Statistics measure how we view certain basketball players, and we determine stars by how their numbers stack up against the best.
The 2011-12 NBA season commences in just under five months, but it's never too early to predict how everyone's season will turn out.
Using 82games.com, ESPN.com, NBA.com and numerous other helpful sites, I have put together predictions for the top 28 players in the league and how they will perform next year.
In the following 28 slides, I have projected points, rebounds, assists, field goal percentage and free throw percentage.
Feel free to voice your own opinion and present me with feedback.
Thanks for reading!
2010-11 Stats: 17.5 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 2.5 APG, .510% FG, .701% FT
2011-12 Projected Stats: 17.6 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 2.2 APG, .500% FG, .722% FT
Carlos Boozer was Derrick Rose's righthand man when healthy this past season.
If he can learn to play some defense, he'd be a complete player, but as far as stats go, he'll have similar ones next year.
2010-11 Stats: 16.5 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 3.3 APG, .477% FG, .725% FT
2011-12 Projected Stats: 19.1 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 3.7 APG, .483% FG, .770% FT
Josh Smith is one of those players you would love to have on your team.
He's an all-around solid player and a great teammate, and his success from each season individually always translates to the next, so this year is no different.
2010-11 Stats: 18.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 3.3 APG, .497% FG, .860% FT
2011-12 Projected Stats: 17.6 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 3.8 APG, .487% FG, .855% FT
Paul Pierce, one of the greatest Boston Celtics of all-time, will be declining sometime within the next couple seasons, but for now, it's hard to project considering the C's mesh so well together.
Regardless, his scoring will be a bit down, but that's about it.
2010-11 Stats: 19.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.8 APG, .471% FG, .805% FT
2011-12 Projected Stats: 17.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 3.0 APG, .466% FG, .791% FT
Rudy Gay was absent for the final 28 games of the season due to injury, and pending any long-term health issues, he should have a decent year in 2011-12. His scoring might be down, sure, but he'll nearly match what he did for the first 60 percent of the season.
On a side note—how painful do you think it was for Gay to sit through his team's playoff run? He'll be there again next year, though, so no worries.
2010-11 Stats: 10.6 PPG, 11.2 APG, 4.4 RPG, .475 FG%, .568 FT%
2011-12 Projected Stats: 11.0 PPG, 10.0 APG, 4.8 RPG, .467 FG%, .559 FT%
Rajon Rondo will become a bigger factor as the years go on, and one has to wonder how he'll do once his endless plethora of stars-in-their-30s retire.
For now, he'll still be putting up numbers at a pretty efficient rate.
2010-11 Stats: 16.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 8.3 APG, .409% FG, .766% FT
2011-12 Projected Stats: 19.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 10.1 APG, .433% FG, .800% FT
I don't think people understand how special John Wall's rookie season was, and maybe it's because they were so hyped about Blake Griffin. Nonetheless, Wall put up 16 and eight over the course of the season.
Try to name the last rookie to do that.
He's going to have another great season with steep improvements statistically.
2010-11 Stats: 18.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1.9 APG, .496% FG, .815% FT
2011-12 Projected Stats: 18.5 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 2.1 APG, .492% FG, .835 FT%
Chris Bosh, although relinquishing the number one man role he had in Toronto, has performed well in Miami.
One thing that will rise next season is his rebounding total; otherwise, his numbers will be about the same.
2010-11 Stats: 18.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 4.7 APG, .443% FG, .802% FT
2011-12 Projected Stats: 20.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 4.6 APG, .455% FG, .822% FT
Joe Johnson had a dismal (for him) season this year.
I have no worries about him taking his game back to where it was in 2009, and that's just what he'll do next year.
2010-11 Stats: 24.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 5.6 APG, .451% FG, .789% FT
2011-12 Projected Stats: 24.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 5.6 APG, .463% FG, .777% FT
Monta Ellis had another solid year at the age of 25. He swiped over two balls per game and shot fairly decent.
If he would play efficient defense, he'd be higher, but he's still a great offensive player, and he'll have another good season.
