(Photo by: Ty Nowell/Los Angeles Lakers)
1. Brandon Ingram
Often times players just need a change of scenery to really showcase their true potential. That is why Brandon Ingram is in the perfect position to have a breakout season. He has consistently improved his shooting efficiency every year as well as posting better scoring numbers in his first three seasons. Ingram oozes potential with his 6’9 size and 7’3 wingspan. His first three seasons haven’t been bad by any means, but it was obvious that he hasn’t been playing up to the level of expectation. It seams that every year Ingram makes these “breakout potential” lists and people are just waiting for him to take his game to the next level.
During the offseason Ingram was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans along with Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart. The Pelicans are now a young and exciting team filled with potential stars, the perfect place for Ingram. In New Orleans, Ingram will be given more opportunity as a leader next season. Last year he had multiple 30 point games and made a new career high with 36 points in a game. Ingram’s game is easily similar to a Kevin Durant/Paul George mesh. His style of play on the court most resembles Durant by their length and smooth control on the offensive side of the ball, but statistically speaking he is identical to George. When viewing each players first three seasons Ingram has actually posted more points per game with a higher field goal percentage even when given less minutes to play. During the 4th season George really broke out and it is very possible this could be the same for Ingram.
At only 21 years old Ingram has the best opportunity to reach his potential with a new team and coaching staff. Playing as the sole starting small forward alongside Lonzo Ball at point guard he will demand the ball much more with his presence on the court. After three years of improvement this could be the year Brandon Ingram makes great strides in his game and don’t be surprised if he is a candidate for the most improved player of next year.
2. John Collins
Can you really even call it a breakout season for John Collins. After making the all rookie team in 2017 everyone knows this guys a baller, but next season he’s going to take it to another level. After an injury riddled year he looks ready and at full strength for next season. In two seasons Collins has proved himself as a dominant scorer near the basket with crazy athletic skills and rebounding. This guy is a powerful player and it is very difficult for opponents to stop him when he gets in a rhythm. Theres really no need to further explain his game because everyone knows this guy can ball, but at this point it isn’t even bold to say he’ll be an all star next year. This Atlanta team is young and fun to watch with Collins is a clear leader who will be able to play alongside Trae Young. The chemistry among the team is there and it is clear that Collins is going to establish himself as one of the top forwards in the league next year.
3. Jonathen Isaac
Last season the Orlando Magic made significant improvements and surprisingly made the playoffs. While they didn’t make it far in the postseason the team looks to be on the right track and Jonathen Isaac clearly made progress throughout the season. After struggling with production and injury issues during his rookie season, he managed to stay healthy and play in 75 games with significantly more playing time last season. Coming out of college his size and shooting skills made him an attractive pick and it looks like he is gaining more confidence as he improved his field goal percentage by 5 percent. While the Magic’s front court is crowded Isaac needs to demand the ball more to produce at higher rates next season.
This offseason could prove very valuable for Isaac as he is participating in the USA select team. While he may not get real game experience against opposing countries he still practices and scrimmages with team USA. This competition against top end talent will certainly help Isaac play with more maturity as the season rolls along. So far in practices Isaac has shown confidence especially on the defensive side of the ball coming up with routine stops which has always been his strongest suite. It is important for him to continue to improve his shooting efficiency and offensive control but watch for Jonathen Isaac to make big time improvements and breakout next season.