10 Under-the-Radar NBA Players Who Will Be 2012-13 Training Camp Stars
Training camp is the time for established players to hone their games and under-the-radar ones to break out. These 10 players fall into the second category and will emerge as stars for their respective teams.
Some are underrated rookies who fell down during the draft-day proceedings. Some are veterans who haven't been in the news much lately.
They'll all become standouts during camp, even if they won't all stand out during the regular season. A few of these players will start for their respective teams, while others are still working on carving out their roles.
Remember, this is the NBA. Amazing things happen here. Don't be surprised when these 10 emerge.
Team: Detroit Pistons
2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 14.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.3 blocks, 1.3 steals (for Missouri)
Vitals: 6'6", 200 pounds
Kim English shot up big boards leading up to the 2012 NBA draft and ended up being selected by the Detroit Pistons at No. 44. Since then, he's been forgotten about by most NBA fans.
That will change after a dominant showing at training camp in which he establishes himself as the primary backup to Rodney Stuckey. English will finally have a chance to show off his intelligence, picking up the new system sooner than the other new additions to the Pistons.
With his rock-solid shot from the perimeter, especially in catch-and-shoot situations, English will quickly prove that he's a valuable commodity off the Detroit bench.
Team: Sacramento Kings
2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 7.6 points, 1.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.0 blocks, 0.5 steals
Vitals: 6'2", 195 pounds
Training camp exists for players like Jimmer Fredette to show off. After all, this talented young point guard can flat-out shoot the basketball.
Whether he's hoisting up mid-range shots or jumpers from Jimmer Range, the former BYU superstar will excel in any and all shooting drills, once more filling the minds of NBA talent evaluators with dreams of the future for this young guard.
Will it be enough for Jimmer to move up in the crowded Sacramento Kings backcourt? Probably not, but he might just increase his trade value enough to get a fresh start elsewhere.
Jimmer struggled during live action during the 2011-12 season, but he's still in possession of his phenomenal shooting form, as indicated by his 30-point performance during summer league.
Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 10.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.3 blocks, 1.3 steals
Vitals: 6'6", 219 pounds
Alonzo Gee recently signed a multi-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers and is now set to become the starting small forward for the up-and-coming team.
The most athletic player on the roster, Gee broke out in a big way during the 2011-12 season, averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists and steals. In 31 games as a starter, Gee was even more impressive than his overall season stats would indicate.
With high-flying dunk after high-flying dunk, Gee won over crowds. Expect more of the same during training camp as he proves that he's a lock for the starting five.
Someone has to step up if the Cavs are going to make the playoffs in the near future, and Gee has the ability to be that man.
Team: Boston Celtics
2010-11 Per-Game Stats: 13.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.5 blocks, 0.7 steals (for Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder)
Vitals: 6'9", 235 pounds
It's amazing that a player as talented as Jeff Green has managed to fly under the radar, but this combo-forward for the Boston Celtics has done exactly that. An aortic aneurysm kept him out for the duration of the 2011-12 season, and he's only been in the news when it was reported that he'd signed a long-term deal.
Now cleared to play, it's time for Green to prove that he was worth all of the money.
Formerly with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Green gives the C's an element of athleticism that they haven't had in a while. He can run the floor with Rajon Rondo and pose a significant threat in transition.
Green's development took a detour due to his unfortunate medical condition, but he's ready to go now, and training camp will be his first opportunity to show off his skills.
Team: Atlanta Hawks
2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 6.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.3 blocks, 0.8 steals
Vitals: 6'8", 230 pounds
Ivan Johnson's trademark intensity will serve him well as he attempts to carve out an even bigger role with the Atlanta Hawks. A physical player who goes to work with his heart on the sleeve during every play, Johnson will simply work harder than everyone else.
The power forward isn't a particularly skilled finesse player, but his power game makes up for any lack of technique. His constant effort and relentless physical presence are indispensable to a team without too much depth in the frontcourt.
