Although it is still early in the NBA Season, some young players have already stood out. We are going to take a look at a few players who have started off the season hot and analyze whether or not it is sustainable.
Early Standout Players In The 2018-19 NBA Season
Zach LaVine has had a scorching start to the season. He is currently averaging 29.3 points per game and is fifth in the NBA in scoring, between Kevin Durant and Joel Embiid. LaVine has always had a talent for scoring the basketball, as he previously averaged 18.9 points per game with the Minnesota Timberwolves during the 2016-17 season. LaVine was also never fully healthy last season for the Chicago Bulls.
However, LaVine is currently shooting 52.7% from the field, which is a substantial leap from his career average of 44.1%. I would expect his percentages to drop as the season moves along, but LaVine is only 23 years old and has the potential to receive a high volume of shots for the Bulls. Even though I do not think he will continue to average over 29 a game, LaVine could still be on his way to a very strong breakout season.
When it comes to the Atlanta Hawks, all the attention is on Trae Young and for good reason. Young put up historic numbers at Oklahoma and is already averaging over 19 points in the young season. Young also possesses an exciting style of play that perfectly fits the modern NBA.
However, forward Taurean Waller-Prince has all the tools to become a two-way star in the league and we have seen glimpses of it already this season. Prince is averaging 20.6 points while shooting 46.7% from the field and 41.7% from three. Prince is averaging 5 rebounds and 1.4 steals, as well. Although he was a solid producer for the Hawks last season, this is a whole new level of production for Prince, and I believe that it is far from a fluke. Prince is only in his third season, and we have seen 3-And-D players in the past such as Paul George and Kawhi Leonard take massive leaps toward superstardom in their third or fourth seasons.
In a recent Q&A with Steve Serby of the New York Post Caris LeVert had this to say, “I think in years past, a lot of people were kind of mocking Nets fans, and Nets players and things like that, but I think those days are over. We’re becoming a good team, somebody that people have to respect.”
It is safe to say that LeVert is backing up his statement. He is averaging 21.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.5 assists so far. Similar to LaVine, LeVert’s field goal percentage of 51.6% seems unsustainable. However, there are many visible improvements to LeVert’s game. He is shooting a career-high 36% from three and is averaging a career-high 4.5 free throw attempts per game.
The Nets have given LeVert more minutes this season and he has made the most of his opportunity. Going forward, I do not expect LeVert to finish the season averaging more than 20 points per game, but there is no question that he is a better player this year. The Brooklyn Nets should be thrilled to have a player like LeVert who can create offense for himself and others, while still being a strong defender.
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