5 NBA Players On The Cusp of Stardom in 2013

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5 NBA Players On The Cusp of Stardom in 2013

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In 2013, NBA fans will begin to see a new generation of players staking their claim as top tier NBA players. A wave of quick and athletic players from college and overseas are shaping the way the game is played today. From regular season success to playoff dominance, these players are knocking on the door of greatness. They won’t join the likes of LeBron James or Chris Paul, but they will show the NBA that stardom is on the horizon. At the 2013 All-Star game in Houston, there were seven newly chosen All-Stars. Amazingly, five out of the seven all-stars were 25 or younger. Due to the influx of young talent, there are NBA franchises that are choosing to embrace the youth movement by creating an environment filled with primarily young players. The summer league teams occupied by struggling franchises show us that many are putting their future in the hands of rookies and or second-year players.

In the NBA today, younger players are playing at a higher level than ever before. Their ability to lead their respective teams against some of the best players the NBA has ever seen is nothing short of commendable. From replacing departing franchise players to bottom feeders looking for their savior, young players are in high demand for their physical attributes and long term potential.

The future is bright for dozens of young talented players, but here is a look at five players that will make the leap into the top tier of the NBA in 2013.

Nugesse Ghebrendrias is a Sports writer for Follow him on Twitter @NugasayWhat24, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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DeMarcus Cousins

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Aside from his attitude issues and his inability to accept constructive criticism, DeMarcus Cousins has the potential to be the best big man in the game today. During the 2012-2013 season, Cousins averaged 17.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game for the Sacramento Kings. Cousins can dominate a game, but his attitude is holding him back. NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal is now currently mentoring Cousins because Shaq believes like many of us that Cousins can be the best center in the NBA. With Shaq’s help, Cousins will put the NBA on notice. Don’t be surprised if he gets dealt sometime in 2013 due to his extremely high value to many teams in the NBA.

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Anthony Davis

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Anthony Davis dominated the college basketball world. He dunked and blocked his way to the national title and a gold medal with Team USA in the London Olympics. Davis was drafted No. 1 overall by the New Orleans Hornets who are formally known now as the New Orleans Pelicans. Davis averaged 13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game during the 2012-2013 season. His incredibly long wingspan allows him to dominate the paint defensively. Along with his defensive ability, his knack for scoring around the rim and his mid-range shooting forces defenses to pick their poison. Davis now has an All-Star point guard in Jrue Holliday to help carry the load of leading the Pelicans. You can expect a big year from Davis on both sides of the court.

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Kawhi Leonard

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Kawhi Leonard is ready to be the guy for the San Antonio Spurs. Greg Popovich is not shy when it comes to talking about Leonard.

Back in 2012 when asked about Leonard, Popovich said, “I think he’s going to be a star. And as time goes on, he’ll be the face of the Spurs I think. At both ends of the court, he is really a special player. And what makes me be so confident about him is that he wants it so badly. He wants to be a good player, I mean a great player. He comes early, he stays late, and he’s coachable, he’s just like a sponge. When you consider he’s only had one year of college and no training camp yet, you can see that he’s going to be something else.”

That coming from one of the best coaches in NBA history shows Leonard is on the cusp of stardom. And with the decline of Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli, the Spurs need Leonard more than ever. His mentality and drive to become great rival few. Leonard is definitely a must watch in 2013.

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Paul George

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Coming out of Fresno State, George didn’t have the spotlight that most elite players had. He was considered a reach at No. 10 overall back in 2010. Now, George has exceeded expectations and is fulfilling the potential he knew he had. Scoring 17 points and grabbing seven rebounds per game during the 2012-2013 season was very good, but it was his leadership that stood out. It was a classic David and Golaith story during the Eastern Conference Finals. Here are the Indiana Pacers who don’t have a superstar and their best player has been out all year in Danny Granger. On the other side of the court you had the big three: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. With the help of Roy Hibbert, George led his team to a seven game series against the defending champs. The Heat came away victors but the Pacers knew they had something special in George. His offensive game needs a little work, but his ability to rally his teammates and his knack for taking on the defensive assignments for superstars shows his mentality. He wants to be the best and in 2013 he will take a big step in that direction.

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Kyrie Irving

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving is the future of basketball. Since coming into the league in 2011, Irving has lit up NBA defenses. In his rookie year, Irving averaged 18.5 points and 5.4 assists per game giving him the title of rookie of the year. Amazingly he topped those numbers a year later. During the 2012-2013 season Irving averaged 22.5 points and 6.0 assists. Unfortunately for Irving, injuries cut his season short allowing him to play only 59 games. Now healthy, Irving is gearing up for a big year. With the additions of Anthony Bennett and Andrew Bynum, Irving finally has sufficient help. With the low post presence of Bynum, Irving will finally have less defensive pressure which will allow him to facilitate and score more efficiently instead of taking on multiple defenders. At the young age of 21, Irving is already on his way to becoming one of the best point guards in the NBA. 2013 will be the year that Kyrie Irving solidifies his spot as an All-Star and one of the top point guards in the NBA.