Johnson will never blow anyone away with his game, but that never-ending hustle will make him into a training camp star for the Hawks.
Team: Oklahoma City Thunder
2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 4.2 points, 1.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.0 blocks, 0.6 steals
Vitals: 6'3", 175 pounds
Eric Maynor missed all but nine games of the 2011-12 campaign with the Oklahoma City Thunder after he tore his right ACL just a short way into the season. He wasn't able to break out, and he certainly wasn't able to help the Thunder work their way through the postseason.
Ever since he left VCU for The Association, Maynor has been waiting to make good on his tantalizing potential.
The pain of sitting out for an entire season and watching his teammates compete in the 2012 NBA Finals might be the push necessary to make him a valuable commodity off the bench.
He must show that his shooting selection is going to be better to truly break out, but stranger things have happened.
Team: Utah Jazz
2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 20.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.2 blocks, 0.8 steals
Vitals: 6'6", 185 pounds
Although this will be his first true foray into the realm of elite basketball, Kevin Murphy has all the tools necessary to succeed. His strength and speed could both stand to improve, but he has a tremendous perimeter game.
Additionally, Murphy's 6'6" frame helps him shoot over the top of smaller defenders, particularly when he lets it fly from deep behind the three-point line. He can score in one-on-one situations, spot-up opportunities and transition changes.
A capable defender, this former Tennessee Tech standout is ready to prove to the Utah Jazz that he's the next big draft steal.
Forget about small-school bias because Murphy will make you regret ever betting against him if you choose to do so.
Team: Detroit Pistons
2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 8.0 points, 2.4 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.3 blocks, 0.5 steals (for Real Madrid)
Vitals: 6'8", 230 pounds
Going to Real Madrid during the NBA lockout and then staying there throughout the 2011-12 campaign may end up being one of the best decisions of Kyle Singler's basketball career.
Now, he has a full year of professional experience under his belt before he first steps foot onto the NBA hardcourt for training camp. According to the Associated Press, Singler recognizes that some people associated with the Detroit Pistons were unhappy with the decision, although he stands by what he chose to do:
I knew they were upset, a little disappointed. The bottom line was that I was a little selfish, I wanted the best for myself, I wanted to be happy.
Singler is still the same all-around player he was before going to Spain. A cerebral player who can do all the little things on the basketball court, the former Duke Blue Devil will prove just how valuable his intelligence can be on the court when he shows up for training camp.
Team: Indiana Pacers
2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 2.5 points, 1.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.1 blocks, 0.5 steals
Vitals: 6'5", 220 pounds
The biggest thing holding Lance Stephenson back has always been a lack of motivation. He simply hasn't shown the desire to get better during his brief NBA career, and the results have been rather disappointing.
If summer league is any indication, Stephenson has put those struggles behind him. A first-teamer in Orlando, the shooting guard averaged a sensational 19.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game.
Sure, it's only summer league, but he still showed off an improved jumper and a desire to excel in the NBA. We hadn't seen those traits before.
Stephenson has his work cut out for him on a deep Indiana Pacers roster, but his offseason has moved along swimmingly, thus far, and should continue through training camp.
Team: Washington Wizards
2011-12 Per-Game Stats: 4.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.6 blocks, 0.7 steals
Vitals: 6'11", 240 pounds
Jan Vesely was underwhelming during his rookie season with the Washington Wizards, primarily because of a hip injury that affected him throughout the entire 2011-12 campaign.
No such injury will be nagging him during his first NBA training camp and the subsequent season. While that has changed from his first year in the States to his second, a few things haven't.
Vesely is still 6'11" and will tower over almost every player who attempts to guard him, and his insane athleticism will still allow him to throw down dunk after dunk. The latter will become even more of a fact once Vesely's chemistry with John Wall in transition increases.
Training camp will allow Wizards fans to remember just why they were so excited about the man who is currently most famous for kissing his girlfriend on draft day.