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12 Potential NBA Superstars of the 2010's

Nikhil BaradwajSenior Analyst IDecember 21, 2011

12 Potential NBA Superstars of the 2010's

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    For the past decade, players like LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade have dominated the NBA.

    It is well documented that every team needs a superstar to win a championship, and these four players have combined to win eight out of the 10 NBA titles in the 2000's. 

    That got me to think about the future superstars of this league, many of whom will become the Kobe's, Dwyane's and Tim's of their generation.

    This article lists 12 potential superstars of the 2010's. To qualify for this list, a player must have not appeared in an All-Star Game, while being drafted in 2009 or later.

Greg Monroe (Detroit Pistons)

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    One of the smoothest and most polished young big men in the league, Greg Monroe had one of the more underrated rookie seasons, having been overshadowed by Blake Griffin and John Wall.

    He averaged 9.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game on a putrid Pistons team and seemed to improve as the year progressed. 

    Monroe's passing ability is quite incredible and he runs well for a 6-11 center. In addition, he continually involves his teammates in the offense, a great characteristic for a young player.

    Monroe has the ability to average 16 points and 10 rebounds this year, and if the team around him improves, the Pistons could find themselves back in the playoff picture.

Paul George (Indiana Pacers)

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    Coming out of Fresno State, very few people had heard of Paul George's name. What intrigued Pacers management and Larry Bird was his upside.

    In fact, George even grew two more inches this past summer, bringing his height to a long 6-10 while becoming heavier.

    This will improve his reach, making him an even better defender and a mismatch across the board as a guard-forward.

    If George can improve his offensive game as he only averaged 7.8 points in a limited role, he can become a better wing, along with making Danny Granger possibly expendible.

Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee Bucks)

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    After being injured for part of the season, Brandon Jennings will look to improve upon his solid sophomore season, while trying to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to the playoffs. 

    Last season he averaged 16.2 points and 4.8 assists, while making 1.6 three pointers per game. 

    Jennings needs to become a better facilitator if he ever wants to be considered one of the top point guards in the league, but he has the tools to improve.

    Look for him to improve as a passer and keep the Bucks in the hunt for the eighth playoff spot. Jennings is already a lethal scorer, and his assists and points numbers will be up this year.

Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia 76ers)

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    One of the many point guards drafted in the 2009 NBA Draft, Jrue Holiday has outperformed many of the players drafted ahead of him.

    He averaged 14.0 points and 6.5 assists per game and has improve ever facet of his game from his rookie season. 

    Holiday has the potential to be one of the best defenders in the league, as he is 6-4, while also being long and wiry.

    If Holiday continues to improve and if Evan Turner begins to live up to his No. 2 overall draft choice, the 76ers might have one of the better backcourts in the league.

John Wall (Washington Wizards)

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    John Wall has always lived up to the hype surrounding him since high school, and he performed well in his rookie season, despite nursing a few injuries.

    He averaged 16.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 8.3 assists and even 1.8 steals, but did not win the Rookie of the Year award due to a monster season from Blake Griffin.

    If Wall wants to join the top five point guards in the league, he will need to improve his defense, which was definitely mediocre in terms of his position.

    Look for Wall to still have a breakout season, possibly averaging 18 points and 10 assists as the Wizards continue to improve.

DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)

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    Coming out of USC, Demar DeRozan was highly touted for his athleticism, quickness and ability to score.

    DeRozan has effectively used his physical tools and averaged 17.2 points per game, functioning as the secondary scorer behind Andrea Bargnani.

    He definitely needs to improve his defense if he wants to become an elite NBA wing, but DeRozan has the athleticism and will to become better.

    DeRozan has the potential to become one of the best scorers in the league and can average 20 points per game if the Raptors give him the opportunity to.

Derrick Williams (Minnesota Timberwolves)

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    The only rookie on this list, Derrick Williams showed how great he can be in college, when he single-handedly carried Arizona to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament.

    He put up solid numbers in college at the 4, averaging 19.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and made a ridiculous 56.8% of his baskets from three-point land.

    Williams is another player on this list who needs to improve his defense, while also keeping down the turnovers and fouls which he commits.

    In the end, Williams will likely average 15 points and 7 rebounds in his first season in Minnesota, likely putting Michael Beasley on the trading block.

Tyreke Evans (Sacramento Kings)

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    Tyreke Evans had one of the greatest rookie seasons ever, when he averaged at least 20 points, five rebounds and 5 assists, joining elite company in Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson and LeBron James.

    His sophomore campaign was marred by a nagging foot injury and he digressed in most statistical categories.

    If Evans wants to continue playing at the 1, he needs to become a better facilitator or improve his lateral quickness on the defensive end.

    Evans will likely bounce back this year, but the Kings are still likely a few years away from contending in the Western Conference.

James Harden (Oklahoma City Thunder)

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    At times, it is not fair to think that the Oklahoma City Thunder have three players with the potential of being a superstar. Behind Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, James Harden is that guy.

    Harden functioned as the Sixth Man last season, averaging 12.2 points, while only playing 26 minutes per game.

    He is a high-volume scorer who also performed well in the playoffs. However, Harden needs to improve his ball handling if he wants to become even more lethal.

    Harden has the chance to average over 18 points per game in a greater role this season and his points will be valuable for the title-contending Thunder.

Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)

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    Stephen Curry had the reputation as one of the top three point shooters coming out of Davidson, after slaying two giants in Georgetown and Wisconsin in the NBA Tournament.

    Man, has he improved.

    Curry averaged 18.6 points and 5.8 assists per game, even with high volume scorer Monta Ellis on his team, while gradually improving his defense.

    He has had injury issues regarding his ankles and did injure his right one in an exhibition against the Sacramento Kings. In addition, Curry would benefit from added muscle to his frame.

    If Monta Ellis is dealt, Curry's numbers will jump and he will have the chance at averaging more than 20 points and eight assists as the major offensive weapon on the team.

DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings)

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    Heading into the 2010 Draft, there were many analysts who felt that Cousins had the most potential, even greater than John Wall's.

    Cousins started off the season on the wrong foot, when he was kicked out of a Kings' practice for arguing with coach Paul Westphal. His immaturity has always been a major issue.

    Even with his failings, Cousins is a major post presence and he averaged 14.1 points and 8.6 rebounds while starting the season slow.

    He has the talent to average 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings and will likely take one step closer to reaching this level in the 2011 season.

Derrick Favors (Utah Jazz)

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    Out of all of the people on this list, Derrick Favors is the biggest wild card. After being drafted by the Nets with the third pick in the 2010 draft, Favors was traded to the Jazz.

    In limited time, Favors averaged 8.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in Utah, playing behind Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson. His athleticism and length make him a solid, young defender.

    Favors will need to polish his offensive game, and will have the time to behind Millsap and Jefferson.

    If Favors lives up to his potential, Enes Kanter and him might form the best young frontcourt in the league. In addition, Millsap and Jefferson would become expendable and the Jazz could turn them over for more players.

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