|ANTHONY DAVIS: New Orleans Hornets|
Written by: Prospect-Central
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 #05-01 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.
(5) JAMES McADOO sf/pf / 6'9'' 220 / North Carolina
The day James McAdoo decided to commit to UNC, it was almost a forgone conclusion he would be a Breakout Player candidate going into his sophomore year. The classic 3-4 tweener, McAdoo had two established forwards ahead of him on the Tar Heels depth chart. Harrison Barnes would obviously log the majority of minutes at the small forward position and John Henson would do the same at power forward. It was apparent early in the season the top 10 recruit would have to bide his time before he could truly make his presence felt. The former high school All-American only played 15.6 minutes per game and finished the year averaging 6.1 points and 3.9 rebounds. He did show glimpses of his potential towards the end of the season, including a couple nice games in the NCAA tournament. With Barnes and Henson now in the NBA, McAdoo should be the main option for the Tar Heels come November. While he's extremely talented, you ultimately measure a player on production, not potential. If James McAdoo has aspirations of being a top 5 pick in this years draft, he'll need to shed the label "Breakout Player" and finally emerge as the Tar Heels go-to-guy.
(4a) ANDRE DRUMMOND pf/c / 6'10'' 270 / Detroit Pistons
I was born in Detroit, so you can only imagine how excited I am over the Pistons young nucleus of Andre Drummond, Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe. While Joe Dumars has dropped the ball in the past, most notably drafting Darko Milicic in 2003, it appears he may have struck gold with this talented trio of top 10 picks. After an up-and-down freshman year at Uconn, averaging 10.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks, Andre Drummond fell into the Pistons lap on draft night. He was selected 9th overall in 2012 and Detroit will need his production right away if they want to make the playoffs. The jury's definitely out on Drummond and he probably would have missed the cut if it wasn't for the other two Pistons, but he's a 19-year-old athletic freak of nature, with an unlimited amount of potential. Worse case scenario for Drummond; he's an above average NBA player who becomes a multi-millionaire, but I personally see some All-Star games in his future.
(4b) BRANDON KNIGHT pg / 6'3'' 190 / Detroit Pistons
Entering his second year in the league, Brandon Knight has transitioned beautifully to the NBA game. Drafted 8th overall in 2011, Knight had an outstanding rookie year with the Pistons. He averaged 12.8 points, 3.8 assists, 3.2 rebounds and was an NBA All-Rookie First Team selection. Even though Knight played extremely well, he still struggled at times. He needs to be more efficient with the basketball as well as cut down on turnovers. He recently attended the 2012 NBA Summer league and despite averaging 14.5 points and 7.3 assists, his decision making was questionable at times, as was evident by his 4 turnovers a game. Whatever the case may be, Brandon Knight's only 20-years-old and obviously has the skills to flourish in the NBA for a while. With the two big's Drummond and Monroe controlling the paint and Knight running the point, Pistons fans should be very excited about what's in store for the future.
(4c) GREG MONROE c / 6'11'' 250 / Detroit Pistons
Drafted 7th overall in 2010, Greg Monroe already had his breakout season in my opinion. Last year he averaged 15.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and had an outstanding Player Efficiency Rating of 22.09. Even though Monroe averaged over 15 points per game, he's only entering his third year in the league and his career scoring average is 12.1 points, so he barely makes the cut. Individually these three players would not be ranked so high, but collectively they have a chance to help Detroit become a Breakout Team. The current Pistons roster will never become the "Bad Boys" of old, but with the young core of Drummond, Knight and Monroe, they at least have something to build on. The Playoffs are certainly not out of the picture for the 2012-13 season, but in order for that to happen, Detroit will need all three players balling at a very high level.
(3) THON MAKER pf/c / 7'0'' 200 / Class of 2016
If you don't know who Thon Maker is yet, you need to wake up and smell the coffee, because over the next four years the 7-foot Sudanese native is about to run through high school basketball. He burst onto the scene a year ago at the 2011 John Lucas Middle School Combine and hasn't looked back since. Besides being the top prospect in nearly every camp he's attended, Thon's been tearing up the AAU circuit this summer as well. He had an exceptional performance at the 2012 Nike EYBL with the 17U Jackson Tigers and he won an 8th grade national championship with Dunk Dog Elite. Thon was also invited to the Adidas Nations in August, which is a huge accomplishment for any high school player let alone an incoming freshman. He'll play for Metairie Park Country Day (Metairie, LA) his freshmen year, but with his talent, I won't be surprised if he eventually transfers to a powerhouse basketball program down the line. Since he's only 15-years-old, it would be a little premature to assume Thon Maker will still be the top prospect in his grade once he graduates high school, but for the time being there's no question in my mind he's the #1 player in the Class of 2016.
(2) SHABAZZ MUHAMMAD sg/sf / 6'6'' 225 / UCLA
There are many freshmen who should have breakout seasons in college basketball this year, but there's only one that cracked Prospect-Central's top 25; Shabazz Muhammad! There's still an ongoing debate if Shabazz is the #1 player in the Class of 2012 or Kentucky's Nerlens Noel, but you obviously know who gets my vote. Shabazz had an incredible senior year for Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV), averaging 29 ppg on his way to being named a McDonald's All-American, Jordan Brand Classic invite and National Player of the Year. The NCAA is currently investigating a past relationship with two financial advisers, which is causing Shabazz to have some eligibility issues at UCLA, so I'm not exactly sure when he'll step on the floor for the Bruins. Once he's cleared to play however, college basketball is in for a rude awakening. He's an elite level athlete with the skill-set to match and with fellow freshmen Kyle Anderson, Tony Parker and Jordan Adams joining the Bruins, it's obvious why UCLA is a preseason top 10 team in the country. If Shabazz plays up to his potential, it's almost inevitable he'll be a top 3 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
(1) ANTHONY DAVIS pf/c / 6'10'' 220 / New Orleans Hornets
Since Anthony Davis never played one game in the NBA, he's technically considered a "Breakout Player" for the 2012-13 season, but over the last two years Davis has broken out more than the two dudes who escaped from Alcatraz. He was am unknown 6-foot 2-inch point guard going into junior year of high school; 8-inches later, Anthony Davis was the #1 player in the Class of 2011 and headed to Kentucky. He averaged 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and a ridiculous 4.7 blocks for the Wildcats, on his way to winning a plethora of awards and the 2012 NCAA Championship. After New Orleans selected him with the first pick in this years draft, Davis was off to London to win a gold medal with Team USA. While he played sparingly for Coach K, he was still very productive every time he stepped on the floor and made history in the process. At only 19, Davis became the youngest gold medalist in American Olympic basketball history. It will be interesting to see his impact in New Orleans this year. The Hornets are definitely in the rebuilding process, but with Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, and rookie Austin Rivers, they're at least headed in the right direction. Anthony Davis has all the tools to eventually become a perennial NBA All-Star and barring any unforeseen circumstances, he's the clear-cut favorite for the 2012-13 NBA Rookie of the Year.