Yes, the Eastern Conference did lose a lot of talent with the departures of Paul George, Jimmy Butler, and Paul Millsap. It isn’t a secret to anyone. While they still house elite players in LeBron, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and John Wall, as well as up and coming stars in Kristaps Porzingis and Joel Embiid, it is obvious that overall, the East is much weaker than the Western Conference.
While this does hurt the East’s competitiveness, it also leaves room for young players to blossom into their own. One thing the East does have is a plethora of talented young guys who will have an opportunity to show off their game this year. Below, I picked three players who I will have breakout seasons this year.
Here we go:
1.) Otto Porter Jr.
Maybe the most obvious choice, Otto Porter Jr. has displayed his worth in the NBA already. His play has already landed him a max contract this summer. However, most of that money is a gamble on his potential. While his 13 points and 6 rebounds a game this past season were enough to get him paid, they still aren’t stellar numbers. While he will still be taking a back seat to John Wall and Bradley Beal, the difference this year could be in his position. Losing 3 All-Star forwards leaves the door wide open for Porter to establish himself as an elite forward in the East, and earn that money.
2.) Myles Turner:
Not only did the Indiana Pacers lose Paul George, but essentially lost all of their scoring in PG, Jeff Teague, CJ Miles, and Monta Ellis. This will leave a lot of points for Pacer players to pick up, and the best candidate for that job is Myles Turner. Turner flew under the radar last year amid the Paul George problems, despite having a rock solid season. Averaging 14 points, 7 boards, and 2 blocks a game, Turner has the potential to be one of the best two-way centers in the game today. We could very likely see him average a double-double this upcoming season. If he is able to shoulder the load offensively, Turner will turn into one of the best big men in the league.
The #2 overall draft pick in the 2014 tore his ACL and would miss almost the entirety of his rookie season. While some were worried whether he’d be able to bounce back, Parker proved those doubters wrong. With now two full seasons under his belt, the Bucks forward will be looking to make the jump to the elite level. Parker, who averaged 20 points, 6 rebounds, and almost 3 assists a game last season, is an all-around stretch forward who can shoot, rebound, and create for others. While Parker still wouldn’t be the best player on his team with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the Bucks, Parker could be the perfect Robin to the Greek Freak’s Batman. If Parker is able to capitalize on a weaker Eastern Conference, we could see him join the ranks of the elite forwards in the NBA.
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