10 NBA Players Destined To Shock Us All in 2012-13

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIISeptember 26, 2012

10 NBA Players Destined To Shock Us All in 2012-13

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    The NBA can be a vicious place to call home.

    The league is just as quick to embrace you as a future star as they are to write you off as finished after one below-standards season.

    As is life for an athlete whose 82-game season is defined by statistics and an ability to lead their respective team to the postseason.

    Contrary to popular belief, a failure to find success during one NBA season does not mean that failure is inevitable. There are players who can overcome a year of shortcomings by rediscovering their motivation and becoming a better player than they had ever been before.

    The following 10 slides will shed light on just who could fit that bill this coming season.

    Some players will be former All-Stars who have lost their way. Others will be young players who have yet to progress in the way that many had projected them to.

    One way or another, these 10 players are poised to shock the world.

    So who should we anticipate?

Arron Afflalo, Orlando Magic

1 of 10

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 26

    Experience: Five Seasons


    When you consider the fact that Arron Afflalo will be regarded as compensation for Dwight Howard, it's easy to label him as a disappointment of sorts. After the 2012-13 NBA season, however, it will be clear—to the unaware—that Afflalo was easily the best perimeter player on the Denver Nuggets roster.

    This has built Afflalo a reputation as one of the better two-way guards in the NBA.

    Being able to play lockdown defense against the league's elite shooting guards is great reason for such consideration. His ability to tally 15.2 points per game in a crowded Denver Nuggets backcourt is only further evidence.

    As Afflalo puts on an Orlando Magic uniform, he will be the most reputable player on the roster. His point-per-game average should rise above 20 for the first time in his impressive five-year career.

    His can stroke it from distance and take his opponent off of the dribble, and that will be on full display as the Magic search for any other scoring options on the perimeter.

    Although Afflalo's statistics will be inflated by the lack of quality teammates, his talent will finally be recognized. Although we've yet to see whether or not he can be a franchise player, Afflalo has proven capable of thriving in a multitude of roles.

    For the first time in his career, Afflalo will shock the NBA and prove that he can succeed in the role of lead scorer.


    2011-12 Season Averages

    14.76 PER, 15.2 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.4 APG, 39.8% 3PT

Mike Conley, Jr., Memphis Grizzlies

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 24

    Experience: Five Seasons


    Mike Conley, Jr. quietly had one of the best postseason series of any point guard in the NBA. He not only averaged 14.1 points and 7.1 assists per game, but he shot 50 percent from distance and tallied at least eight assists in four out of seven games.

    What was most impressive of all, however, was the fact that Conley forced Chris Paul into an average of 3.6 turnovers per game.

    This is one of the two areas in which Conley will shock the world.

    His underrated defense helped him finish second in the league with 2.2 steals per game. What's truly unfortunate, though, is that his on-ball defense is overlooked due to his affinity for forcing turnovers.

    Simply put, Conley is one of the top defenders at his position.

    The second area where Conley will thrive is from beyond the arc.

    Not only did he shoot 50 percent during the 2012 postseason, but he finished with 11 three-point field goals in just seven games. This includes his marvelous 5-of-5 shooting during Game 1 as well as going 3-of-5 during a 90-88 victory in Game 6.

    His playoff performances serves as a prime example of his emergence as a reliable weapon in the clutch.

    With O.J. Mayo out of the picture, Conley no longer has a player he must pass to by default. Instead, the Grizzlies have sculpted their roster in such a way that filling roles outweighs the value of a name. For that reason, it can only be expected that Conley will post a career high in assists per game.

    Just another way that Conley will burst onto the scene in 2012-13.


    2011-12 Season Averages

    16.79 PER, 12.7 PPG, 6.5 APG, 2.5 RPG, 2.2 SPG

DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers

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    Position: Center

    Age: 24

    Experience: Four Seasons


    DeAndre Jordan has always impressed from both a physical and statistical standpoint. His averages of 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in just 27.2 minutes per game put him on par with the best of the best in both departments.

    Unfortunately, he remains a fundamentally-flawed player.

    For that reason, Jordan has always been overlooked as one of the emerging stars in the game.

    As we enter the 2012-13 NBA season, expectations are high for the Los Angeles Clippers. At the heart of their potential success will be none other than Jordan, whose progression will play a key role in their ability to hold down the paint.

    He'll also become a secondary pick-and-roll option, with opposing defenses certain to focus on teammate Blake Griffin.

    With these factors weighed and measured, expect Jordan to post his first career double-double average. Although some believe Lamar Odom will steal playing time, Jordan is the more valuable player to a team that already possesses a surplus of ball-handlers.

    10 and 10 with two or three blocks per game will be the averages that make Jordan a fan favorite in Los Angeles and a feared asset league-wide.


