Every NBA season, there are a handful of players that have breakout years and catch everyone's attention.
Hoopsvibe's very quick call: This year will be no different.
With each draft class, the league gets more and more competitive. New, young talent comes out of the woodwork; and players that we may have never expected to be all-stars, prove us wrong.
Here is a list of 5 players who I think will have breakout years in the 2012-2013 NBA season:
1.) Kyrie Irving
While this probably doesn't come as a surprise to any NBA fan, Kyrie Irving is set to go off. Many people will say his breakout year was last year but I'm saying it's this one coming; because I think he's going to be even better. The current reigning NBA Rookie of the Year averaged 18.5 points, 5.4 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game last season and was definitely the bright spot in the Cavaliers lineup. But I'm not the only one who thinks that this season will be better for Irving. Cavs coach Byron Scott was quoted at media day saying, "I expect him to be better than he was last year. I think Kyrie is going to have a breakout season."
Interesting fact: By averaging 18 points and 5 assists per game last year, Irving became the 5th player in NBA history to do so in his rookie season alongside Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Allen Iverson and Lebron James.
2.) Anthony Davis
It isn't often that rookies come into the league and dominate. But then again, Anthony Davis isn't your average rookie. The 6'10" unibrowed baller played only one season in Kentucky (where he led the Wildcats to a National Championship) before being drafted #1 overall by the New Orleans Hornets in the 2012 NBA draft. It isn't as much his college experience but more so his professional experience playing in this summer's London Olympics (he was put on the team when Blake Griffin got hurt) that I think will set him apart. Davis is already comfortable playing with guys at the highest level. Look for him to breakout in 2012-13.
3.) Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin became a fan favorite, especially in the city of New York, when he got claimed off waivers by the Knicks last season (in the wake of injuries to multiple guards on their roster) and subsequently led one of the most captivating win streaks in sports history. In his 12 starts before the All-Star break last year, Lin averaged 22.5 points and 8.7 assists, leading the Knicks to a 9-3 record. Just as Lin had gotten everyone's attention, doctors found a small tear in his meniscus, Lin opted for season-ending surgery, and Linsanity was over. Lin became a free agent at the end of the season and ended up signing with the Rockets. While his run in New York may be over for now, look for one of the NBA's smartest point guards (Lin's a Harvard graduate) to have a breakout year in Houston where he should be given a great opportunity to lead his team.
4.) Kenneth Faried
As a rookie in Denver, Faried was a beast. He averaged 10.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in the regular season; he averaged 10.4 points and 10 rebounds in the first round of the playoffs. I saw him play in person against the Lakers last season and Faried presented a very difficult matchup. He's athletic, strong, full of energy and at 6'8", 230 pounds, has enough size (with his athleticism) to guard any player in the league. Not to mention, if there's a loose ball, there's a damn good chance Faried is somewhere near it. Look for his numbers to increase in all areas (minutes played, points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, etc).
5.) Andrew Bynum
Last year in Los Angles, Andrew Bynum showed the world what he is truly capable of. He had 21 points and 22 rebounds in a game against the Rockets, thus recording the first 20-20 game of his career. He was selected as a starter to his first All-Star game. On April 11th, he grabbed an NBA season high 30 rebounds against a very talented and well-coached San Antonio Spurs team. He finished the season with the Lakers with career highs in minutes, rebounds and points per game and was constantly debated over as one of, if not, the best center in the league.
However, he was also benched at one point for shooting an ill-advised three-pointer. He was constantly seen pouting on the bench and not participating in team huddles during timeouts. As talented as he was, it didn't always appear that Bynum's head (and heart) were in it. But he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers this offseason and will now be playing home games in an arena that's geographically located about an hour from where he grew up in South Jersey; a place closer to his heart; and much closer to his friends and family. Bynum's demeanor since moving to Philly seems to have changed for the better and I think in the 2012-13 season, both his numbers and attitude will improve; and a legend will be born a little closer to home.
So what do you think, Hoopsvibers??? Will these players breakout??
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