Finally, two weeks of the NBA are in the books, but it's never too late to "bookmark" some players who might become household names among casual NBA, basketball junkies, and fantasy basketball fans alike. Here are the rising stars of the 2012-13 NBA season:
- Bismack Biyombo: Only his second season and he is still a raw product, but in a fantasy points league, blocks and rebounds coming from a center is adequate enough to get a virtual GM's attention. Remember, Michael Jordan went out of his way to draft this player despite his inexperience so there's a good chance that Biyombo will get the opportunity to play more this season.
- Brandon Knight: I thought that Knight would be the better point guard than Kyrie Irving. In his second season, he might end up being the best guard on his team at the very least.
- JaVale McGee: A fresh start in Denver and playing under a coach with more prestige than Flip Saunders or whoever D.C. can sucker into coaching that sorry team can only do wonders for the very gifted, but incomprehensible and quizzical player.
- Omer Asik: From 3rd string big man with the Bulls to feature frontcourt player with the Rockets, Asik's stock can only go up.
- Dion Waiters: Don't like the fact that he was a bench player in college (remember Marvin Williams?), but should be a great running mate to Irving in Cleveland.
- Goran Dragic: Finally, after years of being the best backup point guard with the highest upside in the NBA, Dragic will no longer have to look behind his back to see who will steal his minutes. It's finally his show to run in Phoenix and many fans can't help, but rejoice at this deserving player.
- Damian Lillard: The small-school product will continue to make a name for himself in the Pacific Northwest with the small-market, but crazy, basketball town of Portland. He will be given every opportunity to prove himself in the NBA and show what he's made out of.
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: The rookie love continues with MKG. His athleticism and stature should make him ideal as a perimeter defender. That should equal more minutes and produce lots of padded stats for the former Kentucky Wildcat.
- Carlos Boozer: After many Bulls' fans came with pitchforks and torches to rid themselves of the underachieving, but very expensive forward, Boozer enters this season as the Bulls' best offensive threat and main scorer. That should at least quiet down the fans, media, coaches, front office, etc.
- Jeff Teague: His progress as an NBA point guard has been stalled with the presence of former teammate Joe Johnson, but this year, Teague will finally display his speed, quickness, handles, and athleticism and prove to the NBA world why he has been the best kept secret among NBA prospects.
- Greivis Vasquez: He's the best ball-handler by default in New Orleans and last season, he proved that he can produce on the court as well as New Orleans deals with injuries to promising guards in Eric Gordon and Austin Rivers.
And so it goes. Can't wait to see if these predictions come to fruition or not, but I'm really excited to see how Dragic and Teague (and his brother Marquis) will develop. And not a lot of rookies to get excited about, but the lottery picks are certainly must-watch (i.e. Thomas Robinson, Harrison Barnes, etc.).
To read Part I of this series on established players, click here.
Part II deals with declining players.
Part III looks at players who are at the crossroads of their careers.