As much as I enjoy the NBA, there is a tedium to the preseason that only makes me feel dissatisfied. I’m that much closer to regular season basketball, but yet I don’t quite have it, kind of like Al Pacino and his retirement in The Godfather 3.
Nonetheless, as we enter a new season, I’m always looking for players who will emerge as stars. I also look at who has a realistic chance of getting traded. And then I like to look at what offseason acquisitions had the best chance to affect the title chase.
I’m going to give you 5 players in each category.
I choose 5 because there are 5 players on each team on the court at the same time. I choose 5 because Kobe Bryant currently has 5 championship rings, but most of all, I choose 5 because in my humble opinion, there are only 5 teams entering this season with a realistic chance at winning the title. Those teams are Miami, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and Boston.
We’ll have all of our staff picks posted before the opening tip on Tuesday night.
Five Players Who Are Going To Have Breakout Seasons
1) Ty Lawson (Denver) - Lawson has improved very steadily in his first three years in the league. This is the season where he takes his game to another level — even if he doesn’t get he contract extension he is seeking. He’s already an animal at pushing the tempo. He’s not only a good shooter, he’s a smart shooter and he hits his free throws. He’s a good defensive player and a good passer. He’s also in a unique position this season where he can improve in an area that his team desperately needs him to improve in. The Nuggets struggled executing offensively in the half court in last year’s playoffs. They don’t have a significant low post presence and settled for a lot of perimeter jumpers. Lawson can be an enormous weapon off the dribble in the half court. He has worked in the offseason on penetrating using his left hand. He’s fast enough to pretty much get in the paint whenever he wants. A better left hand and a more aggressive mindset will put him in the conversation with the top 5 point guards in the league.