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Break Out Players to Watch in Their Second Year

NBA players always seem to break out and take a leap from their rookie to their sophomore year. This is when players start to show their true potential. Some players slump while others strive and become All-Stars. With an impressive rookie class last year, here are some players that could take that next leap.

Break Out Players to Watch in Their Second Year

Kai Jones

Kai Jones is a big man out of the University of Texas who didn’t see the court much in Charlotte. He did see the court for Greensboro Swarm, the NBA G-League team for Charlotte. In the G-League he averaged 18.3 points and 11 rebounds in 31.7 minutes. He has the potential to be one of Charlotte’s top big men going into this year.

With Charlotte yet to sign a big man in free agency, Jones is the top candidate to start for Charlotte this next year. Charlotte drafted Mark Williams to play center and he will be in direct competition for this starting spot. With Steve Clifford coming into coach this team may value experience over potential in order to gain wins for this team stuck in mediocracy.

J0nes also has the exact skill set to play alongside a star like LaMelo Ball. He has the ability to space the floor as he shot 38% from three in his last year at Texas. On top of that, he has defensive potential by being a decent shot blocker and rebounder. With a frame of 6’10, 221 pounds he can play big down low and go up and get lobs Ball throws up. He’s excellent in transition and should be an effective player for the Hornets.

Cam Thomas

Cam Thomas is a walking bucket. His main score all throughout his basketball career has been to score the ball. He’s especially highlighted this in summer league this year as he’s averaged 28.7 points in his first three games. In Brooklyn, Thomas has gotten his shots up here and there but finds it difficult playing alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Thomas can get his shots up on and off the ball. His ability to constantly move until he frees up for a shot is similar to JJ Redick and other great shooters before him. He shows no fear to shoot contested shots as well. This is a plus as he’s a very confident scorer, but also a negative as it leads to poor efficiency. Thomas shot 43.3% from the field last season and an ugly 27% from three. If Thomas gets more minutes to find his rhythm as well as takes better shots he’ll be able to break out and be a decent rotational player on a contending team.

Keon Johnson

With Damian Lillard coming back, the Trailblazers immediately hope to start competing again. Shaedon Sharpe is a rookie at the shooting guard with an insane amount of potential, but an underrated acquisition at shooting guard Portland made last year was Keon Johnson. Johnson is a guard that could come off the bench and provide some defense and scoring.

Last year wasn’t an impressive first year for Johnson as he put up 9.7 points and 2.9 assists in 22 games with Portland. He shot 34.8% from three and has shown he can be a decent defender averaging a steal per game. With Sharpe being a huge question mark at the moment, Johnson can be a more consistent option off the bench.


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