You never know when an NBA player is about to blow up.
Sometimes, it’s a summer of hard work in the weight room that shifts the course of an NBA career. Occasionally, a change of scenery makes the difference. A new role can do it, too.
However it happens, a handful of NBA players make a quantum leap every year.
But growth is relative, right? Earning a place in the discussion of the league’s most improved players can mean going from being a good sixth man on a great team to a great player in a new locale. That player’s improvement is just as impressive as someone who goes from being buried on the bench to making major rotation contributions.
So we won’t discriminate in our examination of players who look like they’re ready to take their games to the next level—whatever that next level is.
Some of the players who made the cut were already stars, while others are just beginning to carve out a niche in the league.
Although the year’s still young, here are five guys whose early brilliance means they’ll definitely be among the NBA’s most improved players in 2012-13.