The NBA: The Top Ten Resurgent Players of 2012-2013 (So Far)

While most of the attention this season has been directed (surprise!) at fabricated super teams (e.g. the Heat, the Lakers, the Heat, and the Lakers) and high-flying superstars (e.g. LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Durant) there have been several other figures doing the dirty work in the shadows. These are the guys surprising their foes and their fans alike with play reminiscent of their most glorious days in the past. These are the guys coming back from injuries or carving a new niche in a new team. These are the guys out to prove that, despite their failings or underperformance last season, they are back to reclaim their berths in the spotlight.

These are the Top Ten Resurgent Players of the 2012-2013 NBA season (so far):

10. David West (IND) - 16.2ppg, 8.1rpg, 1.3bpg
- The Indiana Pacers should not have won five of their first twelve games, not with the protracted absence of Danny Granger and the anemic play of Roy Hibbert, but they’ve been able to stay relatively competitive in no small part because of David West. He won’t reclaim the stats he once put up in New Orleans, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be dangerous for the Pacers.

9. Steph Curry (GSW) - 18.7ppg, 4.4rpg, 5.8apg, 1.7spg, 2.2 threes per
- Curry missed 40 games for GSW last season and was just a shell of his real self in the other 26. He normed under 15 points in less than 30 minutes of play last year, but his current production, now that he’s relatively healthy, has seen a rise along with his playing time. His Warriors aren’t doing shabbily, too, as they’re presently carrying a winning record.

Steph Curry is playing well again, and,
surprisingly, so are his Warriors.
(image by Glenn James/Getty Images)

8. Jamal Crawford (LAC) - 19.7ppg, 1.2spg, 2.3 threes per, 50% FG
- Crawford is the dream sixth man for any NBA coach. After bombing in Portland last season (just 14 points per game and under 40% FG shooting), the journeyman shooting guard is killing it for the Clips. He’s scored in double digits in every game so far and is a big reason THIS LA team is pacing the West.

7. Andrei Kirilenko (MIN) - 14.1ppg, 8.3rpg, 3.1apg, 2.2bpg, 60% FG
- His comeback couldn’t have come at a better time for the injury-plagued Timberwolves. Surprisingly, Minnesota (minus Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio among others) is currently fifth in the West, but, not surprisingly, it’s because of Kirilenko rediscovering his all-around effectiveness. He’s had four double-doubles in nine games and has blocked two or more shots in all but three of those contests. Welcome back, AK47!

6. OJ Mayo (DAL) - 21.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.0apg, 49% FG, 3.3 threes per
- Mayo has seemed to find a place where he can grow. Of course, it helps that Dirk Nowitzki isn’t around to hog most of the shots. At 6-6, the Mavericks aren’t exactly dominating the competition, but they’re pretty excited about the pairing of Dirk and OJ in the near future. Mayo has scored 18 or more points in every November game so far (that’s 10 of Dallas’s 12 games). His offense is at an all-time high, and it should be fun to see him help the Mavs make a run at the Playoffs after the New Year.

OJ Mayo is having a career year as a Dallas Maverick.
(image by Tony Gutierrez/AP)

5. Joakim Noah (CHI) - 14.8ppg, 10.0rpg, 4.0apg, 2.0bpg, 50% FG
 - Noah suffered a nasty ankle injury in the Playoffs this past summer, and some quarters felt it would probably slow him down to start the season. The former Florida Gator, instead, has put up career-highs in points, assists, steals, and blocks ten games into the season. He’s making a lot of Fantasy NBA owners happy, but he’s also softening the blow of Derrick Rose’s continued absence.

4. Anderson Varejao (CLE) - 14.3ppg, 13.1rpg, 3.3apg, 54% FG
- Talk about Fantasy NBA gold. The Brazilian big man’s on-court recovery from the broken wrist that sidelined him after 25 games last season seems to be going really well. His 14-13 stat-line is more impressive than anything anyone ever imagined. It seems Varejao is ready to go beyond being known as just Mr. Energy.

3. JR Smith (NYK) - 16.3ppg, 5.4rpg, 2.9apg, 1.6spg, 1.9 threes per
- Smith went to China and then back to the States in a strange journey last season. He normed 12.5 points while shooting 41% from the field and 35% from three-land for NYK in 35 games. As you can see, he’s doing MUCH better this year. Talk about the old, explosive JR Smith we all know and love. The former Warrior is shooting 48% from the floor and a blistering FIFTY SEVEN PERCENT from beyond the arc. Kaboom!

2. Chris Bosh (MIA) - 19.6ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.4bpg, 55% FG
- Bosh will never produce the numbers he did when he was still playing north of the border, but the lanky big man is having his best season as a member of Miami. He’s putting up nearly 20 points, grabbing about 7 rebounds, and, perhaps the best thing right now, blocking 1.4 shots per outing. At least a couple of times already, he’s been the critical piece in the Heat’s winning ways.

1. Tim Duncan (SAS) - 18.0ppg, 10.0rpg, 2.7bpg, 51% FG
- Father Time continues to favor one of the games oldest soldiers. Duncan is only a few years away from the big FOUR-OH, but don’t tell him that. He’ll just dunk on your face. His all-around production is reminiscent of how he played in 2009, and, by all indications, he has no plans of slowing down. The Spurs, of course, have benefitted mightily, as they are just half a game behind the top spot in the West.

Tim Duncan continues to defy age and expectations.
(image by Darren Abate/AP)

Game Recaps (courtesy of the Sports Network):
Philadelphia 106, Toronto 98
Nick Young and Jason Richardson scored 23 and 21 points, respectively, as the Philadelphia 76ers used a late surge to take down the Toronto Raptors, 106-98. Jrue Holiday added 19 points, 12 assists, eight rebounds and three steals for the Sixers, who have won three in a row. Thaddeus Young ended with 18 points and seven boards. DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani had 24 and 22 points, respectively, for the Raptors, who fell to 1-5 on the road this season. Jose Calderon donated 13 points and 12 assists.

Nick Young hit some big shots as the Sixers beat the Raptors.
(image by Matt Slocum/AP)

New York 102, New Orleans 80
The New York Knicks have rebounded from their lone loss in emphatic fashion. Carmelo Anthony tallied 23 of his game- high 29 points in the first half and the Knicks commenced a three-game road trip with a 102-80 rout of the New Orleans Hornets. Raymond Felton recorded 15 points and six assists, J.R. Smith netted 15 and Tyson Chandler pulled down 12 rebounds for New York, which righted itself with an 88-76 home win against the Indiana Pacers Sunday following its defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies two days prior. The Knicks' road trip continues Wednesday in Dallas and concludes Friday in Houston. Ryan Anderson had 15 points for the Hornets, who were without rookie Anthony Davis after he injured his ankle during Friday's practice. New Orleans has dropped four straight contests.

Coach Mike Woodson's Knicks continue to fly
in the new season.
(image by Gerald Herbert/AP)

LA Lakers 95, Brooklyn 90
The delay is finally over. The crutchless Mike D'Antoni made his debut on the sidelines as the Lakers head coach Tuesday and Kobe Bryant netted 25 points in Los Angeles' 95-90 victory over the Brooklyn Nets. Dwight Howard tallied 23 points and 15 rebounds, but was just 7-of-19 from the foul line for the Lakers, who began the year 1-4, which resulted in the departure of Mike Brown. The Lakers then passed on the opportunity to bring back 10-time NBA champion Phil Jackson after they hired D'Antoni last Monday. Deron Williams registered 22 points and 10 assists for Brooklyn, which had its five-game winning streak snapped.

Top 10 Plays of the Night:

Game Highlights:

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2 Comment

Doesn't Kevin Martin deserve an honorable mention? 50+% FG and 50+% 3P FG on 18 pts (2.7 threes), 3 rebs, 3 assists, and 1 steal per game - plus the feat of near-seamless self-integration into Thunder U. OKC still misses Harden, but not too much (can't wait for LAC@OKC today!) -roark


K-Mart is good. Been playing much better than I expected honestly. I wouldn't classify him as "resurgent," though. Diamond in the rough, perhaps?