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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

5 potential NBA breakout players for 2019-20

Lonzo Ball

As we get set to bring in the new NBA season, it’s fun to think about which players will be taking a big step forward. Who will emerge and open some eyes this year? Here are five NBA players who could be in line for breakout campaigns in 2019-2020.

5. Bam Adebayo, C, Heat

A big man with a lot of upside, Adebayo saw his minutes increase late in the season and started averaging a double-double as a result. Over his final 15 games, he averaged 11.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game while getting 28 minutes per night. With Hassan Whiteside gone for good, Adebayo figures to get a significant role, which will give him every chance to keep that double-double advantage going as a regular starter.

4. Thomas Bryant, C, Wizards

The third-year center really started to flash his potential toward the end of last season, when the Wizards began to give him heavier minutes. Bryant averaged 31.6 minutes per game in his final ten games, averaging a double-double over that period with 16.5 points and 10.2 rebounds. Bryant is expected to get a bigger role for a Wizards team that won’t have a ton of talent, which could make him a focal point and put him in line for significant numbers.

3. Lonzo Ball, G, Pelicans

Ball is starting to shake off a lot of the issues that may have hindered the start of his NBA career. He’s no longer the Lakers’ prodigal son, and he’s started to free himself from Big Baller Brand and his father’s influence. He’s also found himself in an outstanding position in New Orleans, with plenty of weapons around him. Ball’s jumpshot still needs to improve, but he’ll be allowed to create for his Pelicans teammates. That, combined with his newfound freedom, could lead to significant improvement.

2. Jaren Jackson Jr., F, Grizzlies

Jackson started 56 games for Memphis last season, but they managed him carefully and generally held him under 30 minutes per night. Despite this, he still averaged 13 points per game, and there’s plenty of room to grow. He’s also a 35.9 percent three-point shooter, only adding to his upside. It wouldn’t take much of a leap for Jackson to jump above 15 points per game while getting more minutes and playing regularly if he can avoid injury.

1. Lauri Markkanen, F, Bulls

Markkanen’s first two NBA seasons have been full of tantalizing promise but injury limitations. He can score from inside and outside and rebound, and he’s averaged 16.7 points and 8.2 rebounds in his first two seasons with the Bulls. He needs to stay healthy and play a full 82-game schedule, or at least something close to it. If he does that, he could easily become a 20-10 player, especially if the players around him keep improving.



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