Coast to Coast is my bi-weekly column here at Fansided. Each week I’ll be taking a look at an interesting topic in the NBA, and giving my own spin on it. Feel free to disagree, because you most likely will anyways.
Every year, there are players who will come out of nowhere, and put themselves on the map. The hard thing to do is to predict these players, but when you look at the numbers and situations, it can give you an indication of a player that is capable of having a season like Paul George did last season. I give you 5 players who are on breakout watch:
- Anthony Davis; New Orleans Pelicans-
If you think Anthony Davis had a bad rookie year last season, then you’re wrong. He had some problems finding out what to do when he’s in pick and rolls, and had to adjust to the NBA, but he was very impressive. He only played 64 games due to injury, and that may be a big reason as to why no one payed attention to him. His averaged 13.5 points, 8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks on 51% shooting from the field. He only played 28 minutes a game, but his per 36 numbers indicate that he may be a star with more time on the court. His per 36 numbers were 17 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game. Davis is a long player who can defend well, and is improving on offense. He will be playing with Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans this season, so defenses may not pay too much attention to him. With more time, Davis could surprise a lot of people, and he will be a good player. He added muscle and weight, and that will help him down low. For the first 2 preseason games, Davis scored 23 and 25 points, and was catching lobs from all over. Watch out for Anthony Davis.
2. Nick Young; Los Angeles Lakers-
Nick Young is an interesting guy. He is certainly a gunner, but he is one of the better ones in the league. He is a good 3 point shooter, and he can create his own shot. He doesn’t pass too much, and shooting is always on his mind. He can shoot teams in and out of games, but no one can argue that the guy can score. This year, he is on a Lakers team that will be relying on those points. On his previous teams, he was a spark off the bench, and never really had a solid role. He has only averaged 23 minutes per game in his career thus far, but you’d have to assume that number will rise significantly. Young will probably average between 17 and 20 points per game, which is way higher than his career average of 11. If you want a comparison, look at J.R. Smith last year. Smith was viewed as a similar player as Young, but he went to New York, and he found himself as a staple in the Knicks’ rotation. He averaged 33 minutes last season, and that’s the first time he made it over 30 in his career. All his numbers went up, and he won the Sixth Man of the Year Award. Oh yeah, he got himself a long-term contract, too. So watch for Nick Young to have a similar season as Smith did, and it only adds that he will be auditioning for teams next summer. Young is playing for the minimum on a 2 year deal, with the second year being his option. You have to assume he will opt out to see what he can get. Nick Young is also playing under Mike D’Antoni, where everyone has a green light. In the second preseason game, he took 16 shots in 24 minutes. Nick Young may not be efficient, but he will put up some numbers this season.
3. Andrew Bogut; Golden State Warriors-
Andrew Bogut was the number 1 pick back in 2005, and he has only played in all 82 games in his rookie season. I like Andrew Bogut, and basketball “experts” will tell you that Bogut is already a great player. Bogut has only scored over 15 points per game in one season. He keeps getting injured, and it has hurt his game. He is a great defensive player, and he has a nice offensive game as well. If he can stay healthy, he is one of the best centers in the league. Bogut has said this is the healthiest he has ever been, and he has looked good in the preseason. The Warriors need Bogut on the floor, as he makes them a much better team on defense, and he makes them a better team overall. With full health and a bigger role, Bogut could average around 17 points and 10 rebounds. Bogut is also in a contract season, so he will be giving full effort.
4. Derrick Favors; Utah Jazz-
Derrick Favors was the player that the Jazz traded Deron Williams for. He is a promising young big man, who is finally getting his due. Utah let Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson leave for nothing, so that means it’s time for Favors and Enes Kater to anchor the Jazz. They won’t be a very good team (they traded for Richard Jefferson), so it’s likely that Favors can lead them in scoring and rebounding, and could be a potential all-star. He has never played over 23 minutes a game, but his per 36 numbers are great. Per 36 minutes, he averages 14 points and 10 rebounds per game. Look for Favors to be the best player on a bad team next year.
5. Andrea Bargnani; New York Knicks-
I was hesitant on the trade that brought Andrea Bargnani to New York, and I didn’t like it at first. When you look at his role in Toronto, he was a former number 1 pick who wasn’t playing like a prototypical 7 footer. Bargnani can shoot, and he has a perimeter-oriented game. He never really found a role in Toronto, and they didn’t want him. In New York, he joins an offense that set a record for most 3 pointers in a season, and they like to shoot. He will likely fit right in, and it seems as if Mike Woodson is wanting to start him. He isn’t great on defensive rotations, but he is a valid post-defender, and they have Tyson Chandler to clean up the mess. Bargnani could have a terrible season, but he is set up for success in New York. He won’t be the number 1 pick there, he will be Steve Novak’s replacement. If he can hit 3′s and play adequate on the boards, Bargnani could see a resurgent year.