Apr 22, 2012; San Antonio, TX, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) shoots past San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) during the second half at the AT

NBA's Breakout Stars

I thought instead of looking at the guys who we already know are stars, Kobe, Lebron, Durant, Howard, Paul, and such, let’s look at who could step up this season and become more of an impact player.  Maybe not at the elite level, but just below that.  Until those guys are gone, I have a hard time finding people to jump up into that status this coming year.  But here are my choices for breakout stars.

Kyrie Irving

When does this one on one match happen between Kobe and Kyrie? I would be very interested to see how that plays out.  But Irving is ready to make that jump into the next level.  He already showcased it by being the best player on a bad bad team.  The Cavs could spoil some teams this season, but I don’t think they’ll make the playoffs, maybe the cusp of it.  Kyrie Irving will become an even better point guard, and he should be talked about a lot more this season.

Paul George

Mar. 16, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) shoots over Indiana Pacers shooting guard Paul George (24) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

My Indiana Pacers bias will come into play as I’m going to talk about two Indiana Pacers.  Paul George is first on the list as fans are ready for him to take his game to the next level.  He might not be in the top options of players to go to for the Pacers, but he needs to make an impact while out there.   Last season, he did have that breakout game against the Dallas Mavericks, where he tied Reggie Miller for most threes made in a game.  But Paul George has to stay consistent.  If he can continuously put up 15 or so points a game, that would go a long way to helping the Pacers make that next step in their drive to get back to contending.  He will have to improve his defense as well, and with his length, he should be a better defender.

Roy Hibbert

May 2, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (55) drives around Orlando Magic power forward Glen Davis (11) during the first quarter of game three in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

Time for Hibbert to earn his pay.  He got the big contract that was deserved after an All Star season, but like George he needs to be more consistent.  He should be at least a 15 points 10 rebounds guy.  Not one night of 15 rebounds and the next night of 5 or 6 rebounds.  Every night, he needs to be at the top of his game.  We saw the difference he was on defense against the Magic in that first round, which was helped without Dwight Howard there.  In the Eastern Conference, Howard is gone again, so Hibbert has a great shot at becoming the top center there.  But he will have to bring his A game all the time.

Jeremy Lin

Mar 21, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin (17) during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Knicks defeated the Sixers 82-79. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Maybe he’s already started that process of breaking out, but we do need a bigger size sample of games played to see what Lin can do.  Now he’ll get the chance back in Houston to be the starting point guard, and play enough to show his game.  Not bad for a guy who was a ten day contract and about to be cut.


Ricky Rubio

Mar. 3, 2012; Portland, OR, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio (9) drives to the basket on Portland Trail Blazers point guard Raymond Felton (5) during the fourth quarter of the game at the Rose Garden. The Timberwolves won the game 122-110. Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes-US PRESSWIRE

Now’s the time for Rubio to stay healthy and help the Timberwolves along with Kevin Love get back to some sort of winning.  Rubio showed some flashes last season, but then he got hurt and the Timberwolves weren’t able to stay at a winning level.


Who are you ready for to break through in the NBA?

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Tags: Jeremy Lin Kyrie Irving Paul George Ricky Rubio Roy Hibbert

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