Players Expected to Breakout 2021-2022
There are a lot of players that are expected to take that leap this year. Whether it be a sophomore or a veteran player, this season will be a fun one. This list will go over a handful of players that are going to post better numbers than they had in the past. Who will explode this year?
Ball had a fantastic rookie season for the Hornets. He already played a season of professional ball in the NBL for Illawarra (he averaged 17 points, 7.4 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 1.7 steals a game). The amount of success that he had in that league (despite the poor percentages) was tremendous. College players don’t get the amount of experience that Ball had when he played professional players overseas, so his rookie season was expected to happen. He averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.6 steals on 44% from the field, 35% from three and 76% from the line. Ball is expected to take another leap this year under coach James Borrego as the starting point guard. Devonte Graham being gone will help him get even more opportunities as well. As a starter, he averaged 18.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists.
DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay and Patty Mills are no longer around. This team is going to be looking for some answers from it’s very young core. Johnson is definitely going to be one of the players on this team that will have increased opportunity this season. He had an up and down season in his second year, but that’s expected from a young, late first-rounder. Nevertheless, he had some very good games and he’s only improving as he ages. As a starter, he averaged 13 points, six rebounds and 1.8 assists on 49% from the field, 36% from three and 75% from the line. Expect these numbers to inflate next year as the starting three. Also, expect him to have more playmaking opportunities as he will be one of the main options on this team.
Stewart had a good rookie season for the Pistons. Since Mason Plumlee got traded away and the only competition for minutes is Kelly Olynyk (he’ll be a candidate for rest days on a rebuilding team) and Luka Garza, Stewart is expected to have a major leap this year. He averaged 12.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.9 steals and 2.1 blocks a game as a starter. Not to mention he shot 57% from the field and 79% from the line. The only issue he had was his 3-point shooting in which he only shot 21%. He’s still expected to have a major increase in production this year and will be the main option on offense, possibly only behind Cade Cunningham.
Kevin Porter Jr.
Porter Jr. had some insane games in the second half of the season last year. In fact, he had a 50 burger during his nice run. This year, he will be taking yet another leap this year. John Wall will be gone and there aren’t many backcourt options in Houston, so Porter will more than likely explode this season. He averaged 17.4 points, six assists, 4.1 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 0.3 blocks a game as a starter. He needs to fix up his efficiency (43% from the field, 32% from three and 69% from the line) and his lack of defensive stats. Besides that, expect him to be a Most Improved Player candidate.