Sunday, September 2, 2012
NBA, NCAA, High School: 25 Breakout Players for 2012-13 Season (10-06)
There are a many different ways to describe a "Breakout Player." It could be a player who's been ineffective or marginal in the past and suddenly becomes a stud or it could be a player who's already been dominate, but has yet to start playing in their new league; NBA, NCAA, High School, etc,etc. It could also be a good player on the cusp of greatness or an already great player that's never even been heard about before. Whatever it may be, these 25 players should have nice 2012-13 seasons in their respective leagues and more than likely remain relevant in the game of basketball for a while. * Below are Prospect-Central's #10-06 Breakout Players for the 2012-13 basketball season. Order of the rankings has to do with how well players will perform in their respective leagues as opposed to being individually ranked against each other. Click for the rest of the players at the end of the article.
(10) C.J. LESLIE sf/pf / 6'9'' 210 / N.C. State
Opinions may vary, but the only college junior to crack Prospect-Central's Breakout Players list for the 2012-13 season might have already broken out. As I stated before, if a college or NBA player averaged 15 points or more the year before, they weren't really a breakout player in my opinion. Last year as a sophomore for N.C. State, C.J. Leslie averaged 14.7 ppg, so he's technically eligible for the selection. Not only did Leslie light it up on offense, he averaged 7 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 1 steal and was named to the All-ACC 2nd Team. Along with his scoring prowess, Leslie really has a chance to make a difference on the defensive side of the ball. His 54 blocks as a sophomore was the sixth highest single season total in N.C. State's history. The combo forward is an explosive athlete with all the tools to eventually become an outstanding pro. For the time being however, he needs to focus on helping his current team live up to lofty expectations. N.C. State should probably be a pre-season top 10 team in the country and with returning players Lorenzo Brown, Richard Howell and Scott Wood, plus incoming freshmen Rodney Purvis, T.J. Warren and Tyler Lewis, the Wolfpack should be ready to make a deep run come March. If C.J. Leslie can play up to his potential, N.C. State might be a serious tittle contender.
(9) KLAY THOMPSON sg / 6'7'' 205 / Golden State Warriors
It seems like only yesterday Klay Thompson was busted for Chronic. Now the only thing he's smoking are NBA defenses. Drafted 11th overall in 2011, Thompson had a stellar rookie campaign for the Warriors. He averaged 12.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.0 apg and was an NBA All-Rookie First Team selection. Where Thompson was most impressive was his long distance shooting. He shot a blistering 41% from downtown, which was first among rookies. Add the sweet stoke of Stephen Curry to the mix and Golden State might have the deadliest shooting back court in the NBA. While Klay won't blow you away with his athleticism, he seems to have adjusted to the speed of the game very well and should only improve as a player throughout his career. The Warriors are always a fun team to watch and despite the fact they usually miss the playoffs, I still like the direction they're headed in. Golden State had a nice 2012 draft and if Klay Thompson continues to develop his game, they might be contending for a playoff spot sooner than expected.
(8) TONY MITCHELL sf/pf / 6'8 235 / North Texas
For anyone that follows college basketball, Tony Mitchell's freshman year was nice enough to already consider him a Breakout Player. He averaged 14.7 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 3.0 bpg and showed why he was a top 25 recruit coming out of high school. I guess the main reason he made the cut is due to the fact he plays for North Texas. No disrespect to the Mean Green and their devoted fan base, but they're not exactly a powerhouse program. Since Mitchell redshirted his freshman year, he should technically be a junior, but it really makes no difference either way. Whatever the case may be, he'll have one more year of college ball before he takes his talents to the NBA. It's not a forgone conclusion he'll enter the draft after his sophomore year, but it's definitely more than likely. He recently attended the 2012 LeBron James Skills Academy and was considered the best college prospect in the event. If he can mimic his freshman year as well as impress NBA GM's at various workouts, Tony Mitchell will have a legitimate shot at being a top 5 pick in 2013.
(7) DAMIAN LILLARD pg / 6'3'' 195 / Portland Trail Blazers
A year ago Damian Lillard was entering his senior year at Weber State and still a relatively unknown prospect. While he was definitely on the radar of NBA GM's, no one had him projected as a top 10 pick. After averaging 24 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists as a senior, Damian Lillard's future was written. He was drafted 6th overall by the Blazers and should be their starting point guard once the regular season kicks off in October. If he plays the way he did in the 2012 NBA Summer League, Portland may have found their floor general for the next decade. Lillard was absolutely sensational, averaging 26 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and was named Co-MVP along with Memphis Grizzles Josh Selby. If Portland wants to even sniff the playoffs this upcoming season, Damian Lillard will need to have a breakout rookie year. The Blazers have one star in LaMarcus Aldridge, an excellent player in Nicholas Batum, and two decent players in J.J. Hickson and Wesley Matthews, but outside of that their roster is pretty weak. Regardless of the situation, Damian Lillard appears to be the real deal and may end up becoming the steal of the 2012 NBA Draft.
(6) IVAN RABB pf / 6'9'' 200 / Class of 2015
While he has the perfect name to be a star in the WWE, Ivan Rabb doesn't seem interested in becoming Iron Shiek's tag-team partner any time soon. And for good reason. The future of this high school sophomore is on the basketball court, not in the ring. The native of Oakland, California is by no means an unknown recruit however. Even though he had a nice freshman year at Bishop O'Dowd High School, Rabb really started to take his game to another level over summer. He had some nice performances on the AAU circuit with the 17U Oakland Soldiers and was one of only three high school freshmen invited to the 2012 LeBron James Skills Academy. Wisconsin native Diamond Stone and New Jersey's Isaiah Briscoe were the other two selections. There's a lot to be intrigued about Ivan Rabb's game. He has excellent length, terrific athleticism and runs the floor extremely well. He also has some nice post moves, solid basketball IQ and plays with a non-stop motor. Since he has three years before he graduates high school, Ivan Rabb's future's not exactly written in stone, but he's probably a top 5 player in the Class of 2015. He's already received scholarship offers from Arizona & Cal and it's only a matter of time before the rest of the nation comes knocking.