Brezec, Haslem top most-improved list

Updated: February 23, 2005, 11:51 AM ET
By Brian James | ESPN Insider
The NBA is full of young, rising stars, guys who in short order have made the jump from solid, everyday starters to league-wide standouts. Guys such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Eddy Curry, Chris Bosh, Zach Randolph, Rashard Lewis, Pau Gasol, Michael Redd, Gilbert Arenas, Carlos Boozer, and Jason Richardson to name just a few.

We hear and read about these players after every game. But there's another distinct group of players who started their careers sweating the pressure of proving they're good enough to even wear an NBA uniform. Now they're productive and irreplaceable.

It's not easy for scouts to find guys like this, or for front offices to take a chance and bring them in, whether through trades, the draft or free agency. When teams do find that success story, they're as proud as new parents.

Here are six such players who have taken an enormous leap this season. Their teams would be struggling without them: