Fantasy Basketball Rankings: Top Breakout Candidates of 2012-2013 Season

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IOctober 8, 2012

TARRYTOWN, NY - AUGUST 21:  Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Hornets poses for a portrait during the 2012 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot at the MSG Training Center on August 21, 2012 in Tarrytown, New York.NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

After another fantastic season in the NBA, we head into the 2012-2013 campaign with a wealth of players ready to break out.

Whether it be a talented rookie or a player set to receive an uptick in minutes this season, you can expect for there to be some steals in fantasy basketball drafts.

So, from tough rebounders to distributors to scorers, here's a look at my top-five breakout candidates in 2012-2013.


5. Kenneth Faried, PF, Denver Nuggets

In his rookie campaign last season, Kenneth Faried proved to be the difference-maker on the boards as many expected coming out of Morehead State.

The 22-year-old averaged 7.7 rebounds in just 22.5 minutes per game last season, as well as posting 10.2 points per game on 59 percent shooting. 

Faried isn't a legit threat offensively, but he'll get his opportunities on fast breaks and his development as a rebounder—particularly with Nene Hilario with Washington—should be fun to watch this season.

On top of that, Faried averaged 1.0 blocks per game last season despite being undersized at 6'8", 228 pounds. His athleticism is through the roof.


4. Ersan Ilyasova, F, Milwaukee Bucks

Ersan Ilyasova emerged as a force last season with Milwaukee, but was largely underrated throughout the league because he averaged just 27.6 minutes.

I don't expect that to be the case moving forward after the Bucks coughed up $45 million over five years to keep him this offseason.

Ilyasova averaged 13.0 points and 8.8 rebounds despite his limited workload last season while shooting 49 percent fro the floor and 45 percent from downtown. 

Let me put it this way: No one will be overlooking Ilyasova after this season.


3. Anthony Davis, PF/C, New Orleans Hornets

Anthony Davis may be a rookie this season, but the fact that he made Team USA this year should tell you all you need to know.

Davis found a niche with Team USA so effortlessly that—while he will have his fair share of ups and downs this season—I don't see the adjustment period being very long.

The fact remains that Davis has all the tools to be a star in the NBA and his value as a shot-blocker alone will be great enough to make him a strong fantasy big man.


2. Nicolas Batum, SG/F, Portland Trail Blazers

The Trail Blazers have been developing Nicolas Batum throughout the years and the patience paid off last season when the 23-year-old out of France averaged 13.9 points, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 steals in 30 minutes per game while shooting 45 percent from the field and 39 percent from downtown.

Batum's ability to contribute in multiple areas already makes him a nice fantasy player. On top of that, I expect him to see an increase in minutes this season after the Trail Blazers re-signed him for $46 million over four years.


1. Goran Dragic, PG, Phoenix Suns

Last but not least, we have Goran Dragic.

Dragic, an understudy of Steve Nash in his years with Phoenix, came into his own last season when the Houston Rockets gave him the starting job.

In 28 starts last season, Dragic averaged 18.0 points, 8.4 assists and 1.8 steals while shooting 49 percent from the field and 39 percent from three-point range.

Dragic, 26 years old and entering his prime, should explode this season as the starter of the Suns on Day One.

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