Many different NBA players are looking to make the next step into stardom or from stardom to super-stardom. The off-season is a time for players to improve without being in the center of the media.
Young players show lots of promise in their first couple years in the league. Some experience injuries, off-court struggles and ultimately a lack of production. However, some rise from all the setbacks and make the transition to the spotlight.
This is a chance to speculate about the players who will make the biggest jumps this off-season.
Paul George is out of town so Turner is the guy in Indiana now.
Turner has always had the potential to breakout but he has always been in the shadow of Paul George. Now it’s his chance to get the spotlight and lead a team that is mid rebuild.
Turner shot 35 percent from three and averaged 14.5 points while grabbing 7.3 rebounds per game last year.
Turner is a consistent double-double threat and can stretch the floor in a pick and pop situation. He is also a very good low post player who can take the pressure off the Indiana guards.
This will be one of Turner’s best opportunities to show just how good he is, and with the door open in Indiana, he has a very good chance to be a consistent All-Star in the Eastern Conference for years to come.
Who would have thought that a guy who Lebron basically forced out of Cleveland would thrive in the second half of last season?
Part of the Stardom that Dion Waiters is capable of came out in the back half of the 2016-2017 season for the Miami Heat. Waiters was one of the main reasons in turning the Heats record completely around.
In the last 41 games of the season (the ones Waiters played in) he averaged 21.6 points, 4.9 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game.
Obviously he was lost for some time due to an ankle injury, but those numbers are All-Star worthy. The Heat have added a few key pieces, but Dion Waiters and Hassan Whiteside are the two keys to this team.
If Waiters can harness his last 41 games and turn it into a season he will lead the Heat to the playoffs and put up career numbers.
Nurkic is unique because he put up star numbers before injury. In 20 games with the Portland Trail Blazers, Nurkic shot 51 percent, and averaged 15.2 point and 10.4 rebounds.
A double-double over 20 games while sharing the ball with a ball dominant guard has the means for a star. Obviously Nurkic hasn’t had a large sample size on the Trail Blazers, but from his small sample size he screams stat-sheet stuffer.
He might not be an Allstar in a loaded Western Conference, but he can put up big time numbers.
With a complete recovery from a right leg fracture, Jusuf will pick up right where he left off.
The Trailblazers are in need of a jolt to their frontcourt, and with a healthy Nurkic, Portland could be playoff bound, and form their own big three moving forward.
There’s a lot less pressure on D’Angelo Russell these days. He’s in a weaker Eastern Conference and is the clear cut star of the Brooklyn Nets.
Russell has proven that he can score and he has improved in his all around statistics in this past season. He is only 21 years-old and he is in a completely different system now.
The lights aren’t shining down on Russell now, he is on a team that finished in the basement of the NBA, and doesn’t appear on the brink of a playoff push in the upcoming season.
It’s weird to say that a player could benefit from being on a less competitive team, but Russell will get a huge confidence and statistic boost being the centerpiece of the Brooklyn Nets.
There’s low expectations surrounding this new look Nets team, and Russell is ready to take the reigns and put together a very solid season that might even land him an Allstar selection.
The players listed are all players who have shown lots of promise in their NBA careers. Even if it’s for a short span of time, the players have shown they are capable of stardom.
So many players in the league can have a few good games, but to be a star, you have to carry great statistics over the course of an 82 game season. Last year these players all fell into the category of having some good games but for one reason or another couldn’t carry it for the whole season.
With each of their current situations they have been placed in, the future looks bright. These four players will make the jump to stardom in the 2017-2018 NBA season.
Featured Image Courtesy of NBCphiladelphia.com
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