Players To Keep An Eye On

Players To Keep An Eye On

Players to Keep An Eye On

The NBA Offseason continues to move forward and we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Stay strong NBA fans, we are almost there. Below we break down a "darkhorse" candidate from each NBA team that we have our eye on for the 2019-20 season. Some of the candidates below will be obvious, but they need to be discussed regardless. 

Atlanta HawksATLANTA HAWKS: KEVIN HUERTER
  • I'm a big believer in the second year wing and Huerter should benefit from a full offseason. After getting a late start in the developmental process during his rookie year, in which Huerter missed Summer League action while recovering from a predraft injury, the outside threat showed some nice flashes during the second half of the season. He should be an intriguing year two piece alongside Trae Young in Atlanta. 

Boston CelticsBOSTON CELTICS: GORDON HAYWARD
  • This will be Gordon Hayward's second offseason since the horrific ankle injury. It's important to always remember that Paul George, who suffered a similar injury, said he didn't start feeling like himself until his second-year back. Hayward reportedly has been living in the gym all offseason and it wouldn't surprise us to see him coming out of the gates on a roll. 

Brooklyn NetsBROOKLYN NETS: CARIS LEVERT
  • Obviously, the Brooklyn Nets feel the same way we do about Caris LeVert this year, as they recently rewarded him with a three-year, $52.5 million extension. The young wing has all of the talent in the world but has had a history of running into some speed bumps when it comes to injuries. If he can stay healthy, LeVert can have a big year for Brooklyn. 

Charlotte HornetsCHARLOTTE HORNETS: TERRY ROZIER
  • There's a couple of ways you can go with this "rebuilding" Hornets team and PJ Washington will be an intriguing option as a rookie. Still, the name to focus on here is free-agent addition Terry Rozier who will finally be "the man" in Charlotte. Rozier had a forgetful year last year in Boston, but he has a great combination of elite explosiveness and quickness for a ball handler. 

Chicago BullsCHICAGO BULLS: WENDELL CARTER JR
  • I'm buying as much Wendell Carter Jr stock as I can get my hands on heading into this upcoming season. Early reports out of Chicago have the coaching staff pushing Wendell to be more aggressive on the offensive side of the ball this year...as they should be. 

Cleveland CavaliersCLEVELAND CAVALIERS: COLLIN SEXTON
  • It will be fascinating to see what the Cleveland Cavaliers backcourt of Collin Sexton and lottery selection Darius Garland can do together this year, but I'm a big believer in Sexton's talent. He was fantastic in the second half of the NBA season last year. In fact, he posted Post All-Star averages of 20.8 PTS, 2.4 REB, 3.2 AST, while shooting 47.7% from the field and 41.3% from 3. 

Dallas MavericksDALLAS MAVERICKS: KRISTAPS PORZINGIS 
  • Some of you might say "well duh..." but there's also a fair amount of NBA fans out there that have forgotten how good "the unicorn" is. Porzingis will be an elite option playing with Luka Doncic especially in the Pick & Roll game and finds himself playing for one of the top coaches in the NBA in Rick Carlisle. 

Denver NuggetsDENVER NUGGETS: MALIK BEASLEY
  • It was a joy to see Beasley take a big step forward for the Denver Nuggets last year and I'm buying that he continues forward in his development this year for the Nuggets. The athletic wing started to show flashes of the game slowing down for him, and he's a serious name to monitor on this stacked Nuggets roster. 

Detroit PistonsDETROIT PISTONS: BRUCE BROWN JR
  • The Summer League MVP, to some, is going to get some recognition here. After a rookie season in which Bruce Brown Jr was thrown into the fire, the second-year wing opened plenty of eyes with his performance in Las Vegas this Summer. It should be a big year for the former Miami Hurricane product. 

Golden State WarriorsGOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: D'ANGELO RUSSELL
  • The shocking curveball acquisition of the offseason was the Warriors getting the young talented ball-handler in a sign and trade with the Brooklyn Nets. While many will question the fit, pencil us in as buyers of the DLo experiment working in Golden State. Expect plenty of P&R sets from this Warriors team this year to appeal to the skillset of Russell. 

