2012-13 NBA Predictions: 10 Players Who Will Break Out This Year
Every year, the NBA provides us with some players who break out, and in some cases, alter the course of their careers.
Last year's big breakout player came out of nowhere. Jeremy Lin likely won't come anywhere near recreating the magic he displayed in New York last year, but his big season earned him a huge four-year deal with the Houston Rockets.
Which young player is due for a breakout season in 2012-13? Who will set themselves up to land their first huge NBA contract?
Here are 10 players I think have a shot to break out and predictions for their stats during this upcoming season...
O.J. Mayo: Dallas Mavericks
2011-12 Stats: 12.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists in 26.8 minutes per game
2012-13 Prediction: 20.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists in 32 minutes per game
O.J. Mayo is the first of a few players on this list whom I'm expecting to break out again.
In his first two years, Mayo averaged 18 points a game and looked to be on his way to becoming one of the league's truly explosive scorers.
In his third and fourth seasons, he was relegated to the bench, and his minutes were drastically slashed. The result was a significant decrease in scoring and profile.
This year, Mayo has a great chance to bounce back as he'll almost certainly be the starting shooting guard and second scoring option for the Dallas Mavericks.
Mayo is also on essentially a one-year deal (as the second season can be picked up by a team option). He'll need to perform well to secure a lucrative deal.
J.J. Redick: Orlando Magic
2011-12 Stats: 11.6 points, 2.5 assists, 2.3 rebounds in 27.2 minutes per game
2012-13 Prediction: 16.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists in 30 minutes per game
That being the case, someone will have to step up and try to take on some of the scoring that Howard, Ryan Anderson (signed by the Hornets) and Jason Richardson (who was also dealt) did last year.
Orlando did pick up Arron Afflalo, so Redick may still be coming off the bench, but he is undoubtedly one of the best offensive weapons this team will have next season.
Kenneth Faried: Denver Nuggets
2011-12 Stats: 10.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1 block in 22.5 minutes per game
2012-13 Prediction: 14.5 points, 11.2 rebounds, 1.9 blocks in 29 minutes per game
Kenneth Faried is an important part of one of the most exciting young cores in the league. Because he has one of the best motors in the NBA, he saw his minutes steadily increase over the course of the season.
Now, with Al Harrington in Orlando, the power forward slot is firmly in Faried's grasp (just like most loose balls that come anywhere near him).
He averaged over 13 rebounds a game for three consecutive seasons in college and pulled down more than 12 per 36 minutes as a rookie last year. I'd be surprised if he doesn't average a double-double in 2012-13.
Josh Selby: Memphis Grizzlies
2011-12 Stats: 2.3 points, 1.1 assists in 8.5 minutes per game
2012-13 Prediction: 10.5 points, 3.6 assists in 20 minutes per game
Because of his lack of production in year one, it wouldn't take much for Selby's sophomore campaign to be considered a breakout year.
But that's not the only reason he's on this list.
With O.J. Mayo now on the Dallas Mavericks' roster, Selby may be able to assume the role he left behind.
He was the MVP of this year's summer league, averaging over 24 points a game and hitting 64 percent of his three-point attempts.
Selby will likely have to compete with Jerryd Bayless for minutes, but no matter how things shake out, his production should be way up from last year.
Anthony Davis: New Orleans Hornets
2011-12 Stats: N/A
2012-13 Prediction: 12.2 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.6 blocks in 30 minutes per game
As a rookie, Davis may not technically fit the theme of this list, but he just seems too ready to break out for me to keep him off.
He was already the favorite for Rookie of the Year, but adding the Olympic experience to Davis' resume should make us all even more excited for his first year in the NBA.
From opening tip of the first game, he'll be the Hornets' best rebounder and shot-blocker.
Thaddeus Young: Philadelphia 76ers
2011-12 Stats: 12.8 points, 5.2 rebounds in 27.9 minutes per game
2012-13 Prediction: 16.6 points, 7.1 rebounds in 33 minutes per game
Like O.J. Mayo, this season could be something of a "re-breakout" season for Thaddeus Young.
In his second season, Young averaged over 15 points a game, but his numbers went down along with his minutes over the next few years.
With Elton Brand now in Dallas, Young should get some of those minutes back.
Michael Beasley: Phoenix Suns
2011-12 Stats: 11.5 points, 4.4 rebounds in 23.1 minutes per game
2012-13 Prediction: 19.5 points, 6.9 rebounds in 32 minutes per game
For the third and final time, we have a candidate to break out for a second time in his career. Beasley averaged over 19 points a game two seasons ago (his first in Minnesota), but was relegated to a much smaller role last year.
Now in Phoenix, Beasley could very well be the No. 1 scoring option. He may have some competition for that role from Luis Scola or Marcin Gortat, but he's a more gifted scorer than either of those big men.
Gordon Hayward: Utah Jazz
2011-12 Stats: 11.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists in 30.5 minutes per game
2012-13 Prediction: 15.2 points, 5.1 assists, 3.5 rebounds in 31 minutes per game
The biggest thing holding Gordon Hayward back right now is his attitude. He has the ability to be a very effective scorer, but he's overly passive on offense.
There was a visible increase in Hayward's confidence from year one to two, and I expect another step in the right direction in year three.
Omer Asik: Houston Rockets
2011-12 Stats: 5.3 rebounds, 3.1 points, 1 block in 14.7 minutes per game
2012-13 Prediction: 10.2 rebounds, 7.9 points, 1.8 blocks in 27 minutes per game
Asik averaged a very impressive 13 rebounds per 36 minutes coming off the bench for the Bulls last year.
His rebounding and defensive abilities got him a big contract from the Rockets, and he's the clear favorite to start at center for his new team. With starter's minutes, and little talent around him, Asik could average a double-double this year.
Klay Thompson: Golden State Warriors
2011-12 Stats: 12.5 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2 assists in 24.4 minutes per game
2012-13 Prediction: 16.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists in 30 minutes per game
Klay Thompson really started his break out campaign last year. He averaged 17 points a game after the All-Star break and nearly 19 a game during the month of April.
Over that second half of the season, he solidified his role as the team's starting shooting guard (so much so, that the Warriors were able to trade Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut). That role will certainly be his this year as well.
Thompson is a great shooter (41 percent from three-point range last year) and should get even more looks during his second season if Bogut stays healthy and draws some more defensive attention inside.