5 NBA Players Poised for a Breakout Season

Ryan Hubler@ryan_hublerCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2011

DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 24:  Arron Afflalo #6 of the Denver Nuggets conttrols the ball against the Boston Celtics during NBA action at the Pepsi Center on February 24, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Celtics 89-75. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

While anyone could have foreseen the inevitable ascension to stardom that Blake Griffin and John Wall encountered last year, only a few could have predicted that Paul Millsap would've averaged 17 points per game or that Kris Kardashian, I mean Humphries would be a double-double man.

With the season shortly upon us, there are five players who are ready to make a splash and breakout for their respected teams.


Arron Afflalo SG Denver Nuggets

While Arron has started most of the games at the 2-guard the past two years for the Nuggets, he hasn't had such a clear opening to show the NBA what he has.

He will most certainly receive more touches, due to the fact that J.R Smith and Wilson Chandler are stuck playing in China until at least March, after signing deals during the lockout. Those deals lacked the opt-out clause necessary to make it back to the US in time for the NBA season.

Afflalo has averaged 10 points per game over the past two seasons, but look for that to dramatically increase, more into the range of 17-18 points per game.


Evan Turner SG Philadelphia 76ers

Drafted in 2010 as the second overall pick, fans expected Turner to light it up immediately; the 76ers didn't give him the proper chance to, though. Turner started only 14 games last year, sitting behind the surprisingly productive Jodie Meeks.

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doug Collins has already said that Turner will start the season on the bench, behind Meeks, but the 76ers can't keep a player of Turner's magnitude on the bench for too long.

Look for Turner to overtake Meeks as the starting shooting guard early on in the season and be an integral part of the 76ers' young core.

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 21: Head coach Doug Collins of the Philadelphia 76ers gives instructions to Evan Turner #12 during a game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on December 21, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the 76ers 121-76.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images


Nicolas Batum SG Portland Trailblazers

Yes, Batum will most likely be playing behind Gerald Wallace in Portland, but this silky-smooth Frenchman had his numbers increase across the board last year. Known for his shooting ability, Batum was trusted to take the last shot on a number of occasions last year.

Only 23, Batum will be the sixth man this year for the Trailblazers, but looks for his overall performance to improve, even after last year's impressive showing. His attempts per game have increased by three each year—look for that so increase, as the Blazers need the shooting.


Marc Gasol C Memphis Grizzlies

No longer just known as Pau's brother, Marc made a name for himself when he and Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies into the playoffs. Averaging nearly 12 points and seven rebounds per game, Gasol's numbers dipped some from the previous year, only due to the fact that the Grizzlies became a pass-first team.

The highly sought-after center was on the wish list for many teams during the offseason, but re-signed with Memphis with a reasonable deal of four years, $58 million. Now, as the Grizzlies have developed the proper chemistry and have Gasol, Randolph, Gay and Conley wrapped in long-term deals, look for the cohesiveness to continue—as well as Gasol's impressive offensive output.


Eric Gordon SG New Orleans Hornets

This one is a no-brainer. The main cog of the Chris Paul to the Clippers trade, Gordon has NO ONE threatening his job, nor a reliable second scorer on the team.

This 23-year-old has the green light to shoot at least 20 times per game. Having seen him produce 22 points per game last year, some find it hard to imagine he can improve on that number. But with the lack of depth on New Orleans this year, he may just be the entire team.

If you have the chance, draft this man.