2010-11 Stats: 14.9 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 2.4 APG, .528% FG, .862% FT
2011-12 Projected Stats: 14.4 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 2.5 APG, .512% FG, .850% FT
The stats might not say it, but Kevin Garnett is still an elite player in this league.
Averaging nearly 15, nine and shooting north of 50 percent isn't exactly anything to be ahsamed of. He should, even at 35 next year, put up similar numbers.
2010-11 Stats: 14.7 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 11.4 APG, .492 FG%, .912 FT%
2011-12 Projected Stats: 16.1 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 10.6 APG, .505 FG%, .901 FT%
The league leader in assists per game this past season, Steve Nash was able to put up great numbers with an otherwise mediocre Suns team.
I keep expecting the 37-year-old to decline, but it never happens. That's a statement that will hold true into next season.
2010-11 Stats: 18.8 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 3.3 APG, .529 FG%, .823 FT%
2011-12 Projected Stats: 19.4 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 3.5 APG, .511 FG%, .818 FT%
As Pau Gasol heads toward the back nine of his career, he still will be considered one of the league's best post players for the next couple years.
2011-12 will be no exception, and I expect a similar individual campaign to that of last season's. The team success, though, might be taking a steep decline.
2010-11 Stats: 20.1 PPG, 12.2 RPG, 2.2 APG, .503% FG, .758% FT
2011-12 Projected Stats: 19.9 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 2.1 APG, .500% FG, .765% FT
Zach Randolph emerged as a team player this season, sparking the Grizzlies to seven playoff victories before suffering a second-round exit.
"Z-Bo", who was voted third-team All-NBA, just signed an extended contract with the team, and you can bet he'll duplicate 2010-11's performance.
2010-11 Stats: 20.2 PPG, 15.2 RPG, 2.5 APG, .470% FG, .850% FT
2011-12 Projected Stats: 21.1 PPG, 14.6 RPG, .486% FG, .833% FT
Kevin Love burst onto the basketball scene with an impressive 2010-11 campaign, one that saw him lead the league in rebounding, collect the Most Improved Player award and toss in an All-Star appearance.
Love might not exactly top what he did next year, but he'll darn near replicate it, and hopefully, the Wolves add more wins.
2010-11 Stats: 21.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 8.3 APG, .442 FG%, .842 FT%
2011-12 Projected Stats: 19.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 8.7 APG, .455 FG%, .825 FT%
Like his UCLA counterpart, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook took a big leap in his game this past season, as he established himself as a top-five point guard.
It's easy to say that he'll be giving the ball up more next season after this year's playoff run, and it is for that reason that his points will suffer a drop. It will, however, be better for the team ultimately.
2010-11 Stats: 21.8 PPG, 8.8 PPG, 2.1 APG, .500% FG, .791% FT
2011-12 Projected Stats: 22.3 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 1.9 APG, .497% FG, .802% FT
LaMarcus Aldridge emerged as a formidable foe in the post this past season.
His tenacious defense, coupled with his ability to drive and drain, place him as the highest teen on this list.
His name might even be brought up in MVP talks next year.
2010-11 Stats: 22.5 PPG, 12.1 RPG, 3.8 APG, .506% FG, .642% FT
2011-12 Projected Stats: 24.1 PPG, 13.2 RPG, 4.1 APG, .502% FG, .635% FT
Blake Griffin had an absolutely phenomenal rookie season, and in due time, he should be competing with the best players in the league on a regular basis.
He will improve statistically this season without a doubt, and the Clippers will increase their win total from last season.
2010-11 Stats: 20.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 10.3 APG, .435% FG, .849% FT
2011-12 Projected Stats: 19.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 10.9 APG, .456% FG, .840% FT
Deron Williams had himself an eventful year. He was the subject of Jerry Sloan retiring in Utah, and was promptly shipped off to New Jersey the following week.
He had a solid season per usual, and he will do the same next season.
