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Which players are on the cusp of NBA stardom?
These aren’t young guys like Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard. These are the players, typically in their first few years, who are about to make a large jump to the next level.
Last season, breakout players included Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook and Chicago’s Derrick Rose. Michael Beasley was supposed to be on that list but fell short. Will he put all that talent together and take the leap this year?
2010 Breakout Players
Blake Griffin, Los Angles Clippers
After missing his entire rookie season due to injury, Blake is ready to take off. He had to have learned a great deal about the NBA game from watching his teammates from the sidelines. Physically he is a freak of nature and should contribute immediately on the boards and on the break. Expect double-double madness all season.
Projected Stats: 19.0 PTS, 9.5 REB, 51 percent FG, 1.5 BLK
Michael Beasley, Minnesota Timberwolves
Nobody needed a change of scenery more than Beasley. There is no top dog like Dwyane Wade in Minnesota and Beas has the chance to be the focal point. He is too talented to not produce on the offensive end. He has a complete arsenal of weapons and has the potential to have a dominant mid-range game. If he doesn’t take a step forward this season he will never be a star.
Projected Stats: 20.5 PTS, 7.0 REB, 45 percent FG, 78 percent FT
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Curry is the epitome of offensive efficiency. In his rookie season he was accurate from anywhere on the court (46 percent FG, 44 percent 3FG, 89 percent FT). He plays the game with great poise and rarely makes bad decisions. The same cannot be said for his talented yet erratic teammate Monta Ellis. The assist totals are bound to rise with the addition of David Lee inside.
Projected Stats: 22.5 PTS, 8.0 ASS, 47 percent FG, 42.5 percent 3FG, 90 percent FT
Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
WHAT! Two Timberwolves on the same list? This must be a mistake, right? Wrong. Love is going to be a double-double machine this year. With Al Jefferson out of the picture, Love will receive many repetitions inside and via the pick-and-roll. He is arguably the NBA’s best passing big man and can already rebound with the best of them (11.0 RPG in ’09). He is highly skilled and his smarts make up for his lack of elite athleticism.
Projected Stats: 18.0 PTS, 12.0 REB, 4.0 ASS, 47% FG, 80% FT
Andrea Bargnani, Toronto Raptors
With Chris Bosh’s departure to greater pastures, someone is going to have to increase their output for the Raptors unless they routinely put up 70 points a night, which just might be a possibility. In all seriousness, Bargnani should get at least five more shots per game which will translate into some pretty nice numbers.
Projected Stats: 23.0 PTS, 7.5 REB, 43 percent FG, 37 percent 3FG
JaVale McGee, Washington Wizards
Casual fans have probably never heard of this 22-year-old specimen. They will soon. The seven-footer can run the court like a guard and jump out of the gym. It’s just taken a little while for him to adapt to the NBA game. McGee’s raw talent is ridiculous and he will be on the back end of many alley-oops this season courtesy of rookie John Wall. At the minimum, expect him to be a mainstay on NBA highlight shows all season long.
Projected Stats: 16.0 PTS, 8.0 REB, 55 percent FG, 1.8 BLK
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