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Tag:Minnesota Timberwolves
Posted on: October 22, 2010 1:12 pm
 

Top NBA Players Stepping Into Stardom This Season

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.

With the NBA season quickly approaching, NBAPrimetime’s Brandon Ribak presents the top NBA players stepping into stardom this season.

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)

Joakim Noah made a major leap last season when he grabbed down 11.0 rebounds per game (T-6th most in the NBA) along with 10.7 PPG and 1.6 BPG.

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)

Kevin Love ranked 14th in the NBA last season in double-doubles (36) and 10th amongst all big men.

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
Posted on: October 19, 2010 12:30 pm
 

Each Conferences Biggest Surprise Team

The NBA’s biggest surprise team this season for both the Western and Eastern conference, brought to you by NBAPrimetime’s Brandon Ribak.

Western Conference

Utah Jazz

Although Jerry Sloan has yet to intake a big whiff of an NBA trophy in over a decade, his team has consistently made the postseason for the last four years in a row (winning at least 48 games during the regular season in that span).

This off-season the Utah Jazz obtained center Al Jefferson via trade, providing the team with a much more dominate inside threat on the defensive end as opposed to Carlos Boozer (career average of 1.2 BPG compared to Carlos Boozers’ 0.5 BPG).

Center Mehmet Okur is currently sidelined with an injury and has no timetable for a return. With Okur out, 25-year-old Paul Millsap will once again step into the starting power-forward role.

During the 08′-09′ regular season, Millsap averaged an impressive 18 points and 11 rebounds per game in 19 starts (with Boozer sidelined), achieving a double-double in each game.

The duo of Jefferson and Millsap should uplift the Jazz’s regular season win total up a few notches, but for a deep playoff run the team will look for the league’s top point-guard, Deron Williams, to quarterback the offense (Williams has posted at least 18.8PPG and 10.5 APG in each of his last three seasons).

Eastern Conference

Chicago Bulls

Even though the Chicago Bulls were never able to obtain Dwyane Wade, LeBron James or Chris Bosh this off-season, they were able to sign key players that should help make the team one of the top in the Eastern Conference this season.

Carlos Boozer (out until December) was a huge signing and will assume the power-forward duties for Chicago once he returns to the court.

Boozer gives the Bulls a stretch four forward who can knock down perimeter jumpers and rebound with the best of them.

Chicago also signed shooting-guards Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver this off-season.

Brewer is known for his perimeter defense and will match up against the top stars in the league for the Bulls.

Korver is one of the best sharp-shooters in the NBA and has the ability to absolutely light it up from downtown at virtually any moment during a game. Last season Korver shot an absurd 53.6 percent from three-point territory and the guard will look to shoot the same for Chicago this season.

Add Chicago’s off-season additions (along with their new head coach Tom Thibodeau) to a team composed of point-guard Derrick Rose, center Joakim Noah, and small-forward Luol Deng, and you’ve got yourself a roster destined to make a splash this season.

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime
Posted on: October 7, 2010 2:09 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2010 9:34 pm
 

Top Five Offseason Acquiring Impact Players

If you’re even a casual NBA fan, you know just how crazy of an offseason the league has had over the last few months.

From Atlanta re-signing Joe Johnson to an offseason highest $126 million deal, all the way to Shaquille O’Neal signing a veteran minimum contract with the Boston Celtics.

NBA Primetime’s Brandon Ribak breaks down the top five acquired players this offseason (excluding re-signings) that will have the biggest impact towards their new teams.

5. David Lee (C, GSW)

After being only one of two players in the NBA to average 20+ PPG and 11+ RPG last season, New York Knicks center David Lee agreed to a sign-and-trade in which he was shipped to Golden State.

Lee led the league in double-doubles during the 08′-09′ season and ranked fourth during last season.

The 27-year old will provide the Warriors with a sure fire double-double threat night in and night out with potential to improve on his career-high stats from last season.

Although the Warriors don’t have much of a chance to contend for a playoff seed this season, adding Lee, in addition to a new owner and head-coach, could be a sign of good things to come.

4. Amare Stoudemire (PF, NYK)

After eight long years with the Phoenix Suns , Amare Stoudemire signed a $100 million contract with the New York Knicks this offseason.

Stoudemire gives the Knicks a dominant threat on the offensive end of the court who has already proven to excel in his former head-coaches system of play.

During the D’Antoni reign in Phoenix, Stoudemire put together career-highs in PPG, FG%, RPG, and BPG.

With a solid core around the power-forward, Stoudemire should have no problem inflating his overall averages during the upcoming season and for years to come.

3. Al Jefferson (PF/C, UTA)

The Utah Jazz spent no time seeking another big man after unrestricted free-agent Carlos Boozer decided to sign with the Chicago Bulls .

Within five days of Boozer’s announcement, the Jazz already agreed in principle to acquire Al Jefferson from the Minnesota Timberwolves .

Jefferson boasts averages of 20.4 PPG and 10.5 RPG over the last three seasons with the Timberwolves (.243 win percentage over that span).

Big Al will be competing for a playoff spot for the first time in his six year career and while he most likely won’t convert his 20 and 10 averages over to his new team, he should be able to produce solid all-around stats (especially with D-Will feeding him the rock).

2. Carlos Boozer (PF, CHI)

Carlos Boozer decided to sign with the Chicago Bulls this offseason after spending the last six years with the Utah Jazz .

Boozer supplies Chicago with a much needed power-forward who can produce on the offensive end of the floor and grab rebounds on the defensive side.

Paired up with Joakim Noah , these big men give the Bulls one of the best front-court duo’s in the league.

With point-guard Derrick Rose blossoming into an even better player, center Joakim Noah continuing to make a name for himself amongst the elite big men in the league, and the acquiring of Carlos Boozer , the Bulls have all the weapons needed to contend for a championship.

1. LeBron James /Chris Bosh (SF/PF-MIA)

LeBron James ‘ presence on the court instantly uplifts the Miami Heat into championship contention.

Teamed up with Wade and Bosh, the Heat have undoubtedly the most talented trio in all of the NBA.

James gives the Heat a born leader (who is salivating for his first title) that can distribute the rock and virtually do anything on the court.

Bosh provides Miami with a big man that can dominate the boards and knock down perimeter jumpers from all around the basket.

Many believe that the Heat have weaknesses at the point-guard and center position, but with the trio on the court, anything will be possible for Miami this season.

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com