10 NBA Breakout Candidates for 2013-14

10/25/13 in NBA   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

It happens every year - a select group of young NBA players begin terrorizing their opponents in ways that we never knew they were capable of. Part of it has to do with the players finally getting regular playing time, but most of it has to do with blossoming talent. In this article, I am going to go over ten players who I believe have a great shot at taking their play to a new level in 2013-14. The players I have picked are based more so on the talent I have seen them display, rather than the minutes they are expected to get. For example, I am not going to include Wilson Chandler (DEN) simply because Andre Iguodala left as a free agent and Danilo Gallinari is recovering from injury. Here are the players who I believe have the talent to surprise some people this season:

Eric Bledsoe (PG - PHO): This guy is probably on everyone's list. Playing behind Chris Paul in Los Angeles for the past two years, there have not been a ton of minutes going Bledsoe's way. However, Bledsoe now finds himself in Phoenix where he is arguably the team's best player. This fiery little bowling ball can score, make plays for others, and defend at a very high level. He also likes to push the tempo and is a force in transition - he was referred to as a "mini-LeBron" by teammate Goran Dragic during the offseason. A six-foot-one former Slam Dunk Contest participant, Bledsoe has a chance to become a star in the desert.

Jan 1, 2013; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (1) lets go of the rim after a dunk during the fourth quarter against the Sacramento Kings at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Pistons beat the Kings 103-97. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY SportsAndre Drummond (C - DET): One of my favorite rookies from last season, Drummond was a huge risk-reward draft pick in 2012, but it looks like the risk will pay off handsomely. Drummond was a beast last season, using his size and unique athleticism to dominate the paint. Despite a raw offensive game, he found ways to get to the rim, and was great at cleaning up on the offensive glass and scoring garbage baskets. Still incredibly raw at the age of 20, I can not say whether Drummond will ever be more than a Tyson Chandler type as far as scoring, but the other aspects of his game are what make him a breakout candidate. In his final 37 games last season (when he started getting consistent minutes), Drummond averaged 9.0 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, and 1.1 steals. That was in only 22.5 minutes per game - those numbers are bound to rise thanks to a full offseason of development and a likely uptick in playing time.

Anthony Davis (PF - NO): Last year's first overall pick was a bit quiet in his rookie campaign, but he actually had a pretty good year - 13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, and 1.2 steals is nothing for Pelicans fans to be upset about. Davis is now healthy and has worked on his game all offseason, and he looks considerably bulkier than he did during his college days. He has absolutely dominated preseason action, giving us a glimpse into what he is preparing to do during the regular season. Davis is averaging 21.4 points, 6.6 boards, 2.1 blocks, and 2.0 steals across seven preseason games, all in less than 29 minutes per contest. He is going to be an exciting player to watch.
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