Breakout stars

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Raffy Ledesma

Raffy Ledesma

With the NBA season just around the corner, discussions have mostly centered on a few superstars. Can the Carmelo Anthony-Phil Jackson tandem finally turn the New York Knicks?  Can LeBron James and the new-look Cavaliers bring home the franchise’s first title? Can the Bulls be relevant again with the return of former MVP Derrick Rose and the entry of Pau Gasol?

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However, there are a few NBA players that are on the cusp of a breakout season. When I say breakout, these are players on the verge of becoming stars which by definition is a player who can carry his team on any given night.  He may not be the main man, so to speak, but his talent is enough to push his team over the top.

Here are the potential breakout stars in the 2014-2015 season:

1) Andre Drummond (C)— Drummond is already one of the best centers in the NBA.  He averaged 13.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks last season in a team wherein he had to share the interior with another center Greg Monroe and Josh Smith—a natural power forward who played off position as the starting small forward. He now has Stan Van Gundy as a coach who in the Orlando Magic surrounded Dwight Howard with shooters to maximize the latter’s post game. If everything clicks, Drummond will be a monster in Detroit.

2) Kawhi Leonard (G-F)—Leonard took home the 2014 Finals MVP and he will be—more and more—the focal point of the ageing San Antonio Spurs. The team’s Big Three (Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili) are well past their prime and are slowly handing the reins over to Leonard. This season will be Leonard’s litmus test. He will need to show more consistency while putting up star-caliber numbers.

3) Bradley Beal (G)—Beal is a super shooter who is the other half of what could be the league’s most potent guard combination (his partner is John Wall).  At 21 years old, he has an incredibly high ceiling and is already being likened to Ray Allen—perhaps the best shooter to ever play the game.

4) Jabari Parker (F)—The No. 2 2014 draft pick is touted to be the Rookie of the Year. He joins a Milwaukee Bucks team that will look to him from day one to put points on the board. Parker is freakishly athletic and can finish around the rim or in the perimeter. He will probably approach 20 points a game, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in his rookie season—near the numbers that King James put up in his 1st year.

5) Anthony Davis (C)—Davis is every opposing coach’s nightmare since he impacts the game in so many ways.

Technically, he is already a star (20.8 ppg, 10 rpg, and 2.8 bpg) but this season, he will rank among the NBA’s best. Yes, I am talking in the realm of LeBron James and Kevin Durant. He already has a developed post game and footwork. More importantly, he is a great rim-protector and weak side defender. Mark my words; Davis has the potential to become one of the greats.

raffyrledesma@yahoo.com

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