

    Experience: 6 Years

    Paul Millsap broke out in a major way during the 2012 season, sparking conversation in Utah about who the best Jazz big man truly was. While Al Jefferson still holds that claim, Millsap is hot on his heels with his well-rounded production and never-say-die motor.

    In 2013, Millsap will make a serious run at his first All-Star Game. With the presence of point guard Mo Williams, he'll also be in position for an elevated level of production, making him the next Josh Smith.

    Fan favorite, All-Star caliber, vote forgotten.

    Projected Season Averages

    18.1 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.2 BPG

44. Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies

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    Position: Center

    Age: 27

    Experience: 4 Years

    Marc Gasol made his first All-Star team this past season, earning recognition for the Memphis Grizzlies' 2011 postseason run and 2012 regular-season success in the absence of Zach Randolph. While Gasol is likely to be overtaken by a young 5 out west, his production will remain on par with some of the best secondary options in basketball.

    The Grizzlies just happen to be good enough where the younger Gasol brother is a tertiary option. And a damn good tertiary option, at that. 

    Projected Season Average

    14.1 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.8 BPG, 0.9 SPG

43. Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 22

    Experience: 3 Years

    Brandon Jennings will enter the 2013 NBA season with high expectations from fans and prayers for consistency from coaches. With Monta Ellis and Doron Lamb both on the wing, as well as John Henson in the paint, there is no reason why he can't meet those desires.

    Unfortunately, he won't.

    As Brandon Jennings enters his contract year, you can expect a lot of selfish play. While he's a better facilitator than he's given credit for, Jennings' midseason comments make it clear that he's playing to impress a potential suitor (h/t Chris Broussard, ESPN.com)

    Regardless, Jennings' talent is top notch. He will put up an impressive stat line as the Bucks make a legitimate push towards the postseason.

    Projected Season Averages

    21.2 PPG, 5.6 APG, 3.7 RPG, 1.8 SPG

42. Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 24

    Experience: 3 Years

    Ty Lawson busted out one hell of a postseason series against the Los Angeles Lakers, leading the Nuggets as a scorer and facilitator. His flash-like quickness and blazing speed enabled him to reach the basket with ease, while the young guard's mid-range jump shooting was the best we've ever seen it.

    Yes, that's a sign of things to come.

    Lawson will emerge as one of the best point guards in the NBA this coming season, pairing an ability to put up points in bunches with elite facilitating skills. Consider his time alongside Andre Miller to be the best thing that's ever happened to the North Carolina alum.

    Projected Season Averages

    19.2 PPG, 7.3 APG, 4.1 RPG, 1.6 SPG

41. Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 22

    Experience: 3 Years

    The league's reigning shot-blocking king clocks in at No. 41 on the league's top 100.

    Ibaka is a true force in the paint, blocking shots and influencing decision-making with his mere presence. What holds him back from being considered one of the game's top 40, however, are his weak rebounding skills and undeveloped low-post scoring.

    An 11-for-11 shooting performance in the postseason is worth notoriety, though, so here's a cheap plug for that.

    Projected Season Averages

    10.1 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 3.2 BPG

40. Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 22

    Experience: 2 Years

    Greg Monroe received a true blessing when the Detroit Pistons drafted Andre Drummond with the ninth overall draft pick in the 2012 NBA draft.

    Monroe has always been an offensive force with questionable defensive skills. He's also a better fit for the 4 than the center position. With Andre Drummond on the roster, both of those issues have been solved.

    Drummond is an excellent help-side defender who can block shots with the best of them. He's also a very good rebounder on both ends of the floor, taking the pressure off of Monroe in both of those areas. This will result in greater statistics, a higher level of efficiency and a potential All-Star Game appearance for the Georgetown alum.

    Drummond is also a flex 4/5, which allows the Pistons to place Monroe at either position.

    Projected Season Averages

    17.1 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.6 SPG, 1.0 BPG

39. Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

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    Position: Center

    Age: 27

    Experience: 5 Years

    In Derrick Rose's absence, Joakim Noah may have been the best player on the Chicago Bulls. With Rose sidelined until at least January, Noah will end the debate and prove to indeed be Chicago's best.

