With the 2008-09 season having come to close, and with the draft not yet here, there isn't to much to talk about in the NBA. That's why I figured it would be a good time to talk about who I think will be pleasant surprises for their teams in the upcoming NBA season.
5. J.J. Redick
Now I'm obviously not going to say you should expect J.J. to be a star player for the Magic this upcoming season, but I think he will be a much bigger piece in their puzzle.
He demonstrated in the playoffs he can do more than just shoot, as he did a much better job than anyone expected him to do while guarding Kobe Bryant, and we also found out he could pass the ball.
There were quite a few instances in which Redick made beautiful dishes that caught the defense off guard. He even managed to make a wonderful fastbreak dime while falling to the floor. He will be a long way off all-star status, but with the bright spots Redick showed in the playoffs, I think he will improve greatly this offseason and have a very good season next year.
4. Louis Amundson
Amundson is a huge fan favorite in Phoenix and is a great young player getting better. He shows many similar traits as Anderson Varejao of Cleveland. He isn't afraid to throw his body around, and if there is a loose ball anywhere near him, clear the way if you don't want to be hurt.
Amundson averaged 4.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg, a block and half a steal a game in only 13 minutes per game. With the aging of Shaq and improvement of skills this offseason, Amundson should get more playing time and could be a key part of the Suns' success.
3. Chris Kaman
Kaman already is a solid player for the Clippers, and the hope of him being even better for next season is based on staying mostly injury free and the drafting of Blake Griffin.
Griffin is supposedly going to be a star in the league early, which may draw double teams, leaving Kaman open. Kaman averaged 12 ppg and eight rpg last season, and I would expect those points to go up at least three or four per game in 2009-10.
2. Aaron Brooks
Brooks had a fantastic postseason and looks as though he will be a great up-and-coming point guard in the league.
Brooks had an average season as a starting point guard in the league this year, but it was still better than anyone was expecting, except the Rockets.
Although his season was nothing special, his postseason was beyond normal as he almost lead his Rockets over the eventual NBA Champion Lakers with 17 ppg and around three rebounds and assists per game while only averaging 2.23 turnovers a game.
Brooks showed flashes of stardom this postseason and will wreak havoc for teams who aren't expecting it out of him come next year.
1. Rajon Rondo
Rondo was one of the playoff's best performers this postseason, as he was by far the biggest reason the Celtics were in as long as they were.
He averaged 16.9 ppg, 9.7 apg, 9.7 rpg, 2.5 spg and under three turnovers per game. Those numbers are all star-like, being almost a triple double.
His production from the regular season to the postseason went up a insanely, and I would expect that to keep up next year. His points probably won't be as high because Kevin Garnett will be back and taking some of that, but his assists will probably be even higher.
Rondo is going to be a fantastic player in the NBA for years to come, Hall of Fame-like, and I think that next year will only be the start of it.