NBA Season Primer: Kevin Love and Other NBA Players Poised For a Breakout Season

Danny DolphinAnalyst IOctober 18, 2010

LAS VEGAS - JULY 21:  In this handout photo provided by Las Vegas News Bureau, Rudy Gay (L) plays against Kevin Love during a USA Basketball Men�s National Team workout at the Cox Pavilion on Wednesday July 21, 2010 in Las Vegas Nevada.  (Photo by Brian Jones/Las Vegas News Bureau via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images


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