Deng has improved steadily in each of his first three seasons. The lanky forward impressed in 2006-07 by ranking in the top 30 in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage, and he burst onto the national scene with a huge performance in the Bulls' first-round series victory over the Heat.
2 of 10Robert Beck/SI
Some may already consider Williams a bona fide star after the way he helped lead Utah to the Western Conference finals last season. Williams showed uncommon poise for a second-year point guard, especially one who had spent part of his rookie season in coach Jerry Sloan's doghouse. Having established himself on the big stage, and with the Jazz expected to contend again in the West, Williams should have the profile needed to make the All-Star team.
3 of 10John Biever/SI
The centerpiece of the Kevin Garnett deal for Minnesota, Jefferson's advanced low-post skills will be put to good use next season. The Timberwolves are likely to run their offense through the 22-year-old power forward, who averaged 19.8 points and 11.5 rebounds in 25 games after the All-Star break last season for Boston.
4 of 10Al Tielemans/SI
Like Josh Smith, Iguodala does a bit of everything -- often in spectacular fashion. Iguodala was one of four players to average at least 18 points, five rebounds and five assists last season. The other three? Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Tracy McGrady.
5 of 10Bob Rosato/SI
The Hawks will have to pay up if they want to keep the do-it-all forward and Atlanta native, who is eligible to sign an extension before the season. Smith joined Shawn Marion and Ben Wallace as the only players to finish in the top 20 in rebounds, steals and blocks last season, and he also improved his scoring average each month (topping out at 21.1 points in April). Even better, he already has three seasons under his belt and won't turn 22 until December.
6 of 10John W. McDonough/SI
Consider Wallace's production over the final 52 games in 2006-07: 21.1 points on 52.3 percent shooting, 7.9 rebounds, 2.25 steals and 1.19 blocks. After signing a six-year, $57 million deal with the Bobcats in July, the 25-year-old six-year veteran will now be asked to go from putting up good numbers on a bad team to helping Charlotte become a playoff contender in its fourth season.
7 of 10David E. Klutho/SI
All that's missing for this elite rebounder and shot-blocker to take the next step is a more well-rounded and assertive offensive game. Chandler did convert 62.4 percent from the field last season, which would have led the league if he had made enough shots to qualify.
8 of 10Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Roy was a rookie in name only last season. He emerged as Portland's team leader and got better as the season progressed, punctuating his Rookie of the Year campaign by averaging 18.7 points on 48.5 percent shooting after the All-Star break. With Roy and No. 1 pick Greg Oden, along with another potential star in second-year power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, the Blazers have a promising foundation.
9 of 10Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
The slender shooting guard's scoring average jumped from 10.8 points two years ago to 20.2 last season, the largest increase in the NBA. Martin did it by shooting a high percentage for a guard (47.3) and attempting more free throws than all but 10 players in the league.
10 of 10AP
Although he looked overmatched during the Warriors' playoff run, Ellis was a big factor in helping Golden State reach the postseason for the first time in a decade. Ellis, 21, a tweener guard who fits nicely in coach Don Nelson's up-tempo system, was named Most Improved Player last season after averaging 16.5 points and starting 53 of 77 games in his second season out of Lanier High School in Jackson, Miss. With shooting guard Jason Richardson having been dealt to Charlotte, Ellis figures to be a full-time starter next season assuming he can hold off sharpshooting rookie Marco Belinelli.
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