Community Shootaround: Summer Breakout Players

Perhaps no player has taken a more impressive leap this summer than Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., who has taken on an increased role due to injuries to Jamal Murray, Will Barton, and Gary Harris. After averaging a modest 7.5 PPG and 4.1 RPG in 49 games (14.2 MPG) prior to the March stoppage, Porter has exploded for 26.3 PPG and 10.0 RPG in four games (34.7 MPG) during the restart.

Porter’s scorching-hot shooting line (.578/.500/.941) is unsustainable, and his numbers figure to dip a little if and when Murray, Barton, and Harris are all healthy. Still, in the span of a week, MPJ has gone from promising young prospect to franchise cornerstone.

Porter is one of nine players highlighted by ESPN’s writers in an article focusing on several of the summer’s up-and-coming breakout players.

Second-year swingman Gary Trent Jr. is another unsurpising inclusion on ESPN’s list. Trent is still coming off the bench for the Trail Blazers, but he’s playing 32.9 minutes per contest so far in Orlando and is shooting the lights out from beyond the arc, knocking down 22-of-35 three-point attempts (62.9%) through four games.

Grizzlies shooting guard Grayson Allen, who had played limited minutes in his first two NBA seasons and was sidelined with a hip injury prior to the hiatus, has played the best basketball of his professional career at Walt Disney world, averaging 14.3 PPG on .606/.667/.750 shooting entering today’s game.

A pair of Spurs also show up on ESPN’s list. Derrick White has taken his game to another level in Orlando, racking up 24 points in today’s win after averaging 21.3 PPG and 5.5 APG with a .455 3PT% in his first four games. Rookie forward Keldon Johnson, who played in just nine games earlier this season, has been one of San Antonio’s most-used bench players, with 13.0 PPG and 5.3 RPG entering today’s game.

Troy Brown (Wizards), Thomas Bryant (Wizards), Danuel House (Rockets), and Aaron Holiday (Pacers) also showed up on ESPN’s list.

Now that we’re halfway through the summer’s seeding games, we want to get your input. Which young players have impressed you the most in Orlando so far?

ESPN’s list focuses on up-and-comers, but have you been pleasantly surprised by what you’ve seen from certain veterans as well, such as Pacers forward T.J. Warren? Are you skeptical of small-sample sizes in some cases, or are you ready to declare that certain players have taken noticeable steps forward?

Head to the comment section below to weigh in with your thoughts!

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10 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Summer Breakout Players

  1. Noel1982

    Knicks took Frankie smokes and now get to watch bam and booker ball out !
    Knicks took Knox and now get to watch sga and porter jr ball out!
    I’m sure they took some yahoo over Trent jr In the second rd but that’s forgivable!
    Wanna believe in the Knicks but they are at least a couple years away from being credible

  2. x%sure

    When Grayson Allen does well I think, maybe he’s thinking about the right things now. He’s hot but that’s not unlikely.

    Keldon Johnson is probably happy to be finally on any NBA list!— after Popovich kept both his firstrounders in the GL most of the year. At Kentucky KJ was Not systematic; more like Nassir Little at UNC. Interesting to see how that plays out.

    I thought Kuzma would be mentioned and razz that in these circumstances. The Lakers (and I) might wish Waiters & Smith were the hot ones but now not even Kuzma is, and the Lakers don’t look so great after beating the Clips game 1. In their three losses the starters were beat right off the bat.
    Anyway talking too much.

    • Simple Fan

      well hey knucklehead, looks around. You’re still talking about Grayson Allen? Well then maybe nobody needs to beat him to the punch. It’s likely that he is a savvy player, but I think bringing up Kuzma then is even too much

      • x%sure

        Well, “razz” is not positive, but I could have been less confusing. He looked good in game 1 but has not sustained, predictably.

        GraysonAllen got a lot attention at Duke and it would be easy to give up on him then but like CamReddish, it is too early to do that. And now there’s the PG coming out, same thing, can still bloom… and I have not been a Duke fan in some time.

  3. harden-westbrook-mvps

    The Rockets are better with House starting and Gordon playing the sixth man role. There’s no reason to bench House when Gordon comes back.

  4. wagner13

    The Spurs’ G-league coaching staff must be doing a good job, with both Walker and Johnson looking solid as late first rounders. White and Forbes have been pleasant surprises as well. San Antonio will undoubtedly have to rebuild, but with their development system, it shouldn’t be an especially long period of turmoil.

    Porter looks to be seizing the opportunity in the absence of Denver’s primary offensive contributers, with Allen similarly stealing Tyus’ role as the backup point guard.

    House has outplayed Gordon all season, so it’s not surprise to see his success in the starting lineup. Similarly, Holiday has been an overlooked contributor in Indiana with Oladipo and Brogdon constantly out of the lineup

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