When you think of stars in the NBA you think of Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, or Kevin Durant, but who emerge as the next NBA star? Who will make a household name for themselves and get that next big contract? Here are my top 5 players who are set to have a breakout season next year.
1. Eric Bledsoe – Last season Bledsoe averaged 8.5 points, 3.1 assists, and 3 rebounds a game coming off the bench. The 3rd year player out of Kentucky is loaded with athleticism and is a great defensive player. With the Suns in the midst of a rebuilding Bledsoe will be able to step right in and get his chance start. The Suns have quietly put together a decent team for next year and Bledsoe I believe is set for a breakout year that will give the Suns a little edge, not saying they’re going to be a playoff team but they will definitely surprise a few people and pull out more wins than expected. I look for Bledsoe’s scoring average to go up to around 16 or 17 points a game.
2 Derrick Flavors – Favors averaged 9.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks a game last season while backing up Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson. Now both players are gone and Favors will finally get his shot to show what he can do as a starter. Favors is long and very athletic and is set to have a breakout season this coming year. Look for him to average around 18 points a game next season as he will be looked upon often with the very young team.
3. Iman Shumpert – Shumpert only averaged 6.8 points a game last year but has recently stated that he wants to play a bigger role in the teams offense next season. Shumpert definitely has the potential to do so with his big athletic 6’5 frame who can finish at the rim and plays great defense. Now offense is the only thing standing between him and greatness. Now his numbers most likely won’t get to high playing along side Carmelo Anthony but I look for him to average around 13 points next season.
4. Kawhi Leonard – Leonard averaged 11.9 points, and 6 rebounds a game last season. Leonard is an emerging star in the NBA who can rebound like it’s no one business, the 6’7 SF finds his way in the right spot it seems like on every missed shot especially in the NBA playoffs. Leonard can play defense with the best of them but still needs a little work on his offensive game. With the Big 3 getting older I look for Leonard to play a bigger role in the teams offense and average around 14 or 15 points a game next season.
5. Earl Clark – Clark is another emerging star with a long lengthy body standing at 6’10 playing the SF position who can cover a lot of ground on the defensive end. Clark averaged 7.3 points, and 5.5 rebounds a game last season. I look for Clark to step right in and be a key contributor for the Cavaliers next season especially on the defensive end. I look for Clark to average around 12 points this season as the Cavs will surprise some people with more wins than expected.