10 NBA Players Who Will Have Breakout Seasons in 2012-'13
The best part about the NBA is that it never stops. Even in the offseason, there is a ridiculous amount of drama. With new players, arenas, jerseys, and coaches, this coming season will provide a lot of excitement.
As new season gets closer, players become faced with new responsibilities. Some players may be asked to take on bigger roles, while others may be asked to take on smaller roles than what they are used to.
Last year we saw the emergence of an unlikely star, Jermey Lin, as well as a devastating playoff injury to one of league's best, Derrick Rose.
What will this year bring?
It is impossible to tell who will emerge as the next superstar, but the following players have the best chance to take basketball fans by storm and to make a new name for themselves.
John Wall, Washington Wizards
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As if the horrific jerseys weren't enough, the Wizards have left John Wall with absolutely no supporting talent for the past two years. Getting drafted to the Wizards was the worst possible scenario for John Wall, as he has been the only glimmer of hope in D.C.
Now, with a perimeter shooter (Bradley Beal) and a pick-and-roll big man (Nene Hilario), John Wall will finally get a chance to step back into the spotlight.
2012-2013 Stat Projections: 18.1 PPG, 10.2 APG, 4.2 RPG
Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers
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Andre Iguodala doesn't get enough credit. He is an elite perimeter defender as well as an efficient transition scorer. He has the ability to play and defend most positions on the court due to his strength and athleticism.
The 76ers are often looked at as a well balanced, young team with no star. Iguodala wants to be that guy. He wants the ball late in the game. He wants to be the team leader. And he wants to be the one with the ball in his hands during the final minute. This will be the year he distinguishes himself.
He still needs to a lot of work on his efficiency in the half court game in order to push himself towards this elite level. He has the capability to do so, and with new faces in Philly, like Nick Young and Dorell Wright, Iguodala has the chance to step up and have a breakout season.
2012-2013 Stat Projections: 16.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 4.9 APG, 1.2 SPG
O.J. Mayo, Free Agent
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After his time at USC, Mayo had many people thinking he would have instant success in the NBA. As a Memphis Grizzly, Mayo has never been utilized to his full potential and has not played up to the hype. Now a free agent, Mayo will likely go to a team in need of his talent. This will be Mayo's first true opportunity to take on some responsibility as a player.
Give Mayo a new team, and he will shine.
2012-2013 Stat Projections: 18.9 PPG, 3.8 APG, 4.2 RPG, 1.2 SPG
Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets
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Everybody get ready. The 2012-2013 season marks the first time that Deron Williams will actually have significant talent surrounding him. Finally with a team of talented players, Williams will have a chance to emerge as an MVP candidate on a team that wouldn't completely self destruct without him.
However, he does need a bench to give him a breath.
2012-2013 Stat Projection: 21.8 PPG, 8.9 APG, 3.9 RPG, 1.5 SPG
Mike Conley Jr., Memphis Grizzlies
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Conley is the one person on this list whose career will have the largest turnaround after this coming season. As of, Conley is not that well recognized. He is not considered in the top tier at his position, and he never really appears on Sportscenter highlights.
All that is about to change. Conley is one of the best perimeter defending point guards in the league. He can shut down star players when it matters, and can do everything he is expected to do. Surrounded by young talent in Memphis and (hopefully) a healthy Zach Randolph, Conley will make a name for himself. Instead of just being "that guy who played with Greg Oden at Ohio State", Conley will become a highly sought-after point guard.
2012-2013 Stat Projections: 15.1 PPG, 8.4 APG, 3.0 RPG
Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets
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After last season, I bet most of the 18 teams that passed on Ty Lawson in the 2009 draft are feeling remorseful. Lawson was able to put his blazing speed on display in the playoffs last season, as he led the Nuggets to seven games against the Lakers. On a team that most people didn't expect to have any success, Lawson was the team's leading scorer and reason for success.
2012-2013 will be more of the same. With his confidence from last season, Lawson will not be afraid to take on responsibility in Denver and he will emerge as the team's leader. With high praise and expectations, Lawson will shine in the light, just as he did at North Carolina.
2012-2013 Stat Projections: 20.1 PPG, 8.1 APG, 3.6 RPG, 1.0 SPG
Eric Gordon, Free Agent
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The basketball world was stripped of excitement last year when Eric Gordon was sidelined for most of the season. Now healthy, Gordon is a superstar waiting to hatch. Even though he appears undersized, Gordon plays with physicality and can attack the basket.
If the Hornets match the Sun's offer, they can certainly make the playoffs. With rookies Austin Rivers and Anthony Davis, the Hornets have enough talent to make a push.
2012-2013 Stat Projections: 22.3 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.5 SPG
Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies
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For each of the past three years, it seemed as though Rudy Gay would finally break out. With O.J. Mayo gone, Gay has had his expectations heightened in Memphis, making this the "make it or break it" year for Rudy Gay. Gay has the capabilities to be an all-star level player, and will have to prove so this year.
With more shot opportunities and a great slash to the basket ability, Gay will answer the call and lead the Grizz back to the playoffs.
2012-2013 Stat Projections: 22.8 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.2 SPG
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings
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After Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum, DeMarcus Cousins will emerge as the best center in the game. With his immense size, tough physicality, and tenacious athleticism, Cousins is able to overmatch most of his opponents. He attacks the basket ferociously on both the offensive and defensive sides of the board. In just his second season, he was able to average about 11 rebounds a night.
Cousins' one glaring flaw is his lack of maturity and overall attitude towards his team. Once he gets into his groove and accepts his place, he will be one tough player.
2012-2013 Stat Projections: 19.9 PPG, 11.9 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.9 BPG
Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
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Yes, last year was pretty much a break out year for Rondo, but this year will be a whole new level.
Rondo has been showing signs of an improved jump shot, which will finally make him a complete guard. He put on a show throughout the duration of the playoffs, and proved that he should be in the discussion for best point guard in the league.
The Celtics drafted two solid big man in Fab Melo and Jared Sullinger, giving Rondo some size to dish the ball to. Ray Allen will be missed,but there are plenty of familiar faces back in Boston. This year, Rondo will continue his emergence as a superstar, and perhaps even an MVP.
2012-2013 Stat Projections: 16.1 PPG, 13.0 APG, 5.7 RPG, 2.1 SPG