    Noah is an outstanding rebounder and one of the most active defenders you'll ever see. He's never afraid to get physical and never hesitates to dive on the floor for loose balls. He's also an improving offensive player whose shooting form is horrendous but yields respectable results.

    Noah will make the leap to his first career All-Star Game in 2013.

    Projected Season Averages

    13.3 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.7 BPG, 1.0 SPG

38. Chris Bosh, Miami Heat

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 28

    Experience: 9 Years

    How is Chris Bosh this low? Because the guy isn't who he used to be.

    While Dwyane Wade may be the elder Heat member, Chris Bosh is the one showing signs of age and fatigue. Although he battled injuries, Bosh's production throughout his tenure in Miami has been responsible but not spectacular. His play has been the same.

    Although Bosh showed major signs of improvement as a defender in the NBA Finals, he remains a player to watch on that end. He's struggled against top competition, and that pushes him down this list.

    Projected Season Averages

    17.5 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.6 BPG, 1.0 SPG

37. Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 29

    Experience: 7 Years

    Danny Granger has long been one of the better scoring small forwards in the NBA. His range and upper-body strength combine to make him a true force as he pours in the points. His defensive prowess and toughness are also on par with the standard for a 3, making him one of the top 50 players in the NBA.

    From getting under his opponent's skin to hitting a shot when his opponent least expects it, Danny Granger does it all. The next step in 2013 is taking the Pacers from contenders to champions.

    Projected Season Averages

    17.8 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.1 SPG


36. Eric Gordon, Free Agent

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 24

    Experience: 4 Years

    There is only one question to ask here: Can Eric Gordon remain healthy? Assuming he can, Gordon fits at No. 36, as he discovers ways to lead a team to victory and makes contributions that don't show up on a scoreboard.

    With all of that being noted, Gordon is a spectacular scorer. He is much more powerful going to the basket than his size would suggest, and he has a much-improved mid-range jump shot. Expect a big year from the former Hoosier.

    Projected Season Averages

    66 GP, 21.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.6 SPG

35. Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 30

    Experience: 11 Years

    Zach Randolph has the ability to crack the top 15. What must be noted, however, is that he's coming off of an injury and never truly showed the signs of full recovery.

    In 2013, it's hard to imagine Randolph won't have worked his way back into shape. That could result in big numbers and big wins for the Memphis Grizzlies. With Marc Gasol's emergence and Rudy Gay entering his prime, however, Randolph may have to take a back seat.

    Projected Season Averages

    15.2 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.0 SPG

34. Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 31

    Experience: 11 Years

    Pau Gasol once again disappointed in the postseason, posting an average of 12.5 points on 43.4 percent shooting from the floor. To quiet the screaming cries from Laker Nation, he'll need to recover with a stellar regular reason.

    Although the scoring will see a slight decline, his all-around production will increase as Andrew Bynum takes on the role of primary interior scorer. If nothing else, Gasol will recover enough to maintain his trade value and be dealt to another contender.

    Projected Season Averages

    17.1 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.2 BPG, 0.8 SPG

33. Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 31

    Experience: 11 Years

    Is Joe Johnson overpaid? Absolutely. Don't think that means he's not worth the All-Star appearances he consistently receives.

    Joe Johnson has long been one of the most well-rounded contributors in the NBA. From big-time scoring to clutch shooting, the points have always come. He's posted solid rebounding and assist numbers as well, as his size enables him to see the floor better than most at the 2.

    In 2013, Johnson will benefit most from the presence of rookie John Jenkins. The spread-the-floor shooter will create passing and slashing lanes for Johnson to work and rediscover his form.

    Projected Season Averages

    19.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.2 SPG

32. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 34

    Experience: 14 Years

    Paul Pierce is coming off of a season in which he played a handful of roles.

    When Rajon Rondo went down with an injury, Pierce was a nightly threat for a triple-double. When Ray Allen went down with an injury, Pierce was the respective game's best three-point shooter. When Kevin Garnett was on the bench, Pierce even spent time crashing the boards and D-ing up an elite opponent.

    In 2013, Pierce will play a role he's more comfortable with: leading scorer.