    2011-12 Season Averages

    16.39 PER, 27.2 MPG, 7.4 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.0 BPG

Kevin Martin, Houston Rockets

4 of 10

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 29

    Experience: Eight Seasons


    Kevin Martin is coming off of arguably the most disappointing season of his eight-year career. In fact, it was the first time Martin had averaged less than 20 points per game since 2006.

    That trend is not going to continue.

    Regardless of the optimism that the Houston Rockets may display in their current group of players, there are just two reliable scorers on the entire roster. Those two players happen to be Martin and Jeremy Lin, who has 26 games of elite play under his belt.

    Consider Martin to be the go-to guy.

    With such extreme responsibility upon him, Martin will flirt with 25 points per game. Although this will have a minimal effect on the Rockets' record, it will be key for Martin as he enters free agency this coming summer.

    Some will claim that they are none too surprised by Martin's ability to contribute at a high level, but the surprise will come as the 29-year-old keeps rookie Jeremy Lamb at bay. Martin will exert a new-found effort on the defensive end and emerge as the leader of the Rockets.

    Thus preparing himself for a pretty payday come July.


    2011-12 Season Averages

    16.60 PER, 17.1 PPG, 2.8 APG, 2.7 RPG, 34.7% 3PT

Emeka Okafor, Washington Wizards

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    Position: Center

    Age: 29

    Experience: Eight Seasons


    For some inexplicable reason, Emeka Okafor has been known throughout his eight-year career as the poster child for underachievers.

    This comes without justification, as the second overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft has posted career averages of 12.7 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. Although he hasn't dominated quite like his draft rival Dwight Howard, Okafor has put together a beautiful career.

    That is, until the 2011-12 season rolled around.

    Emeka Okafor averaged at least 13 points and 10 rebounds per game during each of his first seven years in the league. In all but his first two years in the league, the former Connecticut Huskies star also finished with a field-goal percentage that sat above 50 percent.

    So which Emeka Okafor will we see in 2012-13?

    Now a member of the Washington Wizards, Okafor is in prime position to turn things around. The Wizards are in need of an elite interior defender, and Okafor can serve as just that. They're also a weak rebounding team that will certainly benefit from the big man dominating the glass on both ends.

    Working alongside fellow veteran Nene Hilario, Okafor is in store for a career year.

    He will be looked to as the security blanket for a perimeter that is filled with players who gamble in passing lanes. This will create numerous opportunities per game for Okafor to register a block or two.

    And believe you me, he will swat shots with the best of them.

    If the Washington Wizards can exceed expectations and compete for the postseason, Okafor may even find himself in the running for Defensive Player of the Year.


    2011-12 Season Averages

    15.13 PER, 28.9 MPG, 9.9 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.0 BPG

Nate Robinson, Chicago Bulls

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 28

    Experience: Seven Seasons


    A year ago, Nate Robinson had one of the best seasons of his seven-year career. The 5'9" point guard posted an 18.05 Player Efficiency Rating, which was the second-highest mark of his career.

    The uncharacteristically high production didn't stop there.

    Robinson averaged 4.5 assists per game, thus setting a new career best. He also averaged 1.2 steals per game, marking the first time he had topped 1.0 swipes since 2009. Surprisingly, this all came on an average of just 23.4 minutes per contest.

    That number should repeat itself as Robinson takes his talents to Chicago.

    Some have labeled Kirk Hinrich as the sure-fire starter in Derrick Rose's absence. There is a competition to be held, however, and Robinson will eventually emerge as a consistent rotational option.

    With an inevitable Hinrich injury, Robinson will even start a few games from time to time.

    In that time, expect Robinson to post similar statistics in 2012-13 as he did in 2011-12. Once Derrick Rose returns from injury, don't expect too much of a drop-off as little Nate continues to find consistent minutes upon earning Tom Thibodeau's trust.

    A big year is in store for the three-time NBA Slam Dunk champion.


    2011-12 Season Averages

    18.05 PER, 23.4 MPG, 11.2 PPG, 4.5 APG, 2.0 RPG, 1.2 SPG

Kevin Seraphin, Washington Wizards

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 22

    Experience: Two Seasons


    It's fair to ask how Kevin Seraphin will be able to contribute when both Emeka Okafor and Nene Hilario have all but guaranteed themselves slots in the starting lineup. After dominating the final month of the 2012 NBA season, however, the Frenchman has achieved two significant feats.

    He has built up valuable momentum and earned the trust of head coach Randy Wittman.

    For that reason, it is fair to assume that Seraphin will be able to carve out some significant playing time. He'll find the floor enough to post numbers worthy of sixth-man status, which is a position that no member of the Wizards' current rotation has secured.

    Expect Seraphin to be the player that does just that, as his youth and athleticism work to perfection alongside the elderly Nene and Okafor.

    Over the final month of last season, Seraphin averaged 15.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. This included an April 10 outing against the Orlando Magic in which he tallied 24 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks. Just six days later, Seraphin threw up 21 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks.

