Stars with something to prove

Though Howard and Bryant are no longer teammates, both have something to prove this season. Ned Dishman/NBAE/Getty Images

Look around the NBA, and it continues to be a star's league. As much as coaching, scouting, player development, team chemistry and X's and O's matter, any team with a shot to make the playoffs and make a run at the NBA title needs its stars to perform at their best.

As we gear up for the 2013-14 NBA season, which of the league's top players have the most to prove? Here's a look at 10 stars who will be especially important to their teams, whether contenders or not, this season. Each faces a number of challenges -- and has much to prove.

Eastern Conference


Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

Even with Rose sidelined and his ACL injury a constant distraction all of last season, the Bulls managed to win 45 games and earn a No. 5 seed in the playoffs. Clearly, their win total and playoff position in 2013-14 have a chance to rise considerably if Rose shows he's even remotely close to his 2010-11 MVP form. Last season, Chicago finished No. 27 in the league with 0.87 points per possession (PPP) on offense sans Rose. That was down markedly from 0.91 (No. 17 in NBA) with a healthy Rose in 2011-12.