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Nets Preview: Spanarkel on Breakout Players

10/17/2012 10:30 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

New Orleans' Ryan Anderson could become a household name in 2012-13, says Jim Spanarkel.(AP)
Around the NBA, many people have different definitions of the term “breakout player.” For some, anyone who goes from a complement or role player into a household name is worthy of the label; others are of the mindset that only players who are still in their infancy in the league can truly be “breakout” stars – leaving perhaps “most improved” as a moniker for those in the former camp – while other are under the mindset that even if a player was one of the best on their team, he may still have a chance to take that next step into superstardom.

Nets analyst Jim Spanarkel can somewhat fit into the first and third categories, as he revealed in giving us his list of players that he thinks can be the biggest breakout stars in the NBA in 2012-13. Of the four men Spanarkel mentioned, one is a secondary star ready to become a known entity, two fall into the latter category of superstars-in-waiting, and the fourth is a guy who may be somewhere in the middle.

No. 1: Ryan Anderson, New Orleans:
“I think Anderson is in a position where, with his shooting ability and the increased minutes he’ll be getting, he’ll benefit greatly, and he could be on the verge of stardom.”

No. 2: Rudy Gay, Memphis:
“I’ve always liked Rudy as a surprise guy; he’s got the numbers, but he played well last year with Zach Randolph out and he could play a bigger role this season.”

No. 3: LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland:
“His overall numbers are there, but I think what you’ll see “breaking out” with him is his confidence level. Aldridge is a player who’s obviously on everybody’s radar in terms of scouting him, but from a breakout standpoint, he can be a guy who (puts up those numbers) night in and night out, not just 75 percent of the time.”

Wild Card: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City:
“He’s growing, and he’s becoming a great pure scorer. I think if he understands what his role is and can contain himself, he can have a true breakout type of year.”

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