NBA / Aug 5, 2010 / 6:00 pm

Top 5 NBA Big Men Poised For a Breakout Season

Greg Oden, Dime #35

Potential is probably the most over-used word in the NBA. When teams are making draft picks, signing free agents, engineering trades and shuttling players in and out of the starting lineup, potential can be just as — if not more — important in earning minutes as actual production.

It’s especially that way with big men. NBA teams are always looking for the next great 7-footer, or the next 20-and-10 anchor at the four, or the next KG-type hybrid freak. Here are five young big guys poised for a breakout season in 2010-11:

Greg Oden — It all depends on his health, but Oden has succeeded at every level (when healthy) and is a perfect fit for the up-and-coming Blazers. Before he hurt his knee last year he was averaging 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in just under 24 minutes a game. Oden is supposed to be on schedule to return by training camp and will be given every chance to win his starting job back over Marcus Camby.

Anthony Randolph — Everyone is waiting for Randolph to have a breakout year, and I think this year is it. Within the Mike D’Antoni system, Randolph should be given the offensive freedom to perform at the level that he’s capable of. The 21-year-old still has potential to be an All-Star.

J.J. Hickson — The Cavs aren’t going to be any good this year, and every national story line involving them will have something to do with LeBron. Which means Hickson will shine in the shadows. New coach Byron Scott will utilize J.J.’s speed and agility in an up-tempo system, and he should be the Opening Night starter at power forward, with Antawn Jamison either playing the three or coming off the bench.

Michael Beasley — I’m still a big Beasley supporter, but he’s got to prove to everyone that he’s not a bust. He obviously has the talent, but talent alone doesn’t get it done. I believe that Beasley will get his head on straight and begin to improve in Minnesota, where he doesn’t have anything else to do but focus on basketball and salvaging a still-promising career.

Javale McGee — What a summer for McGee. He killed it at the Vegas Summer League, leading to an invite to Team USA training camp, where it looks like he has played his way onto the World Championship squad. Expect the 22 year-old McGee to grow and develop in his role with the Wizards, holding it down in the paint and running the floor while John Wall and Gilbert Arenas get all the attention on the perimeter.

Honorable MentionJoakim Noah, Andray Blatche, Blake Griffin

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  • ICV

    I would also put Rob Lopez and T.Splitter as honorable mention.

  • Dirtball Rotten

    if ya’ll dont stop with this Greg Oden crap,,,the guy is a bust… he only had like 4 good games in college,,, ZERO IN 3 YEARS IN THE NBA, he is a BUM… get over it all the media people was wrong about this guy.

  • bobby stew

    spencer hawes

  • deeds

    Greg Oden has had zero good games in the NBA? Then explain to me how he AVERAGED 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. I know those numbers arent blowing anyone away, but they are still solid and most teams would be happy to have a C who can put up those numbers. And he is only going to get better…if healthy of course

  • DVS

    If Oden is healthy this year he’s gonna kill it.
    The guy has the talent to be great, just can’t stay healthy. feel bad for the guy.

  • Justin

    Oden is a bust …He is now part 2 of the Sam Bowie over MJ choice . With him being taken over Durant he’ll never live that down .

  • Stunnaboy09


    Okay, your stupid. won;t say G.O was killing it but he showed he isn’t a scrub. Dude cut down on his fouls big time, had excellent low post defense and looked competent on the offensive end. In what planet is 11.5/8.3/2.3 bad? I can see him doing 15/10/3 with excelent defense. Maybe not Number 1 numbers but hell no not a bust.

  • tahir

    wat about jordan hill?

  • http://www.ragingspaniard.com Xavier


    No really, at 25, with confidence and PT … hes gonna surprise some people, I think

  • Mike Mihalow

    I agree with #1. Splitter’s gonna own.

  • jau28

    Ya Blake Griffin might not count as breakout because he’s still a rookie but I’d watch out for that guy because he’s a BEAST.

    I’m not sold on Randolph yet but I’m sure McGee and Blanche will do great especially Blanche.

    And as a Raptors fan (I know it hurts me too) I’m REALLY hope Bargnani will breakout but the cynic/pessimist in me tells me he will fail and won’t be any good.

    ps. Jordan Hill will be a bust

  • mgballer3

    Yo Rey u forgot Serge Ibaka!

  • heiddi187

    don’t forget the ROY, Blake Griffin

  • Fan

    You must be smokin No Robin Lopez of the PHX Suns? WTF RoLo is gonna tear it up next year. He will have a better year then any of the 5 guys you listed in your article.

  • g-rub

    jordan hill has no future in the nba

  • wizfan

    i really hope Beasely has a breakout year. Dude has too much talented just to be a mediocre player. Also watch out for Hakim Warrick. He always drops buckets when he gets decent minutes. Oden isnt a bust, he’s just fragile. When he’s healthy, he produces on the defensive end at least.

    and ps. jordan hill & darko = turible!

  • Ekstor

    No question that if Blake Griffin qualifies for this list (as his inclusion with the “honorable mention” list suggests), then he should absolutely be #1!