Houston RocketsHOUSTON ROCKETS: RUSSELL WESTBROOK
  • I'm sorry James Harden fans, there's no way we aren't talking about Westbrook here. The "Brodie" is going to be a very interesting name to pay close attention to at the beginning of the year. Westbrook and Harden should fit well together, but I'll be curious to see how Mike D'Antoni uses Westbrook in his system. That additional spacing should clear the runways for some vicious Westbrook drives. 

Indiana PacersINDIANA PACERS: MALCOLM BROGDON
  • Brogdon was flat out impressive last year for the Milwaukee Bucks and it was one of the Offseason curveballs when it was announced he would be taking his talent to Indiana this year. Brogdon should be a fantastic fit for this Pacers team and will only get better once Victor Oladipo returns to action. 

Los Angeles ClippersLOS ANGELES CLIPPERS: LANDRY SHAMET
  • I was hoping to see a lot of Landry Shamet this summer for Team USA but an injury pulled him out of contention for the roster. Still, Shamet should be a vastly underrated asset for this Clippers team playing alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Shamet is an intelligent player with the ability to stretch the floor and should have a nice second year for the Clippers. 

Los Angeles LakersLOS ANGELES LAKERS: KYLE KUZMA
  • It was always going to be Kuzma and you could argue that this Lakers team needs a nice leap forward for Kuzma in his progression if they want to be playing in June this year. Kuzma no doubt has the talent and can score in bunches. Now how will he do playing alongside Anthony Davis and Lebron as a third piece? We are buying the fit. 

Memphis GrizzliesMEMPHIS GRIZZLIES: JAREN JACKSON JR
  • You know that 8-year-old kid that's walking around a toy store and overly excited? Well, that's pretty close to how we feel about second-year big man Jaren Jackson Jr. JJJ showed plenty of flashes that should have Grizzlies fans excited for the future in his rookie year, and now he welcomes an elite passing ball handler in Ja Morant. Get ready Grind City. 

Miami HeatMIAMI HEAT: BAM ADEBAYO
  • BAM UNLEASHED IS FINALLY HERE! After shipping out big man Hassan Whiteside to Portland this offseason, it looks as if the Miami Heat are finally ready to let Bam Adebayo run free. Bam spent the offseason playing with Team USA and I'm always buying into young players getting that experience before an upcoming NBA season. 

Milwaukee BucksMILWAUKEE BUCKS: DONTE DIVINCENZO
  • You could call this one an out of the box candidate, but I'm still intrigued with the idea of DiVincenzo contributing in a bigger role off of the bench for this Bucks team. Donte spent most of his rookie season getting some experience in the G-League for the Wisconsin Herd, and it will be interesting to see if he's ready to take a big step forward for the Bucks as they make a run towards a Championship this year. 

Josh OkogieMINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES: JOSH OKOGIE
  • I'm all for the Timberwolves potentially taking the reins off of Okogie in year two for the Wolves. With Head Coach Ryan Saunders having a full offseason of preparing for the upcoming year, I'll be curious to see the teams plans with Okogie. There's plenty to like from the athletic defensive weapon, and if his offense can take a step forward, Okogie can carve himself out a very nice role in the rotation.

New Orleans PelicansNEW ORLEANS PELICANS: NICKEILL ALEXANDER-WALKER
  • I tried to stay away from chasing rookies on this list, but I'm too intrigued with Nickeill Alexander-Walker for this Pelicans fit. "NAW" should have plenty of opportunities to earn serious minutes for this young Pelicans team and showed during Summer League action that he has the potential to be one of the steals of the first round. Now, let's see if he can do it against the big dogs in the NBA. 

New York KnicksNEW YORK KNICKS: ALLONZO TRIER
  • "ISO ZO" was one of the underrated good feel stories of last years NBA season. After going undrafted, Trier earned himself a two-way contract and opened plenty of eyes with his immediate scoring ability off of the bench for the Knicks. New York rewarded Trier with a contract, and he looks to be an intriguing option to take a nice step forward for this young Knicks team. 

