Who will be this year’s NBA breakout players?
Seemingly every season, young players emerge upon the scene and break out into prime-time players.
Siakam truly made his presence felt in the 2018-19 season. He expanded his game greatly and became a player that could become a perennial NBA all-star for years to come.
There are others on the verge of a breakout year, who are also looking to lead their respective teams to new heights.
Five NBA Breakout Players
Justise Winslow, Miami Heat
Justise Winslow is your prototypical Swiss-army knife. Versatility is the name of Winslow’s game.
He can score, defend, rebound and he can facilitate. There is basically nothing Winslow can’t do in this league at an above-average level.
Winslow is coming off a fine year in which he averaged 12.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game—with the latter two stats leading the Miami Heat. That is versatility defined.
With the club adding Jimmy Butler, Winslow will continue to play the jack-of-all-trades role while expanding his repertoire.
This will be the year he shows why, as it will all come together for Winslow.
Jonathan Isaac, Orlando Magic
Coming into the league two years ago, Jonathan Isaac was hailed as a project prospect dripping with raw athleticism and pure basketball ability you just can’t teach.
After two years of inconsistency, Isaac is about ready to hit his stride. He has unmatched length and a wingspan to die for. For two years it was all about potential. Next season, the potential will translate into production.
Like Winslow, Isaac’s game is his versatility and his ability to play inside and out. He can guard four positions on the floor. His defense is ahead of his offensive game at this point.
The Orlando Magic expect that to change.
Isaac really has to improve on his efficiency (41.9 percent from the floor, 32.7 percent from three-point range for his career) for his game to go to the next level, though.
That said, Isaac should only bolster his offensive numbers this season as he matures and plays with more confidence.
What a night! Grateful to the organization for their choice and the city of Orlando for their embrace! Grater days ahead, taking another step in the right direction with tonight’s pick! I’m tuned in!!! #TBT #nbadraft2019 #PureMagic pic.twitter.com/Ggbsw9DRmE
— Jonathan Isaac (@JJudahIsaac) June 20, 2019
Terry Rozier, Charlotte Hornets
With the trade to the Charlotte Hornets, Rozier will be afforded every chance to emerge upon the scene as a building block in the Hornets’ rebuilding efforts. He is one of the better two-way players in the league and a bona fide stat stuffer.
And don’t forget about his 2018 NBA playoff performance when he averaged 16.5 points, 5.7 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. Rozier has the smarts and athleticism to at least be one of the more exciting young players in the league.
Often when talent and opportunity merge, good things follow. Expect that formula to work for Rozier.
Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat
Adebayo showed last season while Whiteside struggled that he has the chops to be an above-average NBA center. With a huge frame and herculean shoulders, Adebayo is a load in the post.
He is coming off a season in which he averaged 8.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game while shooting an efficient 57.6 percent from the field. With Whiteside gone, Adebayo should see more playing time and be a walking double-double machine—while also being one of the preeminent shot blockers in the league for years to come.
Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets
Pound for pound, there are few players in the league who have the raw athleticism that Miles Bridges possesses.
While his overall numbers (7.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game) in his rookie campaign are nothing to write home about, Bridges really found his calling down the stretch. He averaged 12 points and 5.7 rebounds in the Hornets’ last 11 games.
With added confidence and surely more minutes on tap, Bridges will only get better. While he is an excellent rim attacker, Bridges must improve his three-point accuracy.
He shot just 32.5 percent from beyond the arc. However, he showed in college that he can dial it up from long distance—shooting 37.5 percent from beyond the arc in his two years at Michigan State.
Once he gets that aspect of his game down, watch out!
Honorable Mention: Marvin Bagley, Sacramento Kings, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento Kings, Derrick White, San Antonio Spurs, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder and Luke Kennard, Detroit Pistons.
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