The top NBA players stepping into stardom this season are players that have never made it to the All-Star game. These players performed exceptionally well last season and have the tools to lift their game to the next level this year.
Tyreke Evans (G, SAC)
If winning the Rookie of the Year Award isn’t enough to convince you that Tryeke Evans is destined to become an All-Star this season then maybe this little fun fact will.
Evans was one of only four players to ever average at least 20 PPG, 5 APG, and 5 RPG during his rookie season.
The other three?
Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James. Pretty good company, huh?
Being just 21 years of age, the Memphis alum has all the weapons in his arsenal to improve on last seasons statistics, making him a legitimate candidate for the All-Star selection.
Andrea Bargnani (C, TOR)
Andrea Bargnani was viewed as somewhat of a bust after being selected with the first overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft.
With averages of just 12.4 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 0.8 BPG on 42.1 FG% during his first three years, it was reasonable for Raptors fans to get a bit concerned about their former first overall draft pick.
But after last seasons performance (17.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 1.4 BPG on 47.0 FG%) and the departure of Chris Bosh this offseason, Bargnani has instantly become the face of the Toronto Raptors’ franchise.
Without Bosh taking up 20+ PPG and 10+ RPG, Bargnani’s stats will inevitably increase, giving him potential to average close to a double-double per night (with well above 20 points per contest).
Aaron Brooks (PG, HOU)
Aaron Brooks took home the Most Improved Player Award last season and rightfully so. The point-guard out of Oregon dropped 19.6 PPG, 5.3 APG, and 2.6 RPG in 82 games played.
He managed to lead the league in three-pointers made per game and drained the most three-pointers (209) in the entire NBA.
Brooks has officially become an upper echelon point-guard in the league and has the potential to continue to improve at the age of 25.
Brooke Lopez (C, NJN)
If you don’t know much about Brooke Lopez now, you certainly will after this upcoming season.
Lopez boasts career averages of 15.9 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 1.7 BPG on 51.2 percent shooting from the field.
At the age of 22, the seven-footer is destined to improve on virtually every statistical category this season.
Last season Lopez posted just under 19 points and 9 rebounds per game, giving us a sign that a double-double per contest is well in reach.
The former Stanford Cardinal has proved very durable during his first two seasons in the league (failing to miss a game) and will be amongst the top centers in the Eastern Conference selected for the All-Star game this year.
Stephen Curry (PG, GS)
Many analysts doubted Stephen Curry and his potential due to his tiny 6’3″ and 183 lb. frame, boy were they wrong.
Curry finished his rookie campaign as one of the top candidates for the ROY award, averaging 17.5 PPG, 5.9 APG (led all rookies), 4.5 RPG, and 1.9 SPG (led all rookies) on 46.2 percent from the field, 43.7 percent from three-point territory, and 88.5 percent from the charity stripe.
Being just 22 years old, the sky is truly the limit for this young and upcoming point-guard.
Curry has potential to become a top five point-guard in the NBA this season with the chance to lead the league in steals per game, three-point shooting percentage, and/or free-throw percentage.
Joakim Noah (C, CHI)
With the offseason signing of Carlos Boozer (out until December) Noah’s rebounds could take a hit, but his scoring and blocks per night should continue to rise.
The 25-year old has one of the top point-guards in the NBA in Derrick Rose and if he can manage to stay healthy for the duration of the season, the 6’11″ big man has the upside to emerge as one of the best centers in the league.
Kevin Love (PF, MIN)
The 6’10″ power-forward will have the opportunity to improve upon last seasons performance when he pulled down 11 rebounds per contest (T-6th best in the NBA) with starting center Al Jefferson shipped to the Utah Jazz.
Love has averaged just 26.7 minutes per game throughout his short two-year career and should see a major increase in playing time this season.
With more PT Love should be able to emerge as a top three rebounder in the NBA.For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime