As the NBA season nears its debut, NBA Primetime’sBrandon Ribak breaks down the top players destined for a breakout this season.
J.J. Hickson (PF, CLE)
Last season J.J. Hickson posted 8.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in just 20.9 minutes per contest. With LeBron not around Hickson should be provided with plenty of minutes per game, giving him an opportunity to average close to a double-double every night.
At the age of 22, Hickson has potential to be a top candidate for the Most Improved Player of the Year Award, especially if he can remain healthy and produce with the ample amount of playing time given.
Anthony Randolph (PF/C, NYK)
The 6’11″ 21-year-old was a top name on this list just one season ago, but after playing just 33 regular season games and averaging a mere 22.7 MPG (due to Don Nelson) the athletic power-forward is getting the chance to make up for lost time in the New York Knicks run-and-gun system.
Randolph has extreme upside and has the arsenal to average a double-double on a nightly basis along with over a steal and block per game.
If Randolph can log starters minutes on a consistent basis, the young gun is capable of posting eye-popping statistics.
Brooke Lopez (C, NJN)
Lopez will look to build upon his sophomore season averages of 18.8 PPG, 8.7 RPG, and 1.7 BPG. Centers that can score, rebound, and defend efficiently are a rare commodity in the NBA and at the age of just 22, Lopez has the ability to emerge as a top two center in the league.
Considering that he has yet to miss a game throughout his two year career, with career shooting averages of 51.5 percent from the field and 81.0 percent from the charity stripe, Lopez has all the weapons necessary to emerge as an All-Star this season.
Jrue Holiday (PG, PHI)
In only 24.2 MPG last season, 20-year-old Jrue Holiday averaged 8.0 points, 3.8 assists, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game.
Holiday will enter the upcoming season as the Sixers’ starting point-guard, signaling that the former UCLA Bruins should be in for a breakout year.
We can expect Holiday to become a top leader in steals per game, along with an above average assist rate.
Robin Lopez (C, PHX)
With Amare Stoudemire out of the picture, Robin Lopez will be leaned upon to log heavy minutes for Phoenix at the center position.
While Robin Lopez certainly doesn’t have the same game as his brother Brooke, he does have the capability of averaging close to a double-double per game.
Starters minutes with Steve Nash as your point-guard is the recipe for a breakout season for any big man.For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime