Few factors influence a player breaking out like the availability of playing time, youth turning into maturity and the potential for greater riches. It's hard to break out (statistically at least) if you don't have any time on the floor. It's hard to break out if you're an old fart -- usually the only break out players are players who are drafted young, spend a few seasons seasoning, and then eventually get it together. Lastly, nothing motivates (most) players to play harder than being in a contract year.
Let's tackle the last part first -- contract years. Who, on our team, is in a contract year? Carlos Boozer most likely is, as soon as he finalizes his player's opt out. Okur could also terminate his contract early this season -- and can be in a contract year, though I don't know if he will. Kyle Korver appears next on our depth chart who falls in this situation -- but he's not a true free agent either, as he'll have to terminate his contract early -- though I don't see our team, or other teams out there, who are going to spend more than what he's currently making on a guy who is a shooting specialist. (He's set to make over $5 million next season) Jarron Collins' contract expires this year (I'll email everyone the address of the party when I get it organized), so does Brevin Knight's contract. More to the point, Ronnie Price, Paul Millsap and possibly also Morris Almond may be free agents. (The Jazz have till Oct 31st to pick up the team option on Almond's contract)
Some of those guys are at their peak, like Boozer and Okur. I don't expect them having break out years, especially how both were All-Stars in previous seasons. So that eliminates them both. Collins and Knight aren't going to get better either, so they are both out. More over, Collins isn't going to get the minutes needed for him to break out -- and sadly (or, well, appropriately) neither will the young master Morris Almond. So count Mobe out -- unless there are a lot of injuries or he gets turned to the darkside if the Jazz don't pick up his team option, and he goes out and averages 40 ppg in the D-League.
Who does that leave? Ronnie Price, Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver.
The Case for Ronnie Price:
The Case for Kyle Korver:
Sure, he's closer to 30 than 20, but he's primed for a break out year -- even if he's not entirely motivated by getting a new contract. For one, this is his first Jazz training camp -- and if we learned anything from Hornacek's playing days, this makes a huge statistical difference. I already talked about how much better Hornacek got after 1 Jazz training camp, so I'm not going to explain it again. More than that, just look at Korver's stats from the preseason . . . he complained all off-season about how poorly he shot for us, and according to how he's shooting for the Jazz this season he seems to have really *really* been pissed about it. He's currently shooting 50.9 fg%, 100% at the FT line (and yes, he's taken more than just one shot from there), and 57.1 3pt%. Last season he shot 47.4 fg%, 91.7 ft% and 38.8 3pt% in a Jazz uniform. So he's upped his shot making ability across the board. He's not going to play 30 minutes per game, but will still probably finish games for us. More than just being primed for a big year he's already been showing that he's having a big year.
The Case of Paul Millsap:
What about Ronnie Brewer and CJ?
It's going to come down between Korver and Millsap in my mind -- Knight and Price will both do enough this season to deserve contracts next season. Millsap is the youngest of the three, has the most potential, and offers a financial respite from having to pay Carlos Boozer the moon. Korver is currently having the best season so far -- so he's the one who is actually breaking out. We'll see which of these guys actually does it when the games count . . .