5 NBA Players Poised for a Breakout 2012-13 Campaign
Whether it be from a draft, a free-agent pool or even another team, NBA scouts are always looking out for that prospect with a "high ceiling."
Potential is one of those intangibles that can cause a player who performed poorly the previous year to catapult in power rankings for many coaches and analysts.
Having a player who breaks out and becomes a star—seemingly overnight—is one of the aspects of the NBA that makes the league fun to watch.
Last season, Jeremy Lin and Ryan Anderson were two of the players who broke out and went from sitting the bench to being two of the best at their respective positions in the entire league.
The shuffle of free agency has caused quite a few roster spots to open up, and for some people, that means more playing time and the chance to be great.
As the NBA Summer League progresses, everyone is looking out for what players are aiming to have breakout seasons and fulfill their dreams of becoming basketball stars.
Evan Turner is a player who has garnered a lot more criticism than what he has truly deserved.
Though he has certainly not lived up to expectations at this point in his NBA career, the former second overall pick is beginning to show why the Philadelphia 76ers drafted him in 2010.
At 6'7" and 210 pounds, Turner offers a rare Brandon Roy-like versatility that allows him to play both guard slots, as well as small forward. Having Turner play in the 2-guard spot automatically gives the 76ers an advantage, as he can dominate smaller opponents while using his speed to keep up with them on defense.
On the other hand, even though he may be on the small side for a forward, Turner has superb body control and has the size and strength to finish through contact. In college Turner averaged 9.2 rebounds per game, and if he can bring this board-snatching ability to the NBA next year, the 76ers will be much better off.
In terms of opportunities for him to succeed, Turner will receive much more playing time next year with Lou Williams gone. Doug Collins has already announced that Turner will start in the backcourt next year, along with Jrue Holiday.
Holiday's playmaking ability combined with a breakout season for Evan Turner will launch the 76ers to the top of the league, where hopefully they can make a deeper playoff run next year.
Selected with the 12th overall pick in 2011, the University of Colorado's Alec Burks was thought by many to be the shooting guard with the highest ceiling in the draft class, if not the best overall.
Burks has facets to his game that are becoming pretty rare in the NBA today, and that's what makes him valuable. He's not a spot up shooter, like so many 2-guards are today.
Burks' game consists of a tremendous slashing ability and a solid mid-range game. His length and ball-handling skills, combined with his athleticism allow him to penetrate and score easily. If Burks can add more range to his jump shot, he will become a very potent threat on offense.
Because of the vacuum at the guard positions the past few years due to the Deron Williams trade, Burks will probably get a chance to prove that he can compete at a high level for the Jazz next year.
In the first game of the NBA Summer League, Burks scored 31 points, and if he can continue to perform, Tyrone Corbin will be glad to get him in the starting lineup alongside Mo Williams.
Originally selected in the second round of the 2008 draft by the Spurs, Dragic spent three seasons with the Suns backing up Steve Nash. He obviously wasn't given much of a chance with the two-time MVP commanding the floor.
However, now that Nash is with the Lakers, Goran Dragic has been given the opportunity to break out and become a shining hope on a less-than-spectacular Suns team.
Over the past few years, Dragic has displayed his talents, giving the Phoenix and Houston fans bursts of incredible scoring and playmaking ability.
His skills have especially been showcased in a few games; most notably, game 3 of the 2010 Western Conference semifinals. Dragic scored 23 of his total 26 points in the fourth quarter, which included five three-pointers and a four-point play. Dragic almost single-handedly led the Suns back from an 18-point deficit to get the win and take a 3-0 lead over the Spurs.
Dragic plays a very European style of play, full of agility, finesse and a lot of sneakiness. We all know this style can be efficient in the NBA (just ask Manu Ginobili), and we're just waiting for Dragic to show us that he can perform on a consistent basis.
Now that he's been given the starting point guard role for the Phoenix Suns, next year will undoubtedly be the breakout season we've been waiting for.
Instead of taking the traditional path of most young, budding basketball players and enrolling in college, 21-year-old Jeremy Tyler forwent his senior year of high school and signed with the Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli Super League.
A year later, Tyler found himself with the Tokyo Apache in Japan, where he began to make a name for himself as an 18-year-old man-child.
Though he rode the bench for much of his international career, Tyler grew during his time overseas, both as a player and as a man.
Questions about his maturity came up before last year's draft, but Tyler answered all of them in a recent interview with Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle. During the interview, Tyler discussed how humbling his journey has been, and how much he has grown thanks to his experiences.
There is no doubt that Tyler has reached the maturity level to be a professional basketball player, but the big man still has a lot to prove on the court.
The 6'10" 260-pound center has an extremely high ceiling, similarly to fellow big man Andre Drummond.
With a 7'5" wing span and a 9'2" standing reach, Tyler is a natural shot blocker and a pure rebounder. As for his offensive game, Tyler easily has the body and the athleticism to pound the ball in the low-post with the toughest of big men. He's also developed a consistent mid-range game, with a 17-foot jumper that only continues to improve.
Although Andrew Bogut and David Lee are slotted to start in the front court for Golden State in the 2012-13 campaign, both are injury-prone and Tyler may get the chance to prove himself early on.
Mark Jackson undoubtedly has confidence in Tyler, as he even gave the young center a starting spot late last season. If he is given the opportunity, look out for Jeremy Tyler to excel for the Warriors next season.
Though he played overseas for some time, Nicolas Batum's official NBA career began in 2008, and just about everybody has been waiting for him to break out ever since then.
The 2012-2013 campaign will be the season that Batum does just that.
As The Associated Press reported that Batum will remain with the Blazers this offseason (via ESPN), next year will be the Frenchman's fifth in Portland. Every year, Batum's statistics have steadily improved and he averaged career highs last season with 13.9 PPG and 4.6 RPG.
The 6'8" swingman is another player with incredible versatility, as he is able to play shooting guard, small forward and some power forward.
Batum's shown that he's consistent from mid-range as well as three-point land, two valuable attributes for a forward who also has the ability to post up.
His tremendous length allows Batum to harass smaller opponents on defense as well as rise up over them for a jump shot. His style is very Kevin Durant-esque, but Batum excels more on defense, while Durant is more of a pure scorer. Batum's high basketball IQ allows him to anticipate very well on D, and highlight blocked shots and steals are a result.
The 2012 Olympic Games will be the perfect setting to show why the Portland Trailblazers wanted to resign Batum so badly, and if he can perform well in London, the swingman will find himself gaining a lot more playing time next season.
Last season saw Nic Batum start most games for Nate McMillan, and next season should show him emerge as both a leader on the court as well as a perennial All-Star.