2010-11 Stats: 25.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.9 APG, .455% FG, .838% FT
2011-12 Projected Stats: 23.9 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 3.1 APG, .477% FG, .833% FT
The league's hot commodity of the past six months was undoubtedly Carmelo Anthony. Once he was shipped to the Big Apple, he performed adequately, but the team was swept in the first round of the playoffs.
I can see 'Melo limiting his scoring next season so that the team wins more contests, and that's just what he'll do.
2010-11 Stats: 25.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 2.6 APG, .502% FG, .792% FT
2011-12 Projected Stats: 24.1 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 2.9 APG, .502% FG, .810% FT
Amar'e Stoudemire was on his way to the best individual season of his nine-year career in January, but then something drastic happened—the team acquired fellow superstar Carmelo Anthony.
With Anthony, STAT (Strong, Tall and Talented) relinquished those numbers, but I think it's safe to say he'll get close to matching them next year.
2010-11 Stats: 15.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 9.8 APG, .463% FG, .878% FT
2011-12 Projected Stats: 16.8 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 10.1 APG, .455% FG, .856% FT
I expect Paul to cross the threshold into double digit assist territory. Isn't it crazy what he's done with a roster that "features" David West and Emeka Okafor as the secondary and tertiary options?
2010-11 Stats: 23.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.6 APG, .517% FG, .892% FT
2011-12 Projected Stats: 22.6 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.5 APG, .497% FG, .905% FT
It'll truly be a sad day when Dirk Nowitzki retires from the NBA, but for now, he is showing little to no signs of any sort of declination.
If the Mavericks end up losing to the Heat in the Finals, expect an extremely motivated Dirk for the 2011-12 season.
2010-11 Stats: 25.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.7 APG, .451% FG, .828% FT
2011-12 Projected Stats: 23.9 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.6 APG, .433% FG, .809% FT
I feel like I'm cheating on the sport of basketball by putting Kobe Bryant this far down on the list, and I almost considered bumping him to number four out of sheer respect for the game.
The sad thing is that Kobe is declining, albeit slowly, and he doesn't really have much going for his legacy, as it is already established.
2010-11 Stats: 25.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 7.7 APG, .445% FG, .860% FT
2011-12 Projected Stats: 23.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 8.9 APG, .466% FT, .850% FT
Whether you like it or not, Derrick Rose won the Most Valuable Player award last season, and he's out to prove that he can lead a championship team.
Next season will feature a little less scoring and a little more distribution.
2010-11 Stats: 25.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 4.6 APG, .500% FG, .758% FT
2011-12 Projected Stats: 24.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 5.5 APG, .496% FG, .773 FT%
One of the more underappreciated players in league history, Dwyane Wade will hit 30 next January, and you have to wonder how much exactly he has left in the tank.
Nonetheless, he'll have another solid season teaming up with LeBron in South Beach.
2010-11 Stats: 22.9 PPG, 14.1 RPG, 1.4 APG, .596 FG%, .599 FG%
2010-11 Projected Stats: 22.4 PPG, 14.3 RPG, .595 FG%, .613 FT%
There's no reason to believe that Dwight Howard can't duplicate his finest season in the association.
He's hands down the best post player in the league, and assuming he'll be donning a Magic uniform next season, he'll collect a record fourth consecutive Defensive Player of the Year award.
2010-11 Stats: 27.7 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.8 APG, .462 FG%, .880 FT%
2011-12 Projected Stats: 28.9 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 3.1 APG, .465 FG%, .896 FT%
Kevin Durant had another fine season and is really establishing himself as one of the best individual players in the league.
He averaged 30 points per game two seasons ago, and not even a loaded roster will stop him from challenging that number during the 2011-12 season.
2010-11 Stats: 26.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 7.0 APG, .510 FG%, .759 FT%
2011-12 Projected Stats: 27.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 7.5 APG, .501 FG%, .777 FT%
LeBron James is without a doubt the best basketball player in the world.
While looking at trends and deciphering how his numbers should be placed, I realized that it really doesn't matter, because he is seemingly always good for a 26, seven and seven night.
His numbers for next year will be nearly identical to their 2010-11 clips.