7 NBA Scorers with a License to Bomb Away in 2012-13
The NBA is rife with lethal marksmen who can change games with the flick of a wrist. These potent scorers have the ability to shoot unconsciously once they heat up and thrive when games are on the line.
Theses scorers will be key to their team's success, and while they may frustrate at times, they play will play an integral role in sustaining offensive consistency for their teams.
With the 2012-13 NBA season underway, it's time to evaluate which scorers will have the freedom to hoist up shots as they please.
Here are seven players with a license to bomb away in 2012-13.
7. Damian Lillard
Thanks to Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard may not be the favorite for the NBA's Rookie of the Year, but he's attempting to follow in the footsteps of last year's award winner, Kyrie Irving.
Irving was a revelation for the Cleveland Cavaliers, averaging over 18 points per game on 47 percent shooting from the field and 39.9 percent from three-point range.
Lillard proved that he was able to score in bunches at Weber State, averaging (via DraftExpress.com) 24.5 points, while shooting over 40 percent from beyond the arc during his junior season.
A proven scorer, Lillard figures to be the go-to guy in the Portland Trail Blazers' backcourt and will be called upon to shoulder a heavy scoring load in his rookie season. While Lillard will defer to LaMarcus Aldridge as the team's primary scoring option, Lillard will find plenty of looks as his team's most creative backcourt presence.
6. Jason Terry
As Ray Allen gets comfortable with his new crew in Miami (via USA Today), Jason Terry is quietly assuming the role of the Boston Celtics' sixth man.
It's no secret that the condition of Allen's ankles continue to deteriorate (via ESPN), so his departure wasn't exactly met with tears from the Celtic faithful. Instead, Boston will be blessed with Jason Terry's fearless, yet consistent three-point stroke.
However, Terry is much more than your conventional three-point specialist. Whereas Allen is limited to a defined role, Terry is a more capable scorer from all over the floor, whether it be from 23 feet or 12.
Terry provides the Celtics with a new offensive dimension, one that will allow him to move on and off the ball in order to secure open looks.
It would hardly be a surprise to hear Terry's name in the running for the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Award by season's end.
5. Nick Young
The Philadelphia 76ers lacked several key offensive components last season, but the biggest was the absence of quality shooters. Yes, they had Jodie Meeks and Lou Williams, but they were only moderately effective in their roles.
Aside from adding considerable size (via Philly.com) to their frontcourt this offseason, the Sixers' front office made it clear they wanted to add more shooters to help space the floor more evenly. For a team that was over-reliant on mid-range jumpers a year ago, the Sixers are ready to break out in 2012-13.
Nick Young will be a primary beneficiary of the Sixers' re-tooled offense, one that appears ready to live and die by the three.
Known as one of the league's most unapologetic shooters, Young has a tendency to shoot more often than not when the ball is in his hands. Fortunately for the Sixers, they desperately needed a scorer of Young's quality and mentality to aggressively hoist up shots.
Along with offseason additions Dorell Wright and Jason Richardson, the Sixers now possess a formidable trio of three-point shooters to help stabilize their offense.
4. Klay Thompson
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Klay Thompson didn't have a phenomenal rookie season in 2011-12, but he turned it on as the season neared a close, leaving spectators with high expectations for the 2012-13 campaign.
Thompson logged 29 starts last season and established himself as a legitimate outside shooter who's worthy of considerable attention from defenses.
Now firmly established as the Warriors' starting 2-guard, Thompson will pair up with teammate Stephen Curry to create one of the most intriguing backcourts in all of the NBA.
Thompson shot over 41 percent from three-point range last season (per HoopData.com) and posted an effective field-goal percentage (which accounts for three-point shots being worth more than regular field goals) of 62.1 percent.
With significant attention being paid to his backcourt mate, Thompson will be free to make it rain, and with a bump in minutes, will be a contender for the league's Most Improved Player Award.
3. Russell Westbrook
Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE
It doesn’t quite matter how many talented scorers Russell Westbrook is surrounded by—it’s clear he’s going to get his looks one way or another. We saw it this summer at the London Olympics.
Despite being surrounded by superior offensive talents, Westbrook often found himself searching to meet his field-goal attempt quota in short stretches of playing time. It wasn’t pretty.
We all know what kind of dynamic playmaker Westbrook is, and the presence of Kevin Durant isn’t going to deter him from getting his looks at the basket. Last season, Westbrook averaged 19.2 attempts per game compared to Durant’s 19.7 attempts, a near dead-even distribution.
The departure (via CBS Sports) of James Harden will open up more looks for Westbrook, and after all of the criticism he's taken, you can expect Westbrook to come out playing with some fire.
2. James Harden
Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
James Harden has gone from reigning Sixth Man of the Year to franchise centerpiece in just a few short days.
Firmly established (via CBS Sports) as one of the Houston Rockets’ long-term building blocks, Harden will be free to operate Kevin McHale’s offense. With a core that's centered around young guns like Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and Terrence Jones, Harden now has the ability mold his individual legacy as he sees fit.
Labeled by some as a more traditional jump shooter, Harden is actually extremely effective when he’s got a full head of steam slashing toward the basket and is, perhaps, even more lethal operating off the pick-and-roll.
At 23 years old, there’s still plenty of room for Harden to improve, and we’ll see him get every opportunity to become a superstar in Houston.
1. Carmelo Anthony
Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE
There’s a very good chance that in addition to playing out on the wing, Anthony will be tasked with filling in at the 4, and we know he’s effective at doing so.
Throughout the Olympics, we saw Anthony use his powerful frame to create mismatches in the post, scoring and rebounding with relative ease. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
If Carmelo can transform his game to become an effective inside-out player like LeBron James has, the possibilities for the Knicks' offense are endless. With Amar'e capable of playing away from the basket, perhaps, that’s the solution to the chemistry issues that plagued the Knicks last season.
Whatever the case may be, we’re going to see plenty of Carmelo, both good and bad, as the season gets underway.