    Although those are extreme outliers, it shows what the 22-year-old is capable of. With the proper grooming and opportunity, he'll reach a similar level on a consistent basis.

    Kevin Seraphin is the real deal.


    2011-12 Season Averages

    15.83 PER, 20.6 MPG, 7.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 1.3 BPG

Evan Turner, Philadelphia 76ers

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 23

    Experience: Two Seasons


    During the 2011-12 NBA regular season, Evan Turner struggled to define his role within the Philadelphia 76ers' game plan. He appeared uncomfortable playing shooting guard and never truly found his rhythm for extended periods of time.

    When Turner was on, however, he flashed the form of an All-NBA-caliber talent.

    A year later, Turner is moving to small forward. All-Star Andre Iguodala has been traded to the Denver Nuggets, thus enabling Turner to do what he does best: handle the ball and have no distractions as he facilitates in the manner he sees proper.

    The fact that he has the ability to average 15.0 points and upwards of seven rebounds is only further reason to be excited over the do-it-all Ohio State alum.

    The major difference for Turner is that the Philadelphia 76ers now have an elite low-post player in center Andrew Bynum. This will change the dynamic of their offense, as they now have a legitimate pick-and-roll option to help the perimeter avoid predictability.

    Although Turner is far from a lethal jump shooter, Bynum's presence should open up opportunities for him to find his shot early in the season. Unlike a year ago, when an aging Elton Brand was the Sixers' best offensive big man, opposing defenses will not be able to close out on the perimeter with such conviction.

    This should enable Turner to thrive as one of the 76ers' primary ball-handlers and facilitators. It should also create opportunities for offensive rebounds and scores from close to the basket.

    Expect an All-Star-caliber season from the second overall selection of the 2010 NBA draft.


    2011-12 Season Averages

    12.69 PER, 26.4 MPG, 9.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 2.8 APG

David West, Indiana Pacers

9 of 10

    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 32

    Experience: Nine Seasons


    A year ago, David West joined Carlos Boozer in the conversation of the most overpaid power forwards in the NBA.

    As the postseason rolled around and Frank Vogel blatantly misused his overpowering frontcourt, however, we saw flashes of what has made West such a brilliant scoring forward. West's jump from 12.8 points and 6.6 rebounds during the regular season to 15.3 points and 8.5 rebounds during the playoffs is concrete evidence.

    As the 2012-13 NBA season rolls around and David West becomes a pending free agent, expect his averages to sit much closer to what he achieved during the postseason.

    In fact, with the arrival of D.J. Augustin and progression of George Hill, he will return to the All-Star form he displayed in New Orleans. He'll flirt with 18 points and nine rebounds a night while Roy Hibbert drops in more defensive-minded numbers.

    Quite possibly the most underrated aspect of West's game is his passing.

    He was on par with his career averages, as he posted 2.1 assists per game during the 2011-12 season. West's efficiency out of the post was on full display due to that fact, as he and Roy Hibbert tore apart opposing defenses when given the opportunity.

    Maybe most important of all is that David West played in all 66 games, marking the first time he had played a full season.

    Unfortunately, this production will not garner the previously injury-plagued 32-year-old a max contract. What it could lead to, however, is enough attention that a contender takes a chance with a deal worth close to $8.0 million a year.

    A shocking turnaround indeed.


    2011-12 Season Averages

    17.84 PER, 12.8 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.1 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.7 BPG

Marvin Williams, Utah Jazz

10 of 10

    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 26

    Experience: Seven Seasons


    Marvin Williams is quietly criticized for not living up to the hype as the second overall draft choice in the 2005 NBA draft. Through all of the disappointment, however, Williams has emerged as one of the most underrated players in the game.

    Players such as Brandon Rush are being praised for their sharpshooting and defensive abilities, but Williams is being overlooked despite possessing those same skills.

    At 6'9" and 245 pounds, Williams has the size and build necessary to dominate the small forward position. Although he's never been able to do that, he has found a niche as one of the better perimeter defenders in the game.

    He's also developed a smooth stroke from distance, as proven by his career-best 38.9 percent shooting from distance.

    With a move to Utah, Williams will now escape the pressure of star expectations. Instead, he will be the best athlete on a team that is in dire need of players who can both stretch the floor and attack the basket.

    Although he will not become an elite scorer, Williams will be a pleasant surprise to fantasy basketball owners and Utah Jazz brass alike. He'll spread the floor with his three-point shooting, become the team's best perimeter defender and be a true game-changer in transition.

    If Williams could thrive in any situation, it's this one.

    Expect big things from the former North Carolina Tar Heel, as he provides the Jazz with everything they've been searching for.


    2011-12 Season Averages

    15.87 PER, 26.3 MPG, 10.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.2 APG, 38.9% 3PT