Each year, there are a few guys that break out of the shell of mediocrity and explode onto the scene... My predictions for the year:
DeMarcus Cousins (last year: 18.1 ppg, 11 rpg, 1.2 bpg, 45% FG)
Projections: 20.7 ppg, 12.1 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 50% FG
Why? Cousins hasn't had any maturity setbacks in quite some time, either im speaking too soon or he's actually grown up a bit... Either way, his talent is undeniable and he's the best player on the Kings roster. He has an array of post moves and his size is hard to compete against. Expect an all-star year for him.
Enes Kanter (4.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 0.3 bpg, 50% FG)
Projections: 9.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 0.7 bpg, 54% FG
Why? Kanter has been a stud in the pre-season and even the most challenged of coaches - Ty Corbin can't keep this guy off the bench. His craftiness in the paint and improved body will help his conditioning and allow him to be more of a defensive presence. Millsap could be benched and Jefferson moved to create room.
Kyrie Irving (18.5 ppg, 5.4 apg, 3.7 rpg, 47% FG)
Projections: 21.9 ppg, 7.7 apg, 3.8 rpg, 46% FG
Why? Irving had a fantastic rookie year and there's no reason he won't have an even better sophomore campaign with the additions of Miles and Waiters to help take some pressure off. He has a knack for hitting clutch shots and has potential superstar written all over him.
Tobias Harris (5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.5 apg, 47% FG)
Projections: 10.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.6 apg, 46% FG
Why? Harris has apparently earned the starting small forward position in Milwaukee. He has the size and toughness to battle small forwards and has the handling and speed to be a tough matchup for power forwards. I dont think Milwaukee will be a great team but they have some pretty nice young pieces if Harris, Henson, Lamb, and Sanders can display some positive things this year.
OJ Mayo (12.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.6 apg, 41% FG)
Projections: 16.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.8 apg, 43% FG
Why? Mayo once averaged 18+ points per game with the Grizz but fell out of favor for his poor shot selection, lackadaiscal defense, and inability to perform like a professional coming off the bench. In Dallas, he gets a chance to start and prove that he can be that 18 point per game scorer again. He will have more responsibility, which I'm sure he's happy about, to put the ball up this season with a more defensive-minded roster amongst him.
Robin Lopez (5.4 ppg, 3.3, 0.9 bpg, 46% FG)
Projections: 10.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 51% FG
Why? Lopez is another guy that moves from the bench to a starting role. He'll be able to show his defensive capabilities and even though he's just 24 he can be a veteran presence to a completely overhauled and young group of guys. He is talented, not offensively like his brother, but should get a chance to put the ball in the bucket a bit more than when he was in Phoenix.
Glen Davis (9.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 0.8 apg, 42% FG)
Projections: 16.1 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.1 apg, 45% FG
Why? Davis is now The Man in Orlando with D12 gone. He'll start in the frontcourt and be relied up on heavily on the offensive end for a team that lacks scoring. He has had a wonderful preseason so far and his ability to stretch the floor will make opposing centers hate guarding him.
Kawhi Leonard (7.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.1 apg, 49% FG)
Projections: 11.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.0 apg, 51% FG
Why? Leonard is a jack of all trades, he's like a more efficient version of a younger Trevor Ariza. He can shoot, play D, and he's gifted at finding his teammates. He won't be asked to score as much as he will in 2-3 years but I'm thinking Pop will want to see him explore taking the ball to the basket a little more frequently this year. He's a long time starter at the 3 in this league.
but i got a feeling that foul trouble will stop him from getting numbers like that.
CJ Miles couldnt take the pressure off a sealed bottle of Coke.
Evan Turner, Michael Beasley, Kyle Lowry
I don't understand how there can be a breakout performer list without Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner who are both primed to explode this year for a revitalized Sixers franchise featuring both of them along with Bynum as the faces of their storied franchise.
Holiday has looked fantastic since training camp begun coming in stronger, shooting better and ready to lead.
I expect Holiday to avg about 16ppg and over 7apg while shooting 40% from 3 and playing lockdown defense. Holiday is starting to remind me more and more of a younger Chauncey Billups with his size for a PG and his ability to hit big shots.
Evan Turner is going to fill up the stat sheets in a way similar to Iggy this year only Turner is a much better natural scorer. With all the shooters the Sixers now boast, Turner should flourish taking people off the dribble with the newfound space hell have to drive. Turner could average anywhere from 12-17 ppg this year but he's also certain to avg atleast 7rpg and 4apg.
Enes Kanter is an animal. The Jazz would be foolish to keep him hidden behind Jefferson too much longer. Similar to the situation in Minny with Love, expect Kanter to dominate once Jefferson leaves town.
Kemba Walker and Byron Mullens are both primed to put up big numbers on a terrible team.
Gortat should continue to establish himself as one of the best C's in the league while Beasley puts his full skill set and scoring ability on display in Phoenix. Also Goran Dragic is pretty good.
For the Cavs I expect Tristan Thompson to emerge as a gritty athletic big man that finishes in traffic and defends the paint.
Brandon Knight looks like he could take a big step forward this year for the Pistons.
One team I really expect to make noise this year as a whole is the Toronto Raptors who suddenly found themselves with a young athletic group of hungry players who should be fun to watch.
Holiday will breakout but I think you're all a little too high on Evan Turner, keep in mind, Philly has a crowded group of wings, many of whom can shoot the lights out (richardson, nick young, wright) which Turner has yet to prove he can do...Doug Collins likes defenders which Evan is, but without Bynum (if and when he gets hurt) they'll need some offensive production
Look for Dragic to have a big year.
I'm gonna add Grevius Vasquez, I think as the Hornet's starter he's going to see his numbers of 9 ppg 5.4 apg rise ever further with another year's experience. He was a 12 ppg 7 apg player as a starter and...
I could see him averaging - 13.2 ppg 7.5 apg and a little over a steal per game as a starter for NO this year.
Keep in mind Dirk had his first knee surgery in his mid 30's. I think he'll be slower getting going so maybe Mayo's stats to be higher