    Projected Season Averages

    20.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.4 APG, 1.2 SPG

31. Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers

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    Position: Center

    Age: 25

    Experience: 4 Years

    Roy Hibbert burst onto the scene as one of the best defensive players in the NBA, combining unbelievable size and length with a shot-blocking prowess that very few can match. In 2013, expect Hibbert to improve upon those skills and develop an even more polished offensive attack.

    Hibbert has always been one of the best passers out of the post, which will be better displayed after a full offseason with David West. The two will develop a great chemistry as the Pacers finally realize what any fan could have told them: If you had actually gone inside, you may have defeated the Heat.

    Oh, lost opportunities.

    Projected Season Averages

    14.4 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 3.1 APG, 2.0 BPG

30. Amar'e Stoudemire, New York Knicks

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 29

    Experience: 10 Years

    In all likelihood, Amar'e Stoudemire's hand will not be detached and his hair will not be in the '90s. His play will improve, as well.

    With his first full offseason to train alongside Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, it's hard to imagine Stoudemire falling short of improvement. His defensive approach will improve, his offensive role will be more defined, and most importantly, team chemistry will be at an all-time high.

    While Melo will emerge as the true star of the team, Stoudemire is more than capable of being the 2009 Gasol to Melo's Kobe.

    Projected Season Averages

    21.2 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.3 BPG, 1.0 SPG, 53.1 FG%

29. Al Jefferson, Utah Jazz

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    Position: Center

    Age: 27

    Experience: 8 Years

    Al Jefferson has long been one of the best big men in the NBA, putting up big numbers and competing well in the spotlight. While the Utah Jazz's early exit in the 2012 postseason may have been discouraging to some, it's likely to do nothing but influence Jefferson's improvement.

    The only reason he's this low is because of Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors, who will both get their touches and playing time. Nevertheless, Jefferson remains a franchise player.

    Projected Season Averages

    19.6 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.6 BPG, 1.1 SPG

28. Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks

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    Position: Center

    Age: 29

    Experience: 11 Years

    Tyson Chandler is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, and for good reason. He's transformed the culture of the New York Knicks from their original "run and gun" tendencies to a team that thrives off of making stops on defense.

    In 2013, expect more of the same.

    Chandler will benefit from a full offseason with the Knicks, as he and Amar'e Stoudemire will form a greater feel for each other's game. He'll also be able to work with young players such as Iman Shumpert, as well superstar Carmelo Anthony, to learn their tendencies on the perimeter to understand the proper positioning necessary to thrive in help-side D.

    Projected Season Averages

    10.1 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 1.7 BPG, 1.2 SPG, 64.5 FG%

27. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 34

    Experience: 10 Years

    The 2012 Western Conference finals saw Manu Ginobili dominate the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, James Harden, and the Oklahoma City Thunder. While his team came up short, Ginobili's three games with 20-plus points, including a 34-point barrage in Game 5, proved that the Argentinian still has it.

    In 2013, expect Ginobili to build off of that success as he and Tony Parker take over for the perennially playoff-bound Spurs. Ginobili will see his minutes rise back to their normal level, as will his production across the board as he reclaims his crown as Sixth Man of the Year.

    Projected Season Averages

    17.1 PPG, 4.7 APG, 4.0 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 40.6 3PT%

26. Steve Nash, Free Agent

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 38

    Experience: 16 Years

    With the Phoenix Suns' first-round selection of point guard Kendall Marshall, it's safe to say that Steve Nash is going elsewhere. Regardless of where the 16-year veteran ends up, don't expect that much of a drop-off in terms of production.

    Steve Nash remains one of the best point guards in the NBA because of his unmatched court vision and facilitating abilities. If anyone were to match or top him, of course, that would be Rajon Rondo—a player whose company alone lets you know how good Nash is.

    Expect another Hall of Fame-caliber season from Steve Nash.

    Projected Season Averages

    11.4 PPG, 11.0 APG, 3.0 RPG, 1.0 SPG

25. James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 22

    Experience: 3 Years

    The reigning Sixth Man of the Year has a lot on the line in 2013. The Arizona State alum coming off of a horrible NBA Finals performance in which he may as well have been left off of the roster. If that's not enough, Harden is in his contract year, and the Thunder may not be able to afford to bring him back.

