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10 Players Who Have To Elevate Their Game For 2014-15 NBA Season

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Time For These 10 NBA Players To Step Up

Time For These 10 NBA Players To Step Up
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There’s no doubt that the 2014 NBA offseason shook up the landscape of the league. With moves in Free Agency, trades, and even injuries, responsibilities on teams have changed and expectations are different for certain players. These 10 players have to step up their games a great deal this season for one reason or another.

10. Jeremy Lamb

10. Jeremy Lamb
Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports Images

10. Jeremy Lamb

10. Jeremy Lamb
Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports Images

Lamb is certainly not a star in this league and it’s unlikely that he will ever be. However, the Thunder desperately need a wing to step up and become a two-way player the way that James Harden and Thabo Sefolosha (to a lesser degree) used to be for them. If not, this team still may not be able to reach their peak.

9. John Wall

9. John Wall
Brad Mills - USA Today Sports Images

9. John Wall

9. John Wall
Brad Mills - USA Today Sports Images

The Wizards enjoyed a nice rebound season for the organization last year and John Wall was almost undeniably the catalyst behind that. As Washington looks to capitalize on that success and grow, that necessitates growth from their star point guard.

8. Blake Griffin

8. Blake Griffin
Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports Images

8. Blake Griffin

8. Blake Griffin
Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports Images

There’s a misconception that Blake Griffin has been stagnant in terms of development through his career, but that’s entirely not the case. However, there’s no denying that he needs to take another leap forward and become a consistent leader that can help get the Clippers and Chris Paul over the hump and to the level of their expectations.

7. Klay Thompson

7. Klay Thompson
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7. Klay Thompson

7. Klay Thompson
Cary Edmondson - USA Today Sports Images

With the faith that the Warriors put in Thompson inadvertently by being so reluctant to include him in a Kevin Love trade, the guard has to answer the call. He’s certainly a good young player, but he needs to fix the holes in his game or at least begin to before he’s almost assuredly given a big payday in the near future.

6. James Harden

6. James Harden
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6. James Harden

6. James Harden
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Harden is one of the hardest players in the league to reconcile their talent with results. He’s proven to be an elite offensive commodity, but he’s not yet taken a leadership role head-on and his defense is an atrocity of enormous proportions. For the Rockets to become what they’re capable of being, he has to become something greater.

5. DeMar DeRozan

5. DeMar DeRozan
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5. DeMar DeRozan

5. DeMar DeRozan
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Not many people would’ve pegged the Raptors to have the success they did last season, but it happened all the same. Now with that experience under their belt, DeRozan has to step up and continue developing into one of the leaders of this Toronto team.

4. DeMarcus Cousins

4. DeMarcus Cousins
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4. DeMarcus Cousins

4. DeMarcus Cousins
Mark D. Smith - USA Today Sports Images

We’ve been waiting on the maturation and full realization of DeMarcus Cousins for some time now and it still hasn’t totally happened. The talent is clearly there, but it’s time for Cousins to put it all together and be the leader that this Kings team requires him to be to have any level of success.

3. Kyrie Irving

3. Kyrie Irving
David Richard - USA Today Sports Images

3. Kyrie Irving

3. Kyrie Irving
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Irving is one of the most talented guards in this league, but the fact that he’s been stuck on bad Cleveland teams hasn’t done him any favors. Now that he’s going to be playing alongside LeBron James and Kevin Love, he’s going to have to become a better, more versatile player.

2. Chris Bosh

2. Chris Bosh
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2. Chris Bosh

2. Chris Bosh
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Speaking of changes the LeBron has called into action, the absence of the King in Miami this season, you might say that Dwyane Wade will have to step up. To me, though, the onus falls more on Chris Bosh. Bosh is still capable of more than Wade at this point and will need to be the cornerstone for the Heat if they are going to stay a power in the East.

1. Roy Hibbert

1. Roy Hibbert
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1. Roy Hibbert

1. Roy Hibbert
Andrew Richardson - USA Today Sports Images

With the injury to Paul George and the departure of Lance Stephenson this offseason, the Pacers are left with the bare bones of their roster. If they want to stay in the postseason hunt, though, Hibbert is going to have to be a two-way problem for opponents in the middle. If not, last year’s number one seed in the East could be in the lottery in 2015.