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NBA Preseason 2013: Predictions on Rising Stars Who Will Shine on Monday

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NBA Preseason 2013: Predictions on Rising Stars Who Will Shine on Monday
Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

The 2013 NBA regular season will commence on Tuesday, Oct. 29. Until then, the preseason will hit the airwaves as players look to both find their rhythm and improve their playing time.

The question is, which rising stars will shine on Monday when the preseason resumes?

An individual's success during preseason games is difficult to measure in the sense of its long-term impact. Coaches value one's effort during this time, but this is historically a feeling-out period for stars looking to shake off the offseason rust.

Fortunately, there are exceptions to every rule.

 

Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors

Noah Graham/Getty Images

Position: Small Forward

Age: 21

Experience: Second Season

2012-13 Season Averages

11.08 PER, 25.4 MPG, 9.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.2 APG

The Golden State Warriors made waves when they signed former All-Star Andre Iguodala to a four-year deal worth $48 million. This was a move that helped to improve Golden State's short-term title odds, but it also created an unclear future for Harrison Barnes.

The same Harrison Barnes who displayed flashes of dominance during the postseason.

Signing a player to take a top-10 pick's starting job is a great way to be counterproductive.

Barnes will be Golden State's sixth man, which means that he'll be able to focus more on his progression as a scorer. After averaging 16.1 points and 6.4 rebounds during the 2013 NBA playoffs, there's certainly upside.

Good luck to the Sacramento Kings.

When Barnes takes the floor against the Kings, it'll be about more than just getting into game shape during the preseason. The former North Carolina Tar Heels star has something to prove to both upper management and the NBA community, and that process will begin early.

Barnes is a legitimate candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, and against Sacramento, he'll show why.

 

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

Position: Power Forward

Age: 20

Experience: Second Season

2013 Season Averages

21.80 PER, 28.8 MPG, 13.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.8 BPG, 1.2 SPG

During the 2012-13 NBA regular season, New Orleans Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis led all rookies in Player Efficiency Rating, rebounds, blocks and steals per game. Still, many fans have failed to give Davis credit as a potentially elite player.

What is Anthony Davis' upside?

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Don't be so foolish in 2013-14.

Davis is already one of the better all-around defenders in the NBA, and by season's end, he'll rank among the best. Offensively, Davis will continue to develop his mid-range jump shot and add weight as he improves in the post.

During his preseason debut, Davis displayed signs of doing just that by tallying 21 points, two blocks and two steals against Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets.

Davis will go toe-to-toe with Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks on Monday, which will be a test of his two-way prowess. Try to ignore the detractors and know that Davis is more than capable of holding his own, both offensively and defensively.

The attention may be on New Orleans' revamped perimeter, but Davis is still the key to the Pelicans' postseason dreams.

 

DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 24

Experience: Fifth Season

2012-13 Season Averages

14.81 PER, 18.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.5 APG, 0.9 SPG

Few players have made such quiet strides as Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan. His jump shooting hasn't been very strong, but DeRozan is becoming a two-way player who's learning how to use his explosive athleticism in the half court.

Against the Boston Celtics, expect DeRozan to take his next step toward stardom.

During the 2012-13 NBA regular season, DeRozan finished with averages of 18.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 0.9 steals per game. He shot 44.5 percent from the field and 28.3 percent from three-point range but averaged 22.9 points on a slash line of .540/.500/814 in April.

That includes a three-game stretch in which he made nine of 12 from three-point range to close out the season.

There's still progress to be made as a defender, facilitator and rebounder, but DeRozan has made significant improvements. Still just 24, DeRozan hasn't yet reached his prime and is already one of the best slashers in the Eastern Conference.

Look for DeRozan to flash his dramatically improved ball-handling and developing post game against the Celtics and continue to become one of the better young players in the NBA during the regular season.

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