Well the NBA draft has come and gone. Fultz went to join the process, Lonzo Ball went to the Lakers and everything else unfolded pretty much as we expected.
Now what do us NBA fans do? I guess there’s the awards ceremony, but whose idea was it to put it at the end of the season after the draft? Getting the MVP award in the second round of the Playoffs was so much better because then it meant more then. The winner was usually still fighting for his team to win the title. Now the winner won’t really care that much about getting it.
The summer league in July should be fun. I just want to see if Lonzo Ball is the real deal but other than that it’s a very long weight till next season. All we can do is speculate about stuff, like who is going to improve the most next year.
Maybe they’re an established player looking to have a bounce-back year? Perhaps a young baller still wet behind the ear just itching to prove himself, or possibly someone who has found themselves in a change of scenario.
Whatever the case may be, here are my top five player most likely to improve next season.
5. Emmanuel Mudiay - Denver Nuggets
This one is a bit a of a long one, but I reckon that with a body like Mudiay’s at 6 foot 5 and 200 lbs and now in his third year it is time for him to live up to his potential. He’s a great athlete with a great defensive upside, but his outside shot is suspect at best.
His field-goal percentage for his first two years is 37% and he’s only managed to knock down 31.7% of his threes. So far he hasn’t made good decisions on the offensive end, but now he has two years under his belt and the time to work on his game.
The Nuggets next year look very exciting. With Nikola Jokic looking like a real stud and Gary Harris set to continue his improvement, look for a breakout year from our man in the mile-high city.
4. Harrison Barnes - Dallas Mavericks
Harrison Barnes by all measures had a great year last year. After being a role player with the Golden-State Warriors averaging 10 points a game he upped his scoring to 19.2 points a night as the main man in Dallas.
Barnes is only 24 with a beautiful jump shot and great athleticism. He has only had one year being the main man with the Mavericks. I expect him to continue his rise to stardom with the decline of Dirk Nowitzki.
The Mavs look set to take a tumble next year with an aging team and no major moves on the cards. This gives Barnes the perfect opportunity to showcase his array of skills that made him such a tantalizing prospect at North Carolina.
3. Myles Turner - Indiana Pacers
Paul George looks set to leave Indiana this summer as he made it know he wants to go play for the Lakers. With him gone and no other star coming back in return the stage is set for the now third-year man out of Texas to take over.
Myles Turner averaged 14.5 points and 7.2 rebounds with 2.1 blocks a night last year as the third option. With George likely going he is ready to take the next step and become the star in Indiana.
Turner is extremely talented and has a perfect set of skills as a modern NBA center. He can score in the post, hit the outside shot, be a threat in pick and rolls and has a good defense as well. Plus the man hits 81% of his free throws and excellent return for a guy who stands 6 foot 11.
2. Dwight Howard - Charlotte Hornets
Dwight Howard was my favorite player to watch back in his prime. The guy was simply a pure beast and nobody could stop him on both ends of the floor. He was the youngest player ever to win defensive player of the year in 2009 and lead the league in rebounding, blocks per game and field-goal percentage in 2010.
But his fall from grace over the past 5 years has been well documented. He went from being a top-five player in the NBA with the Orlando Magic to now bouncing between a team in the twilight of his career.
But I have faith.
I have faith that with his new team in Charlotte he will bounce back and prove that he is still the Superman we knew and loved in Orlando. He still averaged 12.7 rebounds a game last year, and with Kemba Walker running the show there should be plenty of opportunities for Dwight to prove his critics wrong.
1. Buddy Hield - Sacramento Kings
After being drafted by the Pelicans last year Hield failed to meet expectations in New Orleans. He averaged a measly 8.6 points a game on less than 40% from the field. Then he was traded to Sacramento for DeMarcus Cousins and he soared.
He then averaged 15.1 points a game shooting better than 42% from three. He was revitalised and with a bigger role he was able to prove that his game was good enough to more than make it in the NBA.
With an entire offseason and training camp with his new team I expect Hield to become a 20 point a game scorer with a jump shot to really keep defenders on their toes.