    Time to step it up.

    Harden will have a great year with the Thunder and prove to the rest of the league why he's such a valuable asset. His scoring will improve, as will his consistency as a shooter, and he'll even improve on the defensive end of things.

    Harden's greatest success will come in crunch time, however, as he joins Kevin Durant as a killer in the clutch.

    Projected Season Averages

    17.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.4 SPG, 41.0 3PT%

24. Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 36

    Experience: 17 Years

    Regardless of how old KG may be, "The Big Ticket" remains an elite player. You know what you're going to get from him.

    He'll produce numbers on both ends, intimidate in the paint and hold a standard of effort that every player on his team will live up to. Consider KG any team's most valuable asset.

    While the legs won't be as fresh and the age may take its toll, Garnett is certainly a quality starter for any team. As he showed in the postseason, he can also be the best player on the floor no matter who the opponent may be.

    Projected Season Averages

    15.3 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.2 BPG, 1.1 SPG

23. Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 25

    Experience: 6 Years

    Rudy Gay has been a player on the cusp of breaking out for three years running. In 2013, it appears that Gay will take a step towards doing so.

    With O.J. Mayo hitting free agency, the Grizzlies' need for Gay's scoring abilities will be at a high. This will lead to more shot attempts and a higher point total for Gay, all the while maintaining a respectable slash line.

    Gay is certainly going to have some votes when it comes to the All-Star Game. He'll deserve placement this year as he leads the Memphis Grizzlies to their best regular season in franchise history.

    Projected Season Averages

    22.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.6 SPG

22. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 20

    Experience: 1 Year

    Kyrie Irving won a well-deserved Rookie of the Year award in 2012. His slash line (.469/.400/.872) was as impressive as any player in the NBA has posted in recent memory. When you acknowledge that Irving remains a pass-first point guard who still scored 18.5 points per game, those numbers become all the more impressive.

    Irving's greatest quality cannot be measured by a statistic. His ability to step up and produce in the clutch is as remarkable as any in the NBA.

    With the arrival of two first-round draft choices, expect those opportunities to shine to come at an even greater pace with talent to keep games close against great opponents.

    Projected Season Averages

    17.1 PPG, 7.2 APG, 4.3 RPG, 1.4 SPG

21. Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks

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    Position: Center

    Age: 26

    Experience: 5 Years

    Al Horford suffered a season-ending injury early in the 2012 regular season, which caused many to forget how good the former Florida star really is. For those unaware, 2013 will let you know what you've missed.

    Al Horford is a very efficient big man who crashes the boards and defends multiple positions. He also happens to have one of the best mid-range jump shots in the entire NBA, regardless of position.

    For those who will watch Horford's healthy abilities for the first time in 2013, prepare for a treat.

    Projected Season Averages

    15.6 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.2 BPG, 1.0 SPG

20. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 23

    Experience: 2 Years

    Most fans believe that Blake Griffin's game is confined to flashy dunks and unbelievable athletic ability. While that belief has traction, Griffin's all-around game is much more developed than most would give it credit for.

    In 2013, Griffin will prove such a statement to be true.

    For Blake Griffin, the sky is the limit. Athletic ability often enables players to achieve anything, and Griffin is as athletic as they come. The Los Angeles Clippers power forward may be ranked too low in the eyes of his fans, but this is a great spot for a player entering just his third year in the league. 

    Projected Season Averages

    22.3 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.8 BPG

19. Monta Ellis, Milwaukee Bucks

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 26

    Experience: 7 Years

    Monta Ellis had yet another great season in 2012, scoring well and facilitating just as efficiently. In 2013, expect Ellis to take that production to the next level as he takes on more of the facilitating duties and emerges as the potential franchise point guard for the Milwaukee Bucks.

    Yes, even with Brandon Jennings on the roster.

    Ellis has always been a fan favorite but has been far too inconsistent to warrant the love. In 2013, he'll finally earn it and make his way onto his first All-Star team.

