The 2012-13 NBA campaign is rolling right along, and it’s hard to believe we are already two weeks into the New Year.
There’s been a lot of shakeup across the league since the calendar switched, and a number of youthful players have been stepping up in big ways. We only expect more production from these youngsters as the season drags on and they receive more minutes.
If you’re looking for a potential fantasy stud to add to your roster, or just an underrated star in the making to follow, keep reading to see who we believe is going to absolutely blow up in Week 12 of the NBA season.
Isaiah Thomas, G, Sacramento Kings
Week 12 Matchups: vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, vs. Washington Wizards, @Memphis Grizzlies, @Charlotte Bobcats
The Kings are an absolute mess of an organization. One of the reasons for that was coach Keith Smart’s refusal to play arguably one of his best players for big minutes.
Now that Thomas is logging consistent time on the court (averaging 29.2 MPG over the past five), he’s once again shining as an undersized scorer from the PG position. With Aaron Brooks out on Saturday, he decided to make his biggest splash of the season.
In a loss to the Miami Heat, Thomas hit 13 of 22 field-goal attempts and six of eight treys to score 34 points, while also dishing five dimes, grabbing two rebounds and recording a steal.
While those numbers will likely peter off when Brooks returns from his illness, it would be stupid of coach Smart not to unleash the 5’9” guard on a regular basis.
Bismack Biyombo, PF/C, Charlotte Bobcats
Week 12 Matchups: @Boston Celtics, vs. Indiana Pacers, @Orlando Magic, vs. Sacramento Kings
“B-Smack” or “The Business” has been a bit up-and-down, but he’s going to be a major asset down the stretch for the Bobcats.
He needs to start putting together more performances like he had last week against the Detroit Pistons (10 points, 17 rebounds, 3-of-6 shooting), but Biyombo has been contributing in other ways to the box score—against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday, the big man had eight points, three rebounds, two blocks, one assist and was 4-of-4 from the field.
We suspect Biyombo will soon start getting more than his customary 25.0 minutes per night, as the flailing franchise will try to see what they truly have in the No. 7 overall pick from the 2011 draft.
Jared Sullinger, F, Boston Celtics
Week 12 Matchups: vs. Charlotte Bobcats, vs. New Orleans Hornets, vs. Chicago Bulls, @Detroit Pistons
Sullinger is having a great rookie season and proving those who doubted him—due to back issues—wrong.
The C’s young PF is averaging 9.5 points and 8.2 rebounds over his last nine games, and is only truly having problems with fouling. He’s been forced to the bench twice in the past five games for fouling out and that simply must stop.
If the former Ohio State star can play a bit more under control on the defensive end, he’s going to bloom into an offensive star prior to the end of the 2012-13 campaign.
He’s showing flashes of greatness right now and will be instrumental to any postseason run the Celtics make. Expect coach Doc Rivers to keep giving the kid more minutes.
Derrick Williams, F, Minnesota Timberwolves
Week 12 Matchups: @Dallas Mavericks, vs. Los Angeles Clippers, vs. Houston Rockets
The injury-plagued T’Wolves have lost Kevin Love and a number of other key contributors, leaving Williams to soak up a ton of minutes in the meantime.
While the second-year player is widely regarded as a disappointment (for a No. 2 overall pick), his versatility allows him to play numerous positions for a team that sorely needs that kind of production.
Over the past five games, Williams has been playing all over the court, averaging 13.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in 23.2 minutes per contest.
As long as K-Love is out, we can expect the 21-year-old to be a regular member of the rotation. While he may be a bit streaky, the former Arizona standout does have a ton of upside and could blossom into a legitimate star.