10 NBA Players Facing Make or Break Seasons in 2013-14

1 of 11

10 NBA Players Facing Make or Break Seasons in 2013-14

Make-or-Break Season NBA
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Going into the 2013-14 NBA season, there is a large number of players facing a make or break season. There are different categories that make up this list, just like there was last season.

The first category will be players that are playing for a contract. Last season, players like Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Tyreke Evans and Andre Iguodala were all in the final year of their contract, and all of them ended up leaving for a new team. Howard has spent the last three years dealing with the question of where he will play next and what team he will be on. He is now free of those questions, but for other superstars like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, they will face those same questions all year long.

The second category is third or fourth year first rounders that haven't lived up to expectations yet. In 2012, the NBA saw the emergence of superstars like Paul George, James Harden and Stephen Curry. These were all players that took the leap from being a very good NBA player to a legitimate superstar to build around.

The third category is for the injured NBA players that are trying to make their way back. Ever since the lockout shortened season of 2011-12, it seems like more NBA players are having serious injuries and leaving their team depleted. With so many max contracts or near max contracts out there, an injury to your best player can completely obliterate a team's chances.

The fourth and final category is for the aging veterans that have something to prove. With the young influx of talent, once you hit thirty in the NBA you are considered on the downside of your career. There are players fighting this, and proving that they have plenty left in the tank and can continue to contribute to an NBA team.

These ten players are going into 2013-14 with the most to prove in the league.

2 of 11

10. John Wall

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

John Wall says he will write playoffs on his shoes for every game this season. With a wide open Eastern Conference, the pressure is on him to lead the Washington Wizards to the postseason.

3 of 11

9. Ricky Rubio

Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves waited patiently for Ricky Rubio to come over from Spain. Once he came over and started to make his mark on the league, he tore his ACL and the Timberwolves had to wait for him again. He is now over a year and half removed from surgery, and it is time for him to deliver a full season.

4 of 11

8. Greg Oden

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

For Greg Oden, 2013 may be his last chance to leave a mark in the NBA. The former No. 1 overall pick has only played in 82 games in his NBA career and none since 2009. If he can't play the very limited role he has with the Miami Heat, there won't be many teams contacting him again.

5 of 11

7. Rudy Gay

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Rudy Gay is the 13th highest paid player in the NBA and the third highest small forward. He plays the same position as LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and Paul George, but isn't put in the elite category that they are. If he wants to receive another big extension from the Toronto Raptors, he will have to play a full season in 2013 and produce like those other four small forwards.

6 of 11

6. Derrick Favors

Greg Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz allowed Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap to leave at the end of the season. They are turning to Derrick Favors to be their starting center and produce like a star. They also just signed him to a four-year, $49 million extension, so the Jazz are banking on him putting up big numbers.

7 of 11

5. Pau Gasol

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Pau Gasol fits most of the categories listed for a make or break season. He is an aging veteran coming off a year full of injuries and is in the final year of his contract. He will also be the best player on the Los Angeles Lakers until Kobe Bryant comes back from his Achilles injury. Gasol must keep them within striking range, or he could find himself on another team and the Lakers forced to rebuild now.

8 of 11

4. Danny Granger

Michael Hickey-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers were one game away from reaching the NBA Finals without Danny Granger last year. He has never been a role player before, but with Paul George being the face of the franchise, Granger must adjust to his new role while playing for a new contract next year. He can either be the missing link that gets the Pacers by the Heat, or he can be an expendable piece that gets dealt during the year.

9 of 11

3. Dwyane Wade

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

If Dwyane Wade cannot prove that he can be healthy and keep the Miami Heat competitive for another five seasons, it may be difficult for LeBron James to re-sign at the end of the year. Wade must have a typical Wade year without any serious injuries or setbacks for the Heat to continue building on their dynasty.

10 of 11

2. Derrick Rose

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat have won two titles since the last game Derrick Rose played. He has a lot of pressure on him to prove he is recovered from the torn ACL he suffered 18 months ago and finally get the Chicago Bulls past the Miami Heat.

11 of 11

1. Andrew Bynum

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia traded away Andre Iguodala to land Andrew Bynum. He played exactly zero games for them and they allowed him to walk at the end of the year. With serious knee injuries, he must be able to stay on the court this year for the Cleveland Cavaliers, or face becoming the next Greg Oden.