Emerging impact players for 2012-13

Updated: September 5, 2012, 4:41 PM ET
By Fran Fraschilla

Thomas Edison once said, "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

He wasn't a basketball coach, but he was echoing what many coaches have believed through the years: Good teams are made from October to March, and good players are made from March to October.

This season, a number of players have the opportunity to grow into larger roles depending on how hard they worked this summer at improving areas of weakness and enhancing their strengths, and the success of their teams could even depend on it.

Here are seven players who could make a much larger impact this season and how they need to improve to do it.

Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix, Michigan State Spartans

Need to improve: Low-post offense, rebounding, defense

"Paynix," the two-headed monster at center for Michigan State, averaged a combined 15 points and nine rebounds in 37 minutes last season. Both Payne and Nix, in fact, showed dramatic improvement from the season before.

With All-American Draymond Green off to the NBA, Tom Izzo will need both big men to take their games to a new level if the Spartans are to be in the hunt for a Big Ten title this season. I'd look for Izzo to utilize both together frequently, but it will require improvement in a number of areas.