Michael Beasley and 5 Troubled Players Who Will Turn It Around in 2013

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIIJuly 8, 2012

Michael Beasley and 5 Troubled Players Who Will Turn It Around in 2013

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    The opportunity of a lifetime is not fulfilled by feats of physical ability. On the contrary, the ability to perform when it matters most hinges directly upon one's mental toughness.

    Early in a player's career, the ups and downs can often be too much to handle. The pressure can be overwhelming and a young man's decision-making both on and off the court can be detrimental to a player's progression.

    Just allow yourself to believe in an NBA player's ability to turn things around.

    As the 2013 NBA season shapes up, expect more than a handful of once troubled players to bounce back. From off the court issues to on-court struggles, each and every one of these players will have something to prove, everything to lose and even more to gain.

    So who should we keep our eyes on?

Michael Beasley, Phoenix Suns

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    Position: Forward

    Age: 23

    Experience: 4 Years


    2012 Season Averages

    13.11 PER, 11.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.0 APG, 37.6% 3PT


    What to Expect in 2013

    Michael Beasley hit the jackpot this offseason, signing a three-year deal with the Phoenix Suns worth $18 million. More important than the money, however, is the fact that Beasley has what he needs to thrive: the opportunity to be the best player on his team.

    While Kevin Love was the clear favorite to own the rights to that claim in 2011, Michael Beasley thrived in the situation. Beasley took on the role of "best scorer" with pride as he averaged a solid 19.2 points per game. Even though Love eventually overtook him, the necessary padding of the ego was there.

    In Phoenix, Beasley would once again be the player who the offense runs through.

    Goran Dragic and Kendall Marshall will combine to divy out the passes when and where they need to be placed. Eric Gordon could potentially bring a scoring threat at the 2 to open up opportunities for Beasley, whose well-rounded play in 2011 had many singing his praises.

    In Phoenix, the praise will continue. Michael Beasley will show the world why he was the second overall draft choice.

    Projected 2013 Season Averages

    20.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.9 BPG, 39.2% 3PT

Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 30

    Experience: 10 Years


    2012 Season Averages

    19.79 PER, 15.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.0 SPG


    What to Expect in 2013

    Since arriving in Chicago, fans have labeled Carlos Boozer as the poster child for mega deals gone wrong. What seems to elude these fans, however, is that Boozer ranked 10th in the NBA in field goal percentage and 10th amongst power forwards in terms of rebounds per game.

    Pair in his PER of 19.79, which ranks 15th amongst power forwards and in the Top 50 of all NBA players, and you have a very solid player in your starting lineup. The issue is, he makes more money than solid rankings suggest.

    Boozer should be producing like a superstar.

    In 2013, expect Boozer to redeem himself. With Derrick Rose out of the lineup, Boozer will take on the scoring load as he finds his 20 point per game form early and often. While his average will hover slightly lower than 20 per contest, the numbers he post will go a long way towards encouraging Bulls fans to believe in his belonging.

    If nothing else, it will postpone the trade talks.

    Projected 2013 Season Averages

    18.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.8 BPG

Raymond Felton, Free Agent

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 28

    Experience: 7 Years


    2012 Season Averages

    13.46 PER, 11.4 PPG, 6.5 APG, 2.5 RPG, 1.3 SPG


    What to Expect in 2013

    Raymond Felton had a down year in 2012, failing to capitalize on a half-year with the Knicks in which he averaged 17.1 points and 9.0 assists. With that being said, his down year included averages of 6.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game.

    Hardly less than desirable numbers from a point guard in the league. Hardly what you'd expect after Felton's breakout 2011.

    In 2012, expect Felton to re-discover his passing touch. He remains one of the quickest players in the league and showed how dynamic he could be upon the firing of head coach Nate McMillan, whom he had battled with throughout 2012.

    Regardless of where he goes, Felton will play his way onto the court and contribute in a major way.

    Projected 2013 Season Averages

    13.1 PPG, 7.8 APG, 2.4 RPG, 1.7 SPG

Wesley Johnson, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 24

    Experience: 2 Years


    2012 Season Averages

    8.08 PER, 22.6 MPG, 6.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 0.7 BPG


    What to Expect in 2013

    With the acquisition of both Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger, the Minnesota Timberwolves have bolstered their perimeter and added some much-needed depth at the 2. As a result, the fourth overall draft choice in the 2010 NBA draft, Wesley Johnson, can move back to his proper position at small forward.

    Johnson is a solid athlete who is strong on the defensive perimeter. His jump shot is decent, but far too heavily relied upon. This comes as a result of Johnson playing the 2 in 2012, where he was clearly out of position.

    Johnson is much better fit for the wing. His athletic ability and underrated power fits the position well, while his height and length establish him as a legitimate threat. With both Roy and Budinger taking over the duties at the 2, expect Johnson to capitalize on such physical gifts.

    For those questioning his potential playing, it's hard to fathom Derrick Williams being given immediate starter's minutes after struggling through his rookie campaign. Johnson will get his opportunities early and capitalize often.

    Projected 2013 Season Averages

    26.0 MPG, 13.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.1 BPG

O.J. Mayo, Free Agent

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 24

    Experience: 4 Years


    2012 Season Averages

    14.76 PER, 12.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.1 SPG


    What to Expect in 2013

    For those who missed out on the fun, O.J. Mayo is a lethal jump shooter who attacks the basket off of the dribble better than most. Of course, 'is' can properly be referred to as 'was' for those who missed out on the form he displayed in 2009 and 2010.

    In 2013, expect a blast from the past.

    While many will view Mayo's time as the backup in Memphis as time poorly spent, Mayo was learning from the era's best perimeter defender: Tony Allen. While we could pick and choose Mayo's poor performances, it's worth noting that he came back from a mental collapse in 2011 to post a solid 2012 campaign.

    He adapted to the role of reserve point guard and maintained solid point per 48 minute averages. This coming season, expect the player Mayo was drafted to emerge. 

    Projected 2013 Season Averages

    20.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.3 SPG, 40.4% 3PT

Amar'e Stoudemire, New York Knicks

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 29

    Experience: 10 Years


    2012 Season Averages

    17.73 PER, 17.5 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.0 BPG


    What to Expect in 2013

    Statistically speaking, 2012 was far from a disappointment for a player on a team stacked with stars. When you consider the fact that Amar'e Stoudemire failed to find his comfort zone at any point in the season, which was marred by injuries and disappointing decisions, things can only go up from here.

    And they will.

    For the first time since Carmelo Anthony arrived in New York, Amar'e Stoudemire will know his role. While he certainly has a lead scorer's ability, he's in a situation in which his presence is more valuable than his talent. With Jason Kidd potentially taming Jeremy Lin's wild side, this will lead to more than a handful of pick-and-roll opportunities each game.

    Most importantly, it will lead to plenty of back-to-the-basket opportunities for Stoudemire to impose his will and create a legitimate low-high game between he and 'Melo.


    Projected 2013 Season Averages

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