The league is full of young players with plenty of talent and potential. Every season there are always young players growing and developing their game. Predicting rising stars can be difficult but here are 5 players that I think that going to take their game to the next level this upcoming season.
Going into last season, everyone had extremely high expectations for Brandon Ingram. He was drawing Kevin Durant comparisons and some even thought he would win Rookie of the Year when Ben Simmons went down with an injury. Ingram did not have quite the season everyone expected him to have. Nevertheless, the last two months of the season Ingram played very well and he earned NBA All-Rookie Second Team honors. In the month of March, Ingram shot above 50% from the field and averaged 13.5 points per game which was a season high for him. Ingram was showing tremendous promise at the end of last season. In his only summer league game, he scored 26 points and looked like he had improved his scoring arsenal. With the addition of Lonzo Ball to the team and a year of NBA experience, I think the game will come easier to him this year than it did last year. He needs to improve in efficiency and, now that D’Angelo Russell is gone, someone will have to take on some of the scoring load. Ingram can be that guy this season and I think that this will be the season he takes his game to the next level.
D’Angelo Russell getting traded to the Nets could turn out to be a really great thing for him. There was a lot of drama surrounding him after the Snapchat incident and people were questioning him which couldn’t be easy to ignore. The Nets could be just what D’Angelo Russell needs. A fresh start. Now with no distractions and nothing to hold him back, he can finally play to his full potential. With last year’s highest scorer on the Nets now gone, D’Angelo can fill the role and take over as the team’s new leader. The Nets were easily the worst team in the league last season and they are looking for someone to come in and be a franchise type player. Dlo is a great scorer at the point guard position and he can pick up the slack from Brook Lopez now being gone. After the All-Star break last season, he was averaging 18.5 points and 5 assists. He is an improving passer and can lead the team in shooting and scoring. I see Dlo playing with a chip on his shoulder and having a break out season for the Nets. D’Angelo is a rising star in this league and I predict he will be selected as an All-Star.
Andrew Wiggins is one of the best young talents the league has to offer. He has steadily improved his skills each season and last season he averaged 23.6 ppg on 45% shooting. Although Wiggins does need to improve his overall game, his scoring is what sets him apart. For a third year player, he can score in a number of ways and has potential to be a great scorer in his prime. He needs to improve his defense, mainly off-ball, and also needs to become a better playmaker for his teammates which is something he did show improvement in last season. Wiggins believes he is worth a max contract and the franchise is willing to give it to him if he can produce the things they need from him. Wiggins’ contract is at stake this season. If he thinks he is worth max, then he needs to prove it. He has already set the goal for himself of becoming an All-Star and I think he will make improvements in his overall game this year. With the motivation of playing for a max contract hanging over his head, it’s gonna be a little extra incentive for him to improve.
I think Kyrie is one of the most likely players to make a jump this upcoming season. With the trade to the Celtics, this gives Kyrie a huge opportunity to play to his full potential and hold nothing back. Last year, Kyrie averaged 25.2 points on 47% as a second option! Although Kyrie only averaged 5.8 assists, I think his playmaking and assist numbers will tremendously improve since he won’t have to play behind Lebron. Lebron did pretty much all the facilitating which left Kyrie with not much chance to showcase his passing. I expect his points and assist per game numbers to increase this upcoming season. With this move to Boston, Kyrie can develop his game fully and become the offensive monster we all know he can be. Let’s hope Kyrie can rise to the challenge and put on a show this season.
Bradley Beal was one of the best young developing stars from last season. Beal had a breakout season last year cracking the 20 ppg mark and shooting crazy efficient. Last season was also significant for Beal because he played a career high 77 games. This was a huge step for Beal because he’s had an injury plagued career and hasn’t been able to get off to a great start. With a fully healthy season under his belt, Beal has to be feeling more confident about his game going forward. Beal had multiple 30 point games last season and was looking like a confident scorer. His ball handling improved and Scott Brooks was able to play him at point guard when Wall was out of the game. I expect Beal to be used more often in the pick n roll especially when John Wall is resting on the bench. Beal is primed and ready for an All-Star season and I think, with all the open spots, he will be able to finally become an All-Star. Barring any injury, Bradley Beal is going to have a great season and will prove he can be one of the best shooting guards in the league.