7 Current Under-the-Radar Names Who Will Be Next Big NBA Stars
When judging talent in the NBA, it's important to look at more than just the average statistics.
For example, mystery player A averaged 7.6 points and 1.3 assists per game his rookie season. He only started six games total and saw the court an average of 15.5 minutes per game.
On the outside, few would have ever predicted this player to be a star.
However, this is just what he turned out to be. This mystery player is none other than Kobe Bryant, a former under-the-radar name that quickly became one of the most recognized figures in all of sports.
While there may not be another Kobe hidden on an NBA roster right now, there are plenty of names the casual basketball fan would not recognize that could very well turn into stars with the right opportunity.
Here are seven lesser known NBA players just waiting to break out.
Enes Kanter, Utah Jazz
Steve Dykes/Getty Images
Years in NBA: 1
Height/Weight: 6'11", 260 pounds
Stats Per 36 Minutes: 12.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 0.9 blocks, 14.5 PER, .496 FG%
The third-overall pick in 2011 by the Jazz, Kanter hasn't yet made a name for himself in the public eye.
During his only year at the University of Kentucky, Kanter was ruled ineligible because of money he took playing overseas briefly before he came to UK.
Getting drafted by Utah doesn't exactly get one in the public eye, either.
No matter, as those who have seen Kanter work out know he's a very mobile big who can bang down low or step outside to knock down a shot.
He's already proven to be a big time rebounder but has struggled with playing time due to the Jazz's plethora of talented big men.
Paul George, Indiana Pacers
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Years in NBA: 2
Height/Weight: 6'8", 210 pounds
Stats Per 36 Minutes: 14.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.0 steals, 16.5 PER
More than just an athletic scorer, George is already the Pacers best perimeter defender and can guard multiple positions with his size and mobility.
Often overshadowed by fellow teammates Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert and David West, George could easily end up having the best career out of the bunch.
His 108 total steals in 2011-12 was good for sixth in the entire NBA. Now just going into his third season in the league, expect big things from George and the Pacers.
Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Years in NBA: 6
Height/Weight: 6'0", 175 pounds
Stats Per 36 Minutes: 16.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.7 steals, 18.9 PER
Lowry has put together a few nice seasons recently, but often goes unmentioned when talking about the game's best point guards.
Now is his chance to prove himself, as a trade to the Toronto Raptors has put him in a good position to lead a young nucleus of talent.
Paired with DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, Andrea Bargnani, Jonas Valanciunas and others, Lowry needs to assume the leadership role and build on his already impressive overall game.
His stats are nice, but leading Toronto to the playoffs could very well make Lowry a star.
Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Years in NBA: 1
Height/Weight: 6'8", 228 pounds
Stats Per 36 Minutes: 16.4 points, 12.2 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 21.9 PER, .586 FG%
Faried was truly an animal in the second half with the Nuggets last season, surprising most as a little known prospect from Morehead State University.
Some would argue he's been the second best player in the 2011 draft class behind Kyrie Irving, already showing incredible hustle and rebounding whenever he's in the game.
Denver has a great collection of young talent, and Faried may very well become their heart and soul for years to come.
Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Years in NBA: 2
Height/Weight: 6'10", 246 pounds
Stats Per 36 Minutes: 14.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, 17.1 PER
The second young big man for the Jazz to make this list, Favors is also cursed by landing on a team with established stars in Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson.
Coming over in a trade for Deron Williams, Favors has shown flashes of stardom and can play either post position with his great length and athleticism.
Favors can also get nasty on the defensive end as evidenced by his 11.1 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.0 steals given starters minutes.
His 11.8 points and 9.8 rebounds in 29 minutes of play per game against the San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs may be a sign of more playing time for Favors, as he only received 17.1 minutes during the regular season.
Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets
Harry How/Getty Images
Years in NBA: 3
Height/Weight: 5'11", 195 pounds
Stats Per 36 Minutes: 16.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 1.4 steals, 19.4 PER
The second Nugget on this list, Lawson is quickly becoming a leader his team can depend on.
Nearly leading Denver to an opening round playoff sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers last season, Lawson saved his best games for the playoffs, averaging 19 points on 51.4 percent shooting.
Hoping to pick up where he and the Nuggets left off, Lawson should only benefit with newly acquired swingman Andre Iguodala from Philadelphia.
If the Nuggets can make it past the first round this season, Lawson will almost certainly be heralded as a star.
Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Years in NBA: 2
Height/Weight: 6'11", 253 pounds
Stats Per 36 Minutes: 17.6 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 22.0 PER, .521 FG%
Monroe may be the best player that almost no one talks about.
The former Georgetown standout is the latest in the lineage of talented big men the Hoyas produce.
Monroe made a nice jump in nearly all major statistical categories last season while playing somewhat out of position at center.
A natural power forward, Monroe gets to return to the position thanks to the Pistons drafting of Andre Drummond to play center.
Look for Monroe to have an even bigger year now that he's going up against players much smaller and thinner than he's used to.
Statistically the most efficient player on this list, look for Monroe to truly have a breakout season in 2012-2013.