As the season tips off this week, let’s dive into our predictions for the NBA players poised for breakout performances. While we’ve already forecasted our top rookies to watch, this list zeroes in on the dark horse candidates and those ready to elevate their game to the next tier.
We anticipated Walker Kessler ‘s defensive prowess, especially given his outstanding block rate from the SEC. Yet, last season, he surpassed expectations to become the NBA’s top rookie in our opinion. He didn’t put up that level of counting stats or play enough minutes to get noticed by the voters, but he was the most valuable rookie by the advanced metrics. This year, he’s poised to emerge as one of the league’s elite defensive centers, deserving of a role and minutes that truly reflects his caliber.
2023-24 Projection: 13ppg, 11.5rpg, 3.2bpg 23.5 PER
Mark Williams only played 19 minutes a game last year. This season that number should jump to the upper 20s and with it so should the statline. However these probably will not be empty stats as he’s highly productive in the minutes he has gotten.
2023-24 Projection: 12.5ppg, 10.2rpg, 1.4bpg 22.5 PER
Tyus Jones has always been an interesting player when thrust into the starting lineup. This season he’s in the middle of his prime at 27 years old and has his own team. He averaged 16 and 8 last year in 22 starts for Memphis so lets go with those averages again.
2023-24 Projection: 16.0ppg, 8.0apg, 1.4spg 17.5 PER
This one isn’t much of a secret after Austin Reeves averaged 16.9ppg 4.4rpg, 4.6apg in the playoffs last season. He should help take some of the scoring off of LeBron this season in the regular season.
2023-24 Projection: 18.0ppg, 4.0rpg, 4.5apg 17.0 PER
Obi Toppin heads to the perfect situation with one of the best pick-and-roll point guards in the world.
2023-24 Projection: 16.0ppg, 6.0rpg, 17.5 PER.
2023-24 Projection: 11.6ppg, 8.2rpg, 1.7bpg 21.5 PER
This one is unfortunate with Adams going down for the season but Santi Aldama will have the opportunity is now to shine.
2023-24 Projection: 12.5ppg, 6.5rpg, 16 PER
Embiid is always live to miss games, but this season Paul Reed should have a larger role regardless and double his stats.
2023-24 Projection: 9.0ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.0bpg 21.0 PER