    Projected Season Averages

    20.3 PPG, 6.7 APG, 3.2 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 45.8 FG%

18. John Wall, Washington Wizards

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 21

    Experience: 2 Years

    John Wall quietly joined elite company in 2012, putting up numbers that were matched by just two players in the NBA. Those numbers include his 16.3 points and 8.0 assists per game. The only other players to average at least 16 points and eight assists were Chris Paul and Deron Williams.

    In 2013, Wall will make the leap in a major way. He now has a consistent perimeter shooter in Bradley Beal, as well as a great pick-and-roll option in Nene Hilario. Expect greater assist totals and a much-improved field-goal percentage due to less of a need to put up contested shots.

    Projected Season Averages

    18.4 PPG, 9.6 APG, 4.9 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 1.2 BPG

17. Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 30

    Experience: 11 Years

    Tony Parker was marvelous in 2012, establishing himself as a legitimate MVP candidate. He led the Manu Ginobili-absent San Antonio Spurs to the best record in the NBA, further helping them in the postseason to a Western Conference finals appearance.

    As he hits this list, one thing becomes clear: The production will carry over to the 2013 season.

    Manu Ginobili seems to be in perfect form, and Tim Duncan is basically a shoo-in to re-sign in San Antonio. Kawhi Leonard is also coming off of a spectacular rookie campaign, for which Tony Parker's facilitating is to thank.

    Parker will once again facilitate and pace the Spurs to victory.

    Projected Season Averages

    17.6 PPG, 8.2 APG, 3.2 RPG, 1.1 SPG, 48.1 FG%

16. LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers

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    Position: Power Forward 

    Age: 26

    Experience: 6 Years

    LaMarcus Aldridge came on strong in the 2012 season, building off of a 2011 campaign in which many feel he was robbed of an All-Star appearance. While the 2012 season brought Aldridge to his first All-Star Game, missing out on the postseason is only going to push Aldridge to take it to the next level.

    In doing so, Aldridge will continue to develop his mid-range game, while resorting to his top-tier low-post attack when need be. This will result in another All-Star appearance and the Blazers' return to the postseason.

    Projected Season Averages

    23.1 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.2 BPG, 1.0 SPG

15. DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 21

    Experience: 2 Years

    DeMarcus Cousins broke out in a major way during the 2012 season, putting up 18.1 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. In 2013, Cousins will finally receive the recognition that he deserves as he aids the Kings in turning their franchise around.

    Cousins is as unstoppable as any big man in the NBA. He's a dominant interior and low-post defender and versatile scorer whose shooting range spans from the paint to the three-point line. He's also a monster on the defensive and offensive glass, enabling the Kentucky alum to alter the pace of any and every game he plays in.

    DeMarcus Cousins is elite, and it's about time you heard about it.

    Projected Season Averages

    20.4 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.7 BPG, 1.4 SPG, 46.7 FG%

14. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 23

    Experience: 4 Years

    Many believe that Russell Westbrook simply can't be a point guard, as his pitiful 5.5 assists per game suggested his reputation as a combo guard fits him well. We quickly forget that Westbrook posted averages of 8.2 assists per game in 2010 and 8.0 in 2011, good for the top 10 in each of those seasons.

    In 2013, expect Westbrook to return to that facilitating form. Kevin Durant is going to continue to improve upon his scoring touch, and the arrival of Perry Jones III offers the Thunder their first true low-post scorer since Jeff Green.

    (Let it be noted that Green is actually a better fit for the 3.)

    Russell Westbrook will post All-Star numbers, make the All-Star Game and, at the end of the season, reach the All-NBA team. His assist numbers will factor into those honors.

    Projected Season Averages

    22.4 PPG, 7.3 APG, 5.5 RPG, 1.8 SPG, 46.3 FG%

13. Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 26

    Experience: 8 Years

    Josh Smith has always been a fan favorite due to his elite athleticism and flashy dunks. In 2012, however, Smith finally took a step towards legitimacy when he found the middle ground between his athletic ability and basketball skills.

    Smith emerged as one of the best defensive players in the league, putting up 1.7 blocks and 1.4 steals per game. He also posted a career-best 9.6 rebounds per game, a number that he shattered with an average of 13.6 in the postseason.

    Josh Smith will take it a step further in 2013, as he finally makes the leap to the top 15.

