#12 Kawhi Leonard-San Antonio Spurs
Kawhi Leonard had a great rookie season in San Antonio and showed the Spurs that he can be the future of the franchise. I expect Kawhi to have another good season as the Spurs big 3 continues to get older and farther from their prime. I wouldn’t bet on Kawhi moving up this list much farther as his career goes on, as his ceiling may not be as high as other young players, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he is somewhere in the top 10 during his prime.
Stat Predictions:10 points per game, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal.
#11 Nicholas Batum-Portland Trailblazers
After a crazy off-season for Nick Batum, he will return to Portland as a top 12 small forward. I believe Batum will play great with Damian Lillard and Lamarcus Aldridge and have a great season. Batum is a young small forward that should move up this list a little higher as his career moves on. I don’t expect him to be a top 5 small forward at any time during his career, but I do expect him to be in the top 10 for some time. Still, Batum is a great young player that should be in this list for years to come.
Stat Predictions:14 points per game, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block.
#10 Gerald Wallace-Brooklyn Nets
With Joe Johnson joining Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace in Brooklyn, I expect Wallace to have a good season helping out his team. He will not be a top three option in Brooklyn as Brook Lopez should steal that 3rd spot, but he should be huge help to the team. I don’t expect him to score a lot or be an all-star candidate, but I expect him to have a very solid season. This could be Gerald’s last time making an appearance in the top ten.
Stat Predictions:13 points per game, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal.
#9 Danilo Gallinari-Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets have a good core of young players with great potential and Danilo Gallinari is one of them. He joins his teammate Ty Lawson in a top 12 position list. Danilo was having a breakout type season last year until his injury. Ever since being traded to Denver, he has shown he can be a great player in the league. This season, he will prove that he is a top 10 small forward in the NBA. I expect him to have a great season and possibly lead the Nuggets in scoring. I expect him to contend for an all-star spot, but will not land one. I see one in his future though.
Stat Predictions:17 points per game, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal.
#8 Andre Iguodala-Denver Nuggets
Andre Iguodala will be playing the shooting guard spot in Denver, but I still will consider him a small forward. Danilo Gallinari, the man behind him will be playing that three spot instead of Iguodala. Iguodala in Denver now creates a great defensive duo with him and Kenneth Faried. I expect Iggy to have a great first season in Denver. He may not get to the all-star game, but I expect him to be on the all defensive second team. It should be interesting to watch Iguodala play some where new.
Stat Predictions:15 points per game, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals.
#7 Luol Deng-Chicago Bulls
I believe Loul Deng will be healthy this upcoming season, but anything could happen. I think Deng’s scoring numbers will go up as Derrick Rose is on the bench and Deng becomes the likely #1 option. Luol Deng should have another all-star appearance. Deng is in his prime and the Bulls need to take advantage of it. On top of that, I believe this will be Luol Deng’s best season of his career. Deng’s play this upcoming season will deserve him a spot on this list.
Stat Predictions:19 points per game, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal.
#6 Danny Granger-Indiana Pacers
This very well could be Danny Granger’s last season as a “star”. Even with that, I do believe Granger will have another good season. Granger should remain as the #1 option in Indiana, but after this anything could happen as Paul George has potential to take over the team along with Roy Hibbert. Still, Granger is a great player and should push the Pacers back into the playoffs. I think he will compete for an all-star spot, but I am not sure if he will land it.
Stat Predictions:17 points per game,5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal.
#5 Paul Pierce-Boston Celtics
Paul Pierce is getting very old, but age has not kept him out of the top 10. Pierce has had a great career and is looking to finish it off with another ring. Sadly for Celtics fans, I do believe his position in these rankings is going to drop from here on out. The Celtics are getting younger and Pierce could be looking at retirement very soon. Still, he will be a top 5 small forward for this upcoming season and could get an all-star spot.
Stat Predictions:17 points per game, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal.
#4 Rudy Gay-Memphis Grizzlies
I am expecting Rudy Gay to be healthy and have a great season with the Grizzlies. I believe he will average 20 points per game for the second time in his career and enter what should be a great prime for him. There is no doubt in my mind that Rudy Gay shouldn’t go to the all-star game this season. I believe he will take the Grizzlies back to the playoffs and lead them to good things. On the negative side, Rudy Gay trails Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James on this list. So I don’t see him moving up any more spots in his career.
Stat Predictions:21 points per game, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block.
#3 Carmelo Anthony-New York Knicks
Carmelo Anthony is one of the best scorers in the NBA and is in his prime. This sets up for good things for Knicks fans. I expect him to have another terrific season and prove himself as a top player in the league. He will go to the all-star game and will probably start. He may be able to contend for the MVP award, but I doubt he will get close to winning it.I don’t think ‘Melo can move up this list as LeBron and Durant sit ahead of him. Still, it should be a great season for Carmelo and the Knicks.
Stat Predictions:25 points per game, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal.
#2 Kevin Durant-Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant must be getting sick of the #2. He is the #2 best player in the NBA, the #2 best small forward, the #2 pick, came in 2nd place for MVP voting, and after a loss to the Heat in the finals, his team was #2. Durant will have another shot to make his team #1 this season, but he will have to really lead his team through the new look Lakers. I do believe, that Kevin Durant will win the MVP and have a great season. I expect him to start in the all-star game as well.
Stat Predictions:31 points per game, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block.
#1 LeBron James-Miami Heat
Who else should be #1 on this list than LeBron James. The MVP, the Finals MVP and the champion. I expect him to have another legendary season in his prime. I do not think he will repeat as MVP though as I believe Kevin Durant will steal that away from him. Still, LeBron is the best player in the league and is arguably a top 10 player of all time. He will start in the all-star game again and be dominant for the 2012/2013 season.
Stat Predictions: 28 points per game, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals.
Thanks for reading.