NBA Playoffs 2013: Rising Stars Who Will Shine Under Bright Lights of Postseason

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIIApril 16, 2013

NBA Playoffs 2013: Rising Stars Who Will Shine Under Bright Lights of Postseason

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    In less than one week, the 2012-13 NBA regular season will conclude and the postseason will commence. In turn, the next wave of stars will be placed under the spotlight as they attempt to shine on the grandest stage of them all.

    The question is, which of the rising stars will shine under the bright lights of the postseason?

    Oftentimes, we witness players that we perceive to be stars falter with the spotlight shining down upon them. With the following crop of players, however, that will not be the case, as they solidify their status as stars in the NBA.

    So who should you keep your eye on come the playoffs?

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 25

    Experience: 3 Seasons

    2012-13 Season Averages

    21.20 PER, 22.8 PPG, 6.9 APG, 4.0 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 45.3% 3PT


    Stephen Curry has been absolutely sensational during the 2012-13 NBA regular season. He's topped 30 points in 13 separate games and has eclipsed the 40-point plateau.

    That includes a 54-point outing on Feb. 27 and 47-point game on Apr. 12.

    Not only has Curry caught fire during the final two months of the season, but he's been superb from the opening tip. A major reason for Curry's success has been his unparalleled ability to thrive from beyond the arc.

    Curry leads the NBA in three-point field goals made and ranks third in three-point field goal percentage.

    This is what will set Curry apart come the postseason, as his ability to stroke the three will create the potential for greatness. Not only will he be in line for remarkable scoring outings, but he'll be looked to in clutch situations.

    The perfect way to prove his worth.

Paul George, Indiana Pacers

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    Position: Guard/Forward

    Age: 22

    Experience: 3rd Season

    2012-13 Season Averages

    16.85 PER, 17.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.8 SPG


    When Paul George was named to the 2013 NBA All-Star Game, many acknowledged his size and elite athleticism as his greatest tools. Over the course of the season, however, we've come to recognize George as one of the most complete players at his position.

    Season averages of 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.8 steals prove such.

    There is reason for concern with George, as he's posting a slash line of .414/.322/.788 since the All-Star Break. Over the span of his past 10 games, George is shooting 37.5 percent from the field.

    Furthermore, George shot 38.9 percent during the 2011-12 NBA postseason.

    With that being said, George has as much to prove as any other player in the 2012-13 NBA Playoffs. Not only is he looking to affirm his status as a star, but he's attempting to prove he can handle the spotlight.

    Expect George to come through.

Jeff Green, Boston Celtics

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 26

    Experience: 5th Season

    2012-13 Season Averages

    15.01 PER, 12.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.6 APG, 38.1% 3PT


    When it comes to evaluating Jeff Green of the Boston Celtics, his overall season averages are of little value. In order to truly develop an understanding for how well Green is playing, we must break down his recent performances.

    Since the All-Star Break, Green is averaging 17.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.1 blocks on 43.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

    After missing the entire 2011-12 regular season due to heart surgery, Green received mountains of hype entering this year. Some compared him to Paul Pierce, but soon questioned that notion after performing at a less than adequate level prior to the All-Star Game.

    With this massive turnaround, however, Green has set the stage for a legacy-building performance in the 2013 postseason.

Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets

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    Position: Center

    Age: 25

    Experience: 5th Season

    2012-13 Season Averages

    24.69 PER, 19.4 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.1 BPG


    Brook Lopez has been remarkable this season, leading all centers in scoring, Player Efficiency Rating, Value Added and Estimated Wins Added. For those latter three marks, the second-best center isn't even close.

    Lopez will prove to the world just how dominant he is come the postseason.

    Lopez has the perfect stage to shine, as he'll either draw Al Horford and the Atlanta Hawks or Joakim Noah and the Chicago Bulls. Regardless of who he faces, Lopez will have the opportunity to shine against elite competition.

    Expect him to do just that on both ends of the floor.

Jeff Teague, Atlanta Hawks

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 24

    Experience: 4th Season

    2012-13 Season Averages

    16.82 PER, 14.7 PPG, 7.2 APG, 2.3 RPG, 1.5 SPG


    Jeff Teague is one of the most improved players in the NBA. After averaging 12.6 points and 4.9 assists in 33.1 minutes in 2011-12, those numbers are up to 14.7 points and 7.2 dimes in 2012-13.

    Come the postseason, Teague will put those improved abilities on full display for a national crowd.

    During his first three years in Atlanta, Teague was a raw product with tantalizing athleticism and limited skills. He continuously displayed upside, but those abilities were not displayed on a consistent basis.

    At 24, Teague has only scratched the surface of his potential by leading the league's second ranked team in terms of assists per game.