    Projected Season Averages

    19.6 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 4.9 APG, 2.1 BPG, 1.6 SPG

12. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 34

    Experience: 14 Years

    Dirk Nowitzki is an 11-time All-Star, 12-time All-NBA selection and the 2011 NBA Finals MVP. If you think this guy doesn't have enough left in the tank to lead the Mavericks to another title run, you're clearly off your rocker.

    Nowitzki remains an elite jump shooter whose fadeaway is legitimately impossible to defend. With the addition of elite shot-blocking prospect Bernard James, his attention will finally be redirected towards the offensive end of the floor.

    Expect Dirk to return to form and put up a monster 2013 season.

    Projected Season Averages

    23.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.0 BPG, 0.9 SPG

11. Deron Williams, Free Agent

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 28

    Experience: 7 Years

    Regardless of where Deron Williams ends up, the Illinois alum will firmly establish himself as one of the top 15 players in the NBA.

    From his elite scoring ability to his equally dominant passing skills, D-Will is as tough to defend as anyone in the NBA. Throw in his fearless approach in the clutch and you've got yourself a franchise player. His potential postseason return will take his reputation even further than that.

    Projected Season Averages

    20.4 PPG, 9.1 APG, 3.7 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 45.4 FG%

10. Andrew Bynum, Los Angeles Lakers

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    Position: Center

    Age: 24

    Experience: 7 Years

    Andrew Bynum took a major leap in 2012, seeing improvements of 6.4 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. Bynum also established himself as one of the league's premier interior defenders, tying an NBA postseason record with 10 blocks in one game.

    In 2013, expect Bynum to further his development as he becomes a much more aggressive scorer and responsible defender. This could potentially push the Lakers over the top, giving birth to Kobe-Shaq 2.0.

    Projected Season Averages

    19.6 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 2.3 BPG, 58.1 FG%

9. Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 23

    Experience: 4 Years

    The long-lasting criticisms of Kevin Love have surrounded two areas of his game that he's just never been able to improve upon: his struggle to win games and his startling inability to block a shot. In 2013, Love will take his first step towards curing those woes.

    Love and Nikola Pekovic will now have a full offseason to work together, thus developing an even greater chemistry in the post. This will lead to an elevated level of play on the defensive end, thus bringing Love into the conversation of best player in the NBA.

    While he'll remain a year away from such an honor, Love will take a major step towards classification as elite.

    Projected Season Averages

    26.7 PPG, 13.4 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.1 BPG

8. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 27

    Experience: 7 Years

    Chris Paul has long been one of the best point guards in the NBA. His combination of top-tier scoring ability, defensive prowess and elite passing skills has long separated him from the rest of the pack, which is a trend that could certainly continue in 2013.

    CP3 is poised to take on much more of a pass-first approach, returning to his New Orleans Hornets numbers. Double-digit assists are likely as Paul works a full offseason with his young teammates and develops an even greater chemistry than in previous seasons.

    Chris Paul remains one of the best players and point guards in the NBA. His approach will simply improve the quality of his team and aid the Los Angeles Clippers in emerging as a legitimate title contender.

    Projected Season Averages

    17.6 PPG, 10.1 APG, 3.7 RPG, 2.6 SPG, 38.4 3PT%

7. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 28

    Experience: 9 Years

    After taking 10 giant steps backwards in the first half of the 2012 NBA season, 2013 will see Carmelo Anthony build upon a stellar final two months. The big-time scoring Melo will return, while the Mike Woodson, all-out defense Melo will also make consistent appearances.

    The pressure is on for Melo, as he remains the lone member of the 2003 NBA draft's big three to never win a title. Both Dwyane Wade and LeBron James will stand in his path on the journey to a first ring, but in 2013, Melo may just be prepared.

    The best year of Carmelo Anthony's career is about to begin.

    Projected Season Averages

    27.4 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.3 SPG, 45.6 FG%

6. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 33

    Experience: 16 Years

    What's the best thing about Kobe Bryant being ranked lower than he deserves? You could name all the people with a work ethic equal to Bryant's on one finger.

    If you love basketball, you'll love how Bryant reacts to yet another year of being underestimated.

