Top Five Breakout Players of '10
Joe Alexander—Milwaukee Bucks
With Richard Jefferson traded to San Antonio, Alexander will finally get the playing time that is needed for his development.
Alexander was only put in 59 games this year and averaged only 12 minutes in those games. Though he caught fire later on in the year, the push for the playoffs found Alexander pushed onto the bench as the Bucks tried to sneak into the eighth spot.
With more playing time and a rebuilding team, Alexander will flourish under Scott Skiles, as he will be given a more offensive role. He will have to earn everything though, because it could be him next on the trading block as the Bucks also try to find their identity.
Though he missed out on the dunk competition, he definitely won’t miss out on the opportunity to rise above the rest of his draft class and prove why he was drafted so high.
Trevor Ariza—Houston Rockets
Trevor will receive his 2009 Championship ring this year but won’t be looking to repeat as he signed with the Houston Rockets.
With Tracy McGrady out for the first half and Ron Artest playing for Ariza's former team, the Lakers, Ariza will play beside Shane Battier on a team that might lack scoring with Yao Ming and McGrady.
Ariza, who looks like he’s been learning from former teammate Kobe Bryant, will have to bring some of that magic if the Rockets are going to have any success this year.
He averaged just under nine points per game but was known more for his tough defence and rebounding ability as his 6'8" body and freakish hops created nightmares for offensive players.
Ariza could easily be in the running for Most Improved Player of the Year if given the minutes and touches.
Courtney Lee—New Jersey Nets
After coming up just short in June, Courtney Lee went from the first place to a struggling team in the midst of a move. Though the chances of winning are slim, the chances of him turning into the focal point rose times ten.
The 23 year old had an exceptional playoff run with the Magic that led to the New Jersey Nets giving up promising forward Ryan Anderson in the hopes they had found their future shooting guard.
Lee averaged eight points a game last year and shot .404 from beyond the arc. Those numbers will and must improve if he hopes to have a career in basketball or if the Nets have any hope of making the playoffs in the next decade.
The competition is there but the nod has been given to the playoff veteran as he will battle Keyon Dooling, Chris Douglas-Roberts and the rookie, Terrence Williams for playing time at the two.
Robin Lopez—Phoenix Suns
Robin looked lost last year on a Phoenix team that was on the outside looking in but not bad enough to get enough playing time for the former Stanford star.
Lopez had a decent summer league with some ups and downs, but will look to preseason as a starting point, as the competition is harder and he can also show his current coaches and teammates what he has been doing over the summer; working with his brother in Arizona.
While he might not be able to take the scoring load of Shaquille O’Neal, who was traded to Cleveland, he can make an impact on defence as All-Star Amar'e Stoudemire will get most of the touches down low.
Lopez main competition for playing time will be against high energy forward, Louis Amundson and newly acquired Channing Frye. The advantage Lopez over those guys? He’s been playing center since high school and has the frame to bang with the bigger guys in the league compared to the smaller Amundson and the lanky Frye.
All in all, Lopez will look to have similar success that his brother has been earning as the opportunity is perfect for him to sweep up and make his name in a Phoenix Suns jersey.
Louis Williams—Philadelphia Sixers
A healthy Elton Brand and Andre Miller in a Portland Blazers jersey is the recipe for success for the young Louis Williams.
The Sixers have put their trust in 22 year old point guard to run a team that is ready to make a splash in the playoffs. Though they fell short last year, a healthy squad can go along way.
Williams played in a career high 81 games last year putting up just under 13 points per game as they will look for him to raise his assist total that stayed put at three a game.
While they did draft point guard Jrue Holiday, his summer league play put on a concern for many giving Williams a perfect shot to show what he has got to offer offensively and defensively to a winning team.
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