Every year there are certain players that take it to that next level in their development as individual talents. The stardom of players like Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and LeBron James didn’t happen overnight. I took years for them acclaim stardom in the NBA. This year will be no different in terms of stars on the rise.
There are 10 players that could potentially breakthrough this year. In this article, we are going to analyze each of these 10 talents and the percentage chance that they make the leap to stardom next season. Without further ado, here are 10 players to watch out for during next season.
10. Dewayne Dedmon
Dedmon will likely earn the starting spot at the center for the Atlanta Hawks. The Atlanta Hawks are set to be a woeful club next season. Many NBA experts project them to finish as a bottom dweller in the East. Rebuilding teams typically ride with the young guns.
Why not gamble on a young center at the age of 27 with amazing defensive upside?
When he was on the floor last season for the Spurs, they posted 97.5 Defensive Rating, as opposed to 102.7 rating when he didn’t play. Keep in mind, this was in limited minutes. Who is to say, Dewayne Dedmon isn’t from the same mold as a Nerlens Noel/Hassan Whiteside/Rudy Gobert/DeAndre Jordan, a player that can be a defensive anchor for a team. I say the chances he breaks out are slim, but should definitely be a bright spot on a young and struggling Hawks team next year.
(Stardom Level: 12%)
9. Seth Curry
Seth Curry has the access to superior mentorship in his young career with his brother Stephen Curry (2 Time MVP) and Dell Curry (Father and NBA Legend). Not to forget being under Dirk Nowitzki’s wing can have its perks too.
Last year, Seth Curry showed amazing potential late in the season after the All-Star break, averaging over 23 ppg on great efficiency at 58% shooting from the field and 53% from 3 through a 6 game stretch. Maybe, next season Seth Curry steps out of his brother's shadows and carves his own path. Let’s his star shine a little brighter.
(Stardom Level: 30%)
8. Gary Harris
Gary Harris is slowly developing into an elite 3 and D guard. A few all-defensive team appearances could be right in his near future. Last season, Harris flew under the radar. Harris was big part of keeping in the run for the playoffs. One could argue that outside of Nikola Jokic, Harris was the second best player on that Nugget team. Harris numbers have improved every season since he was drafted back with the 19th pick by the Chicago Bulls. Harris never played for Chicago, getting traded on draft night to Denver.
This past season, Harris had his best season yet posting career highs in 5 statistical categories. Harris averaged 14.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, and 2.9 apg on 50% shooting including a solid 42% from distance.
(Stardom Level: 40%)
7. Avery Bradley
Avery Bradley is entering his next stop on his NBA journey with the Detroit Pistons in Motor City. Barring no injuries, Bradley should be their best two way player by far. In weak East, they could make serious noise. All signs point to Bradley taking that next step this season.
In the 2017 playoffs, Avery Bradley stepped up for the Boston Celtics averaging 16.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.3 apg, and 1.3 spg on 44% shooting including 35% from 3 through 18 games. Pretty good sample size. Last season, Bradley seemed like a more all-around player and has to be out to prove that he deserved to be on an All-Defensive Team.
(Stardom Level: 48%)
6. Clint Capela
Capela should unveil all his potential and more next year with Chris Paul and James Harden setting him up for success. What more could young big men ask for? Two of the best playmakers in the league feeding you in the post. In 2017 playoffs, Capela showed flashes of defensive prowess averaging 2.5 bpg in 11 games.
I believe that next season, Capela will become just like another DeAndre Jordan. The capable shot blocker that can get double doubles on a nightly basis. The addition of Chris Paul to this Rockets team should do wonders for Capela’s development.
(Stardom Level: 54%)
5. Lance Stephenson
Lance Stephenson has bounced around the league so much over the years that people forget that the guard is only 26 years old. Still, has layers to grow, and there is no doubt he can be Indiana’s head playmaker during their rebuild. According to Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports, the Pacers are reportedly considering starting Lance at the pg spot.
I think it could be a huge success for Lance and the Pacers. Back in 2014, when Lance led the league in Triple Doubles, he was on the Pacers as a secondary playmaker and he averaged 4.6 apg. That is not bad at all.
(Stardom Level: 62%)
4. Rodney Hood
Now, that Gordon Hayward is gone, someone has to step up as the go to scorer for the Jazz. My money's on Rodney Hood. His efficiency overall from the field will have to get better, but there is no question about his skill at connecting from deep at a 37% clip. The backcourt of Hood and Rubio should play very well together. Guards like Zach Lavine and Kevin Martin enjoyed great success as scorers playing next to pretty Ricky Rubio and his dastardly dime dishing skill set. Rodney Hood needs to return to form first and foremost.
He only played 59 games total last season due to hitting an injury bug. Rudy Gobert will likely take the title as the best player on the Jazz, but Hood can be the best pure scorer.
(Stardom Level: 65%)
3. Jonathon Simmons
Simmons should receive more minutes with a rebuilding Orlando Magic club. Seems like he is a clear upgrade defensively over Terrence Ross. However, whether Simmons makes his mark as Sixth Man of the Year candidate or a starting small forward, he should make his mark.
This past season with the Spurs, Simmons showed potential to be a good two-way star in this league. His numbers jumped in the playoffs, averaging 10.5 ppg on 46% shooting including 35% from 3. It has been quite a while since the Magic have landed such an intriguing and young free agent.
(Stardom Level: 72%)
2. Jusuf Nurkic
After being traded from the Denver Nuggets to Portland for Mason Plumlee, Nurkic’s career just jump-started. In 20 games with Portland before his leg injury, Nurkic averaged 15.2 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.3 spg, and 1.9 bpg on 51% shooting.
Time will tell if he can make a successful comeback from the non-displaced fracture in his right leg. If he does, the NBA should be put on notice because there is no telling how much of an impact Nurkic could have in a full season with Portland. They jumped 26th to a 13th ranked defense with just 20 games of Jusuf Nurkic at center. They could be a Top 10 defense in the NBA and Nurkic could be considered for an All Star spot.
(Stardom Level: 88%)
1. Dion Waiters
Who would’ve thought it? The Alpha Male of one of the hottest teams in the East in the Miami Heat could be Dion Waiters. The Miami Heat finished last season with a 30-11 record and they likely would’ve made the playoffs, if the guy who was carrying them during that stretch in Dion Waiters hadn’t went down to an ankle injury.
During that stretch, Waiters averaged 21.6 ppg, 4.9 apg, and 4.6 rpg. Career numbers all across the board. Could definitely be vying for an All-Star spot in a weak Eastern Conference. He’ll bring the confidence, swagger, and clutch daggers.
(Stardom Level: 96%)