Justise Winslow Headlines Five NBA Breakout Players

Five NBA Breakout Players include Justise Winslow
MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 09: Miami Heat NBA player Justice Winslow attends a meet & greets and autographs signing at rue21 - Miami International Mall on October 9, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Johnny Louis/FilmMagic)

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.

Did anyone notice the impact Pascal Siakam had with the Toronto Raptors en route to him winning Most Improved Player of the Year and the franchise securing its first-ever NBA Championship?

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.

With Goran Dragic on the back nine of his career, look for Winslow to continue playing more at the point. There is a reason Winslow was the No. 10 overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft.

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.

Terry Rozier, Charlotte Hornets

Buried behind the likes of Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart with the Boston CelticsTerry Rozier never found his groove there.

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

With Hassan Whiteside off to the Portland Trailblazers, Bam Adebayo has a terrific opportunity in front of him.

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-AlexanderOklahoma City Thunder and Luke Kennard, Detroit Pistons.

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Dan Stack has been writing and reporting about sports since 2003, but has been dabbling in journalism ever since his days when writing for his college newspaper, The Pioneer (LIU C.W. Post) back in 1995. He comes to Last Word on Sports after having previously worked at FanRag Sports where he was a college basketball analyst, as well as lead recruiting analyst for both college football and basketball. Stack also worked at BleacherReport.com (where he wrote about fantasy football and college basketball, while amassing over one million page views), Fanball.com (he ran a blog for the Pittsburgh Steelers-SteelersMill.com), FantasyPros911.com (wrote about fantasy football and baseball), SNYGiants.com (New York Giants coverage), NYGiantsRush.com, Mets360.com (Mets baseball coverage), CollegeHoopsNet.com, RotoWire.com (fantasy baseball beat writer) and Sportsmedia101.com (where he wrote and blogged at Knicks101.com). He is also a senior writer for WeAreDePaul.com, and has written and reported on the DePaul men's basketball program since 2003. He has covered many Big East games on the east coast and has been a regular at the Big East Tournament for more than a decade. Prior to his online sports writing career, Stack was also the Managing Editor of his county's weekly newspaper, the Rockland County Times, from 2007 to 2009. He has a BA degree from C.W. Post with a major in broadcasting and a minor in journalism. At Post, he not only wrote for the school newspaper, but also was a DJ at the school's radio station (WCWP) and was a crew member for Post TV (the University's TV Station). If want to hear rumblings on college basketball, fantasy sports, New York fandom an other random pop culture musings, be sure to follow him on Twitter @Stacdemon



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