NBA Players Poised For A Great Season

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Updated: October 20, 2014
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With the season about one week away, we’re all excited to see our favorite players compete for a chance at an NBA title (or Jahlil Okafor). We’re all ready to see LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and the rookies Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. Other than those guys, who are the NBA players that are flying under the radar? The guys that no one knows yet, but we’ll all be talking about by season’s end? Here are a couple guys I think may do just that.

 

T.J. Warren

Last year’s stats (NC State): 24.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.1 apt, 52.5 FG%

In such a deep rookie class many still aren’t too familiar with T.J. Warren, but everyone soon will be. The North Carolina State product is a great scorer, and that may be a conservative comment.. The 6-foot-8 forward has all the offensive tools to be a 20-plus points per game scorer, and has the ability to score from anywhere inside the arc. Also at his advantage, he’ll be playing with the Phoenix Suns, who are known for their fast-paced, high octane offensive style.

Warren should fit right in and be a big part of an offense that could use a go-to scorer late in games. If Warren ends up playing a huge role for the Suns, and they make the playoffs — which they were only a game away from doing last year — Warren might get himself into Rookie of the Year conversations.

Dwyane Wade

Last year’s stats: 19 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.7 apt,  54.5 FG%

The departure of James has been accredited to not only his desire to go back home, but because he believed Cleveland would surround him with a better supporting cast. A lot of people pointed to Dwyane Wade‘s knee problems as a main reason for that thinking.

Now with James gone, Wade’s abilities will be tested more than ever. In a season that may be his last year being considered a “superstar,” Wade will have to prove he can still be the man — something he has the ability to do. With a thinner frame (Wade cut weight this offseason), and the ability to have more power in the offense, Wade will have all the opportunity to get back to being the man again.

Wade’s offensive game is usually predicated on him being able to be quicker than his man, otherwise he looks to draw the foul or passes it away. Now with the current weight loss, and an offense that will be based around him and Chris Bosh, he’ll be able to always get the ball where he wants and will look to be more aggressive — his team will need it. Wade with the increased usage, more efficient offensive game, and a fire to prove he’s still a superstar, will turn many heads this season.

 

Evan Turner

Last year’s stats: 14.0 ppg, 3.2 apg, 5.0 rpg, 43% FG

Not many were high on Evan Turner after a disastrous end to the season he had with the Indiana Pacers. It was so bad that the Boston Celtics were able to sign him at a discounted price, a shade over $3 million for two years.

Now with a new home, and a coach that is showing a lot of faith in him, Turner just might be in line for a big season. Celtics coach Brad Stevens has given Turner the task of playing, and learning, the 1-3 positions on the court. He has even had Turner start at the point guard position, in order to get him and Jeff Green on the floor at one time.

With his unique ability, and Stevens’ philosophy of selfless and position-less basketball, Turner will be given every opportunity to excel this season. Even when Rajon Rondo comes back, Turner will still be one of the first guys off the bench — along with rookie guard Marcus Smart. This will take the pressure off him as being the lone ball handler when the second unit is on the court.

Turner is young (25), versatile, and now in a system that plays to his strengths, watch out.

 

Doug McDermott

Last year’s stats: (Creighton): 26.7 ppg, 7 rpg, 1.6 ast, 52.6 FG%

Doug McDermott has been known from his four years at Creighton to get buckets. He’s the eighth player in NCAA history to break the 3,000-point mark, with a do-it-all offensive game that leads to him putting up huge offensive numbers.

Now with the Chicago Bulls, he’ll be in a situation where all he’ll need to do is focus on providing an offensive spark — while playing good enough team defense to keep him on the floor. Like T.J. Warren, McDermott will have the chance to play a big part on a winning team.

This, along with the fact that he’ll be able to get a lot of media attention — due to the fact that the Bulls will be a top team in the East — could make him a popular candidate for Rookie of the Year consideration.

 

Gorgui Dieng

Last year’s stats: 4.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 49.8 FG%

The 24-year-old Louisville product will be an unsung hero this year for the Minnesota Timberwolves. When given minutes last year, he proved to be a great rim protector and a double-double machine with loads of potential.

With Thaddeus Young and Nikola Pekovic most likely the starting frontcourt, Dieng will be the first big off the bench. With his expanded role, it may only be a matter of time before coach Flip Saunders starts playing around with the lineups to get him more minutes — hard workers like Dieng always find a way to become loved by coaches and fans.

A player with the ability to make your frontcourt defense exponentially better, and contribute on the offensive end without a play being drawn up for him, is something every team needs on the floor.

With Wiggins and Zach LaVine coming to town, everyone is excited to see what the self-proclaimed “Bounce Brothers” can do. But it’s only a matter of time before Timberwolves’ fans will start talking more about Dieng.

 

Amare’ Stoudemire

Last year’s stats: 11.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.6 bpg, 55.7 FG%

The New York Knicks forward may just be the most overpaid player in the NBA. With consistent knee problems, Stoudemire has never really been able to get back to the full form that got him his mega contract — and it didn’t help that he and Carmelo Anthony wasn’t effective on the court together.

However, Stoudemire put up decent numbers last year — showing flashes of his old self with quick post moves, and powerful slams that got the Garden on their feet.

Now in a new triangle system under coach Derek Fisher and a offseason of good health, Stoudemire may be ready to make a huge impact for this New York team.

Also, with a contract year pending, he will have extra motivation to prove that he may not be worth $21 million, but he is still a productive NBA player worthy of a decent payday.

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Photo Credit: (Barry Gossage/NBAE)

Alex Kungu

Alex Kungu

Boston-made NBA writer. Future Law student.

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