  • http://www.wix.com/reyrey33/REYZ-WORLD rey jefferson


    Waka Flocka Ibaka is gonna do the same thing he did this year….hes good but he needs more time 2 grow…he’s still only 20 (crazy iknow!!!)

  • Chaos

    Greg Oden was hurt for one full entire season….cant count it. he was hurt for half of another season….can say thats a starting point. technically this is only year to for G.O. what we do know is he has the strength, size and energy to compete. he will be knocking on D.Howards door in 2 years. He has a pretty decent touch now around the basket. we know he can block shots and can rebound. if he can stay on the floor for 30+ min or more, 11.1, 8.5 and 2.3 can turn into 14-17ppg, 11 rpg and 3+ bpg a game. he needs to learn timing and patience on defense and to move with out the rock in his hand. he will eventually slow down and start seeing the game better. when to move, when to switch, when to jump, when to show. he can be a defensive force, not the centerpiece but a 3rd or 2even 2nd option.

    JJ hickson was starting to have a break out year last year. he is active on defensive and has a developing offensive game. a running game is gonna be very important for his development and so will having more time on the floor. also, being the primary low post option instead of shaq or jamison will allow him to show off his development.

    who starts at 4 and 5 in minnesota? beasley and love? beasley and darko? love and darko? kevin love isnt big enough at the 5, darko sucks at 5. you are gonna end up with either a slow front court or undersized one.

  • christian

    TIAGO SPLITTER….yall pretend he doesn’t exist but he’s legit…

  • control

    Any list with “break” in it has to list Greg Oden…you guys just forgot to list which body part…

  • FK

    Andrea Bargnani?

    focal point of the offense and better touch than any big man not named Dirk

  • http://juanm.garcia@comcast.net Mayan Mike

    These fools don’t know shit. Do they not realize that Bynum is just as young as Oden?

  • jzsmoove

    Breaking news: Greg Oden just broke his ankle while breakdancing!! OK fine thats baloney. hope he has a better season than last. As for Beasley, i like the guy but will he get his head on straight and begin to improve in Minnesota, where he doesn’t have anything else to do but focus on basketball?? who’s gonna buy that shit?

  • Nick

    What about Al Jefferson. I don’t know if you can call it a breakout season since he is already an all star. You put a star PF/C in Jerry Sloan offense with D will at the point…He is in for a monster year.

  • wifey

    Andrea Bargnani and Joel Anthony.

  • Nigel

    Hey Dirtball. Do you know that Greg Oden has only played one season worth of games in his career?

  • T diddy

    Didn’t Randolph play in a run n gun system
    at Golden State?

  • T diddy

    I think Deng will have a good season

  • Darko

    Nikola Pekovic, new Minnesotta starting center!

  • Kobeeeee

    I think bynum is the Name 2 Name Here. Injury free and you can forget all the One mentioned here. Hi Potential is nearly endless.

  • vince

    Good list although I think Bbeasley is more of a tweener. I would replace him with Roy Hibbert, who’s currently training with Bill Walton.

  • Atom

    Agree with Vince. Cool Beas is too much of a tweener, dont think he will ever really pan out.

    If Oden can stay healthy he will be big trouble. Just dont see him making it through a whole season.

  • http://www.cnnsi.com JAY

    Hakim fuckin’ Warrick.

    He wasn’t shit on his before but almost every front court player who joins Steve Nash ends up having a career year. Whether Warrick starts or comes off the bench, this is his breakout year.

    Marion 2.0?? It’s possible.

  • Mgballer3

    Lmao wocka flocka ibaka!!! Wow he’s 20 that’s crazy

  • kevin

    Oden, Noah, Blatche, Griffin, and maybe Hickson are the only ones I trust to actually play a lick of defense, and in that order. You can’t breakout unless you play both ends.

    That is why guys like Bargnani and Beasley will never break out.

  • kevin

    And Oden is an absolute monster on the defensive end.. and what he did on offense he did in 24 minutes per game. I don’t understand why people discredit this guy. From the little I have seen, this guy is going to be a stud in this league.

  • Joe’s Momma

    Oden is gonna be good, but can he put up #’s in that loaded front court?

    At best he is like the 5th option whenever he is on the court.

    Beas? He gonna play 3 in minny, he is 6’8″ and don’t rebound or play d

    Watch out for Gortat, he is gonna play more 4 this year next to Howard. Won’t put up crazy stats, but he will affect the game.

    Out of all those guys listed, none will make any impact on wins

  • https://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    Wow no one I see mentioned Roy Hibbert. Dude is working with Bill Walton (who I don’t care for) and that should help more than hurt.

    I most def. see Roy making some noize.

  • vince

    Poppi Gee’s glasses were stolen by Momma Gee.

  • http://www.cnnsi.com JAY

    LMAO @ vince

  • jawjack

    @bobby stew Spencer Hawes

    The only thing Spencer Hawes will be breaking out is adult size diapers after the daily reaming he’s gonna get from Coach Collins for screwing up D rotations because he’s AFRAID of contact.

  • http://www.wix.com/reyrey33/REYZ-WORLD rey jefferson



  • Clement

    The honorable mentions have a greater chance of becoming allstars than the guys who made the list ever will.