The NBA is full of surprises every season. Here are sixteen players bound to have breakout years, an expanded role, or simply better stats. Although some are long shots they are still some of the players that make the most sense for an impact season.
Players to see Expanded Role
Otto Porter-Washington Wizards-After playing under veteran Paul Pierce for a season the twenty two year old will likely now start. Although Porter will still share the floor with John Wall and Bradley Beal there is likely to be a nice bump in stat production. In Porter’s first season he averaged 8.6 mpg in 37 games. The third pick started looking like a bust. Then last season rolled around and he played in 74 games averaging 19.4 minutes a game, even starting in 13 games. There is no arguing with the stats that say Porter is a player ready to have a nice increase in usage and other numbers.
Aaron Gordon-Orlando Magic-Last season’s number four pick Gordon only appeared in 47 games and when he played he didn’t make too much of an impact. Though Gordon’s rookie season was a bit disappointing this season’s summer league stint looked great for him. Aaron averaged 22 points and 14 rebounds in summer league and looked like one of the better players there. Gordon looked good from long range as he was also attacking like the Magic want him to.
Jarrett Jack and Joe Johnson-Brooklyn Nets-With Deron Williams out Jack will start at point. Jack started 27 games last season and looked pretty good. Jack shot better than he ever has in his 12 year NBA career from 3. And in his per 36 Jack averaged 15 ppg. Joe Johnson is going to officially be the leader of this team with Williams out. Even though Brooklyn may be a team that’s starting to rebuild expect more production from these two then last year. A big key for Joe Johnson will be staying healthy.
David Lee-Boston Celtics-David Lee now has his chance once again to help lead a team. After being a key part of Golden State for 5 seasons Lee will definitely see his role expand from last season. Last season Lee only appeared in 49 games, averaged 18 minutes and was pretty limited by the unbelievable talent on the Warriors. Lee only averaged 8 points in those games but his 6 seasons prior to last he never was below 16. Look for Lee to average around 15 and 8 at least, on a pretty young Celtics team.
Zaza Pachulia-Dallas Mavericks-Zaza will replace Tyson Chandler as the starting center in Dallas. Assuming Dallas doesn’t sign JaVale Mcgee, Zaza will likely start. Pachulia won’t put up eye opening numbers but with Chandler out of the picture we could see Zaza’s rebounding numbers increase and maybe even his ppg.
Breakout Players are guys who are least likeliest to possibly get a chance and break out. Here are some possible players.
Players that could Breakout
Bryce Cotton-Utah Jazz-Cotton will definitely have to work to even get a chance to break out. With Dante Exum out Cotton has an opportunity to work hard and show that he belongs in the rotation. Cotton was another player who had some really bright moments at summer league. Cotton only got a chance to appear in 15 games last year so he will likely see some action to prove what he has this year. If Cotton doesn’t end up proving anything Rodney Hood is another guy to watch.
C.J McCollum-Portland Trailblazers-With five key players gone anyone has a chance to prove things in RIP City. McCollum has a chance to be Damian Lillard‘s sidekick and that could be a dangerous back court. C.J will see a nice increase in his role and minutes. With anyone able to step up in Portland, watch for McCollum.
Harrison Barnes-Golden State Warriors-Barnes has gotten better each year of his first 3 seasons in the league. This may be the most ideal player who could break out. Harrison won’t put up any eye opening scoring stats but much like Draymond Green he can have a nice stat line. A great defender the 6’8 Barnes averaged 10 points and 6 rebounds last season. Barnes may see a slight minute increase and you could see him start putting up an all together explosive stat line next season. In fantasy this is one of the best, quiet picks in drafts.
Dennis Schroder-Atlanta Hawks-The Hawks have indicated that once in a while, they will go small putting Teague and Schroder on the floor at the same time. Schroder will be this team’s sixth man. Dennis is coming off a season where he averaged 10 points 4 assists in 20 minutes. His per 36 numbers are an amazing 18 points and 8 assists. Remember he’s 21. Schroder will eventually get his shot whether it’s in Atlanta or not and he will show that he can be a successful point guard in this league.
Clint Capela-Houston Rockets-Dwight Howard hasn’t proved to be a very healthy player anymore. He only played 41 games last season. Capela didn’t really get a chance till towards the end of last season where the raw 21 year old looked very promising, but raw. Although his per 36 stats are a little overblown they’re still great. 13 points 10 rebounds 4 blocks. Capela has a lot of work to do on free throw shooting where he shot 17%, but Capela had some really nice, explosive flashes last season.
There are many rookies who could have an immediate impact for their teams. This is based mostly on summer league and depth charts.
Rookies who Could have an Immediate Impact
Jahlil Okafor-Philadelphia 76ers-He’s my pick for rookie of the year. He brings his low post skills to a team in need of something to be really excited about.
Frank Kaminsky-Charlotte Hornets-The Wisconsin Badger’s star looked great in summer league. Although I’ll admit I wasn’t too excited about him being chosen over some other players, but if he continues his terrific play from summer league I’ll have to take that all back.
Myles Turner-Indiana Pacers-Roy Hibbert is out and although the Pacers have Jordan Hill, and Ian Mahinmi, you could still see Turner in the starting lineup. Turner was another guy who looked fantastic in summer league and could be a key piece to Indiana.
Cameron Payne-Oklahoma City Thunder-Payne won’t see anything too big, playing on a roster with some unbelievable players, but he’s a guy who could be like Reggie Jackson and James Harden when they were coming off the bench.
Devin Booker-Phoenix Suns-Booker looked good in summer league and has drawn comparisons to Klay Thompson. Booker is a great shooter who given the right opportunity may have big things to offer in Phoenix.