15 Biggest Breakout Players of the 2013-2014 NBA Season So Far
15 NBA Players in the Midst of a Breakout Season
Throughout the 2013-2014 NBA season, thus far, we have seen our fair share of surprises. Prior to the beginning of this year's campaign, I am sure none of us would have predicted the current standings to look like they do in either conference. Sure, the Brooklyn Nets may have had the look and feel of a disaster waiting to happen, but to be this bad is somewhat of a surprise.
How about the Phoenix Suns out west? This season was supposed to be a year of rebuilding. New head coach Jeff Hornacek was brought in because Phoenix had seen themselves transition into a youth movement, As a first-time head coach, Hornacek was thought to have been the perfect guy to be at the helm. As it turns out, they had other plans. Although the Suns don't have a true superstar, that back court of theirs has been absolutely phenomenal and Phoenix is well in the thick of the playoff race.
As for individual players, Eric Bledsoe is one of the guys who is enjoying a fantastic breakout season. He's been a huge part of what Phoenix has done. Aside from Bledsoe, there are plenty of other guys that have their teams believing a postseason berth is more than plausible. Who are these guys and what has taken place within them to have put forth such excellent seasons?
The following list is filled with 15 guys that may be in their first, second, third or even seventh season. But, what has made this season special for them is the fact that they are having career years and deserve the recognition. Whether or not the success is translating to wins for their respective franchises is another issue. Not all of these guys will be playing in the postseason, but don't believe that they aren't doing everything within their power to make a run.
PG Kendall Marshall, Los Angeles Lakers
Although Kendall Marshall hasn't played much yet this season for the Los Angeles Lakers, his presence has been felt immediately. Marshall already looks like he may be the point guard of the future for the Lakers and has put up some fantastic numbers in his first six games. Shooting the ball at about 53 percent overall and 47 percent from beyond the arc, Marshall has demonstrated efficiency in his scoring from the get-go. Through his first six games, he's averaged 8.3 points, 7.0 assists and has a PER of nearly 20.
PF Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz
We knew that coming into this season the Utah Jazz were going to be pretty bad. However, the Jazz took a chance by giving power forward Derrick Favors a huge extension prior to the start of the 2013 campaign. Thus far, he's posted career highs while averaging 13.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals. Favors has also been good for 1.4 blocks per game and has shot the ball well over 52 percent.
PG Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets
Ty Lawson may be at an unfair advantage, because the majority of elite point guards play in the West. If Lawson played for an Eastern Conference team in 2013, he'd be a sure-fire All Star. Lawson has put up career highs in both points and assists, averaging 17.8 and 8.3, respectively. On a rather mediocre Denver Nuggets team, Lawson has been by far the biggest bright spot.
C Spencer Hawes, Philadelphia 76ers
Spencer Hawes knows his time with the Philadelphia 76ers may be coming to an end once Nerlens Noel is healthy, so he's been busy impressing the rest of the league and putting up his best season yet as a pro. Hawes has posted career highs in points (14.6), rebounds (8.8), assists (3.3) and blocks (1.5) this season. The one thing Hawes has done at a completely new level this season is shoot the three ball. He's been lights out from beyond the arc, shooting 44.5 percent.
PG Reggie Jackson
Having to fill in for Russell Westbrook earlier in the season, Reggie Jackson did a fine job. Now in a bench role, Jackson is still producing in an efficient way for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Jackson has been one of the best backup point guards in all of basketball, averaging 12.8 points, 3.6 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 25 minutes per game. It's safe to say that in his third year, Jackson has come into his own.
C Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons
We saw last season, as a rookie, just how much impact Andre Drummond could have in the post for the Detroit Pistons. In his second season, he's been one of the leagues top rebounders and is averaging a double-double while playing excellent post defense. With a PER of nearly 22, Drummond is averaging 13.0 points, 12.4 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.5 steals. He's on his way to being one of the all-around best big men in the game in only his second year.
C Jordan Hill, Los Angeles Lakers
In 2013, Jordan Hill decided he would put any talk of being a draft bust to rest. During a season without Kobe Bryant for the majority of the time, Hill has been a constant for Los Angeles. Hill has posted career highs in points (9.4), rebounds (7.7) and field goal percentage (55.6) in just 20 minutes per game.
SG Wesley Matthews, Portland Trail Blazers
One of the other big surprises of the year is the Portland Trail Blazers, who have gone from a mediocre, non-playoff team to a dominant Western Conference force. Wesley Matthews has been a big part of that as he's enjoyed career highs in points (16.7), rebounds (4.2), field goal percentage (49.2) and three point percentage (43.3). Matthews has been an integral part of the offense for Portland this year, and without him, they likely wouldn't be where they are now.
PG Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns
Bledsoe finally got the chance to be in a consistent starting role and prove what he can do. Like I said before, the Suns have been one of the surprises in 2013 and Bledsoe is a huge reason why. He's blown his previous career highs out of the water, averaging 18.0 points, 5.8 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting nearly 49 percent from the field. Look out for this kid now that he's getting the playing time he deserves in his fourth season. He's only going to get better.
SF Evan Turner, Philadelphia 76ers
Do you think Evan Turner wants out of Philadelphia? He's taking over 17 shots per game just to prove himself as an offensive force. While it's worked to an extent, would he be worth a team taking a chance on or will he just sink back to his mediocre play of previous years? In any event, Turner has averaged 19.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists in his best season as a pro. I can guarantee you this, I don't think he'll be a 76er much longer.
SG Arron Afflalo, Orlando Magic
Sure, the Orlando Magic don't have many options in terms of star players -- if you can call them that. Nonetheless, Arron Afflalo is in the midst of his best season yet and has put up a career year across the board. Averaging 21.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists, Afflalo has been as good as ever. Will he continue to play in a Magic uniform for much longer, though?
PF LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers
It may seem odd to throw LaMarcus Aldridge on a list of breakout players, but like I said before, who thought the Blazers would have a breakout season as a whole? Aldridge deserves the props. He's put up his best season yet, and it's not even close. Aldridge has averaged 23.3 points, 11.1 rebounds 2.9 assists and a block per game in the 2013-2014 season so far. He's easily amongst the favorites for league MVP and continues to prove his dominance each and every night.
PG Isaiah Thomas, Sacramento Kings
You want to talk breakout players? How about a point guard who has averaged career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals, field goal percentage and three-point percentage? Isaiah Thomas has come a long way in three short years and has the look of a future star in this league. Thomas has put up 19.3 points, 6.2 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals and is shooting the ball better than ever -- 46.5 percent overall and 42.6 percent from long range.
PF Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
Thank the Lord Anthony Davis is healthy again. The New Orleans Pelicans stand no chance of a playoff push without him. Davis has emerged as one of the better big men in the game in only his second season. He's taken his scoring to a different level, showing versatility in the various ways he puts the ball in the basket. Davis has averaged 19.0 points, 10.1 rebounds and leads the NBA in blocks per game with 3.2. Davis has elevated his game in a big way in just one year, and it will be fun to watch how he continues to grow.
PG Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers
I thought I would place rookie Michael Carter-Williams at the top of the list simply because he has been one of the most exciting players to watch this year. In his first season, the 6'6'' point guard has dazzled 76ers fans and has quickly made them forget about losing Jrue Holiday this past offseason. It hasn't been pretty year for Philly overall, but the future looks bright with Carter-Williams running the point. He's averaged 17.2 points, 7.2 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 steals per game. His biggest weakness has been efficiency in his scoring, but as a rookie he has done just about everything else right. What a year so far, and I'm sure he'll only continue to get better. That is a scary thought.