Oklahoma City ThunderOKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER: TERRANCE FERGUSON
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would be a popular choice here but until the Chris Paul fiasco is settled let's go another way. I'm ready for the training wheels to finally come off for young athletic wing Terrance Ferguson. For all of you fantasy fans out there, Ferguson should be on your sleeper list. Ferguson has a great combination of athleticism and shooting potential and he keeps teasing us with some big performances. Let's see if he can consistently become a threat now. 

Orlando MagicORLANDO MAGIC: JONATHAN ISAAC
  • Really liked what I saw from Isaac last year for the Orlando Magic on the defensive side of the ball. Isaac is really coming into his own as a defensive weapon and I am hoping that his offensive game starts to come together this year as well. 

Philadelphia 76ersPHILADELPHIA 76ERS: BEN SIMMONS
  • Ah yes, the offseason of all of us obsessing over Ben Simmons jumpers. In all seriousness, Simmons should be on the warpath this offseason. I am terrified/excited for Simmons to pull up from deep immediately to start the year. If he did that and made the three, the NBA actually might stop the game. 

Phoenix SunsPHOENIX SUNS: MIKAL BRIDGES
  • Some might have been disappointed with Bridges rookie year and he will be the first to tell you he expects more out of himself. I always thought Bridges would take a while to hit his stride, and with a full offseason under his belt, I expect a nice step forward for Mikal in year two. The talented 3-and-D weapon should be motivated to be a nice scoring option for this young Suns team. 

Portland Trail BlazersPORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS: ANFERNEE SIMONS
  • I LOVED what I saw from Anfernee Simons in Las Vegas Summer League this year. Portland did a great job of slowly bringing Simons along last year, and he teased a lot of us with his big game performance at the end of the regular season against the Sacramento Kings. Simons will have the opportunity to become a huge scoring option off of the bench behind Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum for this Blazers team. 

Sacramento KingsSACRAMENTO KINGS: DE'AARON FOX
  • It was a major buzzkill to see De'Aaron Fox pull out of Team USA so late in the process, but you can't blame these guys if they are dealing with an injury. The grind of Team USA and a full NBA season is brutal, especially if you are trying to recover from an injury. Fox was fantastic in the Team USA scrimmage and looked like the best player on the floor. He should be a candidate to absolutely EXPLODE this year for the Kings. 

San Antonio SpursSAN ANTONIO SPURS: DEJONTE MURRAY
  • I especially am so excited for Dejonte Murray to return to the backcourt for the San Antonio Spurs. Murray was really starting to come into his own as a young ball handler, fresh off of an All-Defensive team nod. Unfortunately, his last year was cut short due to an ACL injury. Keep an eye on Murray, he should come out possessed to start the year. 

Toronto RaptorsTORONTO RAPTORS: CHRIS BOUCHER
  • There's a lot of ways you can go with this Raptors team. Fred Van Vleet could be a name to consider with the additional playing time he looks to receive. OG Anunoby definitely is one to watch after he spent most of last year recovering from an injury. Still, it seems as if the time for last years G-League MVP Chris Boucher is finally here. The Raptors have done a great job of developing prospects in their system over recent years (See Pascal Siakam). Boucher looks like he could be the next one to reap the benefits. 

Utah JazzUTAH JAZZ: DONOVAN MITCHELL
  • A full offseason playing with Team USA under the brilliant mind of Gregg Popovich and adding Mike Conley to the mix in Utah to take off some of the attention? Yes, we have front row tickets to the Donovan Mitchell revenge tour. 

Washington WizardsWASHINGTON WIZARDS: THOMAS BRYANT
  • An amazing tidbit...Thomas Bryant is still only 22 years old. I'm excited to see what Bryant can do with a full year under his belt for this "rebuilding" Wizards team. Washington gave Bryant a leap of faith this offseason, rewarding him with a three-year, $25 million extension. 

 

 

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