- Lonzo Ball
Of course Lonzo makes our list. The former UCLA player won Summer League MVP, and he is destined for greatness. His father has talked him up quite a bit, it’s time to see if Lonzo can back it up. He certainly had some great passes in summer league, but questions remain if his passing ability will translate against better competition.
- Derrick Rose
Five years ago, it would’ve been crazy to suggest that LeBron and Derrick Rose would be on the same team later in their careers. Now, we are seeing what that will be like. Derrick Rose hasn’t been the same since his injury, but he did average 18 points per game last year, his highest total in the last four years. Could Lebron help bring him back to his MVP form?
- Dion Waiters
Dion saw some great improvement last year, as his PPG average jumped from 9.8 in 2015 to 15.8 in 2016. He also more than doubled his assists per game average as well as improved his FG%. The Miami Heat handed him a big contract, and are hoping he still has his late season swag. Can the Miami Heat player keep his hot streak?
- Demarcus Cousins & Anthony Davis
We had a short glimpse of how the two would fit together with the Pelicans during the second half of last season. Expect Davis and Cousins to find their roles this upcoming season as the Pelicans look to make the playoffs. If these two superstars can build chemistry, the Pelicans can be a dominant force in the west and maybe even pose a threat for the small ball Warriors come playoff season.
- Myles Turner
In just his third year in the NBA, Turner comes into the season with lots of pressure, since Paul George’s departure has left him as the face of the franchise. Turner is a terrific all-around player, who can block shots and score from anywhere on the court. Don’t be surprised if we see him in the All-Star game this February.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo
The Greek freak has got it all… Almost. If he can add a three pointer to his arsenal, he might have the most diverse offensive game in the league. His ability to attack the rim was outstanding last year, putting up 22.9 PPG. The young 22 year old sure is making a name for himself. At the rate he is going, Giannis has a shot at being an MVP frontrunner for 2018.
- Blake Griffin
Since CP3 was traded to the Rockets, we’ve heard rumours of Blake being the new playmaker for the Clippers. Could we see Doc Rivers running offense through him? If so, that’d be very entertaining to watch: Blake is a special player who plays offense at an elite level, whether it is his passing or scoring.
- Devin Booker
Devin Booker had the highest scoring game of the 2016-17 season, dropping 70 points on the Boston Celtics. The crazy thing is, he’s only 20 years old. While we probably won’t see him score that much again, a few 50 point games throughout the season is realistic. Now, to become a superstar, he needs to expand his game and become a better playmaker and defender.
- Nikola Jokic
Jokic is the ultimate playmaker at center. Watching his highlight-reel passes makes your jaw drop, and he’s only getting better. Think about this: for half of the season, Jokic had to split time with Jusuf Nurkic. Now he has the center position all to himself, and has new star player Paul Millsap to learn from.
- Kristaps Porzingis
Coming off of a disappointing season where he failed to improve off his rookie year as much as we thought, Porzingis needs to show his worth. He was the fourth overall pick in the 2015 draft, and put up 14 ppg, 7.3 rpg and 1.3 apg: excellent numbers. But in his sophomore season, his stats didn’t get as big of a boost as most fans expected. If Kristaps wants to become a top player in the NBA, he will have to perform. He can dunk, shoot threes, and block shots like nobody else and if Carmelo gets traded we’re gonna see a whole lot of The Unicorn.
- Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz
Who isn’t excited to see “The Process” finally in action? Simmons and Embiid are both healthy, Fultz is the guard they’ve long needed, and the hype has never been higher. Can they make the playoffs? Embiid says so. As long as they can stay healthy, which is no sure thing, the 76ers will be fun to watch. It seems like they have great chemistry.
- Gordon Hayward
Hayward was an excellent player for the Jazz, but he left in free agency for Boston and will be joining the likes of Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford. The media certainly hyped up Hayward’s free agency period, and it’s time to see if he can live up to the hype. We are excited to see what Hayward can do to help the Celtics take down Cleveland.
- LeBron James
LeBron is the current king of the NBA but he might be left on his own. In today’s NBA, one elite player can’t carry a team to a title, but with the increasing probability of Kyrie leaving, that might be what he will have to do. The Cavs were able to sign Derrick Rose to a minimum deal which will definitely help whether Kyrie leaves or not. We know King James is going to dominate, now it’s just a question of how far his dominance can take the Cavaliers.
- Rajon Rondo
Rondo is one of the most intelligent players in the NBA. His ability to see plays develop before they unfold allows him to be a help to any team. Although he doesn’t score much, he doesn’t need to: his passing ability is what makes him a threat. Last year he averaged 6.7 assists per game, but with a new team (Pelicans) he could hit double digits, and possibly even lead the NBA.
- Dennis Smith Jr.
Smith dominated the college scene and has now been handed the keys to the Dallas Mavericks point guard job. The Mavericks have lacked a young star for a while now and the ageing Dirk Nowitzki can’t carry the Mavericks anymore. The uber-athletic point guard will certainly have some crazy dunks this season, and you won’t want to miss them.
- Kyrie Irving
Kyrie is hoping to distance himself from LeBron and the Cavs since requesting a trade. He seems to have broken the bond between him and LeBron, which makes us believe that he will definitely be playing for a new team come October. Can Kyrie become a player to build a franchise around? How will his iso-styled game translate to other teams? We will see in a few months.