    In all likelihood, the Los Angeles Lakers will bring in a lead facilitator to take that burden off of Bryant's shoulders. This will open the door for one of the all-time greats to focus on what he does best: scoring the basketball.

    2013 will be an outstanding year for the Lakers' great one.

    Projected Season Averages

    29.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.4 SPG, 45.8 FG%

5. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 30

    Experience: 9 Years

    LeBron James has won his first title, his legacy has been saved, and the Miami Heat have firmly re-established themselves as the best in the league.

    With all of these facts weighed, there's only one conclusion that makes sense: Dwyane Wade is going to go return to form and begin playing like Dwyane Wade.

    Finally.

    After sacrificing the quality of his play for the sake of LeBron James' legacy, Wade has finally found reason to return to form. The shot-blocking, unstoppable slashing and clutch shooting D-Wade will return, and the league will once again call the great debate into question.

    Who is the best shooting guard in the NBA: Kobe or Wade? In 2013, D-Wade will finally pull ahead.

    Projected Season Averages

    23.1 PPG, 5.2 APG, 5.1 RPG, 2.0 SPG, 1.4 BPG

4. Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

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    Position: Center

    Age: 26

    Experience: 8 Years

    The 2012 regular season may have been highlighted by Dwight Howard's trade demands, but we would be foolish to ignore his MVP-caliber season. Howard finished 2012 with averages of 20.6 points, 14.5 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.5 steals per game. That placed Howard as the league leader in rebounds, all the while finishing 10th in points, third in blocks and 14th in steals.

    With all due respect to LeBron James and Tyson Chandler, it would have been hard to argue Dwight Howard's case as MVP and Defensive Player of the Year had he remained healthy.

    In 2013, expect Howard to make a serious push towards his first career MVP award. Regardless of where he ends up, they will be a postseason team and Howard will be the catalyst for such a feat.

    Projected Season Averages

    20.1 PPG, 14.3 RPG, 2.3 APG, 2.6 BPG, 1.4 SPG

3. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 26

    Experience: 6 Years

    Rajon Rondo took a major leap forward in his progression during the 2012 NBA postseason, maintaining his pace with 11.9 assists per game but proving to get over the hump as a scorer. His 17.3 points per game during the playoffs were a career playoff best.

    That's a pace that fans can expect Rondo to maintain.

    The popular belief is that Rajon Rondo "can't shoot." The truth is, Rondo's biggest issue has always been his reluctance and hesitation to shoot when he finally decides to do so. In the postseason, however, Rondo was stroking it.

    Expect the Celtics' franchise player to take the next leap forward and win his first MVP award.

    Projected Season Averages

    16.3 PPG, 12.1 APG, 5.4 RPG, 2.3 SPG, 3.3 TOPG

2. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 23

    Experience: 5 Years

    Kevin Durant is the three-time defending scoring champion. He's also a player who has built on his success in each of his five years in the league. Losing in the first round in 2010, the Western Conference finals in 2011 and NBA Finals in 2012 should give you a fair idea as to what Durant is capable of in 2013.

    Durant is likely to repeat as the scoring champion, improve his rebounding numbers and emerge as more of a point forward in his sixth year in the league. This will open the door for rookie Perry Jones III to see playing time, leading to the most well-rounded and least-pressured season of Durant's career.

    Who do you cover with a lineup of Westbrook-Harden-Durant-Jones III-Ibaka on the floor?

    Projected Season Averages

    29.4 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.7 SPG, 1.2 BPG

1. LeBron James, Miami Heat

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 27

    Experience: 9 Years

    LeBron James is a three-time MVP, eight-time All-Star and, as of this season, an NBA champion. If that doesn't throw fuel on a raging fire, I'm not sure what would.

    LeBron is likely to post another MVP-caliber season from a statistical standpoint. The Heat are poised to finish the season with the best record in the NBA, encourage the world that they can repeat as champions and further pad LeBron James' legacy as the best regular-season performer of our time.

    While all dreams can be shattered, it's likely that James continues this pace. The MVP award may go elsewhere, but no one will debate who the best in the world truly is.

    Projected Season Averages

    28.3 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 6.6 APG, 1.7 SPG, 1.0 BPG

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