A number rookies appear poised to outperform their draft slot, Mike Schmitz of ESPN Insider writes, including one Dennis Smith Jr. whose impressive summer league performance and prime situation with the Mavs have already been discussed ad nauseam.
The scribe makes compelling cases for five other breakout candidates, however, ranging from Jazz lottery pick Donovan Mitchell to the Lakers‘ Kyle Kuzma, selected 27th overall. Schmitz cites Mitchell’s length and defensive ability, arguing that the wing will work his way into Utah’s still-relevant rotation.
Schmitz also speculates that Justin Jackson will thrive with the Kings considering that he’s a poised perimeter option that doesn’t need the ball in his hands on offense.
Although the profiles are hidden behind Insider’s paywall, they discuss the upside and various situation’s that these first-year players find themselves. In addition to the abovementioned, John Collins of the Hawks and Nets big man Jarrett Allen are also featured.
There’s more from throughout the NBA:
- In a comprehensive account of Darko Milicic‘s life after basketball, ESPN’s Sam Borden revealed that Milicic had made up his mind about never playing in the NBA again when he left the Celtics. It was said, at the time, that he was returning to be with his ailing mother.
- It may be early to speculate about the 2018 NBA All-Star Game but that didn’t stop A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England from stringing together a potential squad. Familiar faces make up the starting lineup but new additions Jimmy Butler and Paul George make the case for qualifying as a reserve ever more difficult for the players in the conference.
- With a new season comes new opportunity and David Yapkowitz of Basketball Insiders has pieced together a summary of Pacific Division players that he thinks may be able to take the next step in 2017/18.