- Luke Kennard — Los Angeles Clippers: Take a quick moment to let this sink in…Kennard is a career 40% 3-point shooter and he’s been playing alongside supreme ball stoppers in Reggie Jackson, Andre Drummond, and Blake Griffin (do not let his assist numbers fool you). He has since been freed and is now playing alongside a healthy cast of stars. Most notably Kennard should now not only be provided easier looks from deep with the help/attention narrowed in on Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but he likely also will be counted upon to create shots. For the first time in his career I feel Kennard is really going to showcase what he’s capable of and I believe he’ll take full advantage of being the 3rd/4th option with a strong cast surrounding him.
2. Juan Hernangomez — Minnesota Timberwolves: Very small sample size but Hernangomez played the best ball of his NBA career once arriving in Minnesota late last season. Furthermore take a quick glance at their depth chart at the 4 for the upcoming season, sure seems like the Wolves are putting a lot of trust in the production they received and trust Hernangomez can continue to deliver similar results. With fellow Spainard Ricky Rubio and D’Angelo Russell distributing and Karl Towns receiving a lot of the defensive attention Hernangomez should take full advantage of his open opportunities.
3. Matisse Thybulle — Philadelphia 76ers: What Philly added acquiring shooters, they lost in defenders. But a big reason reason Josh Richardson was expendable (outside of the contract) was the fact that Philly’s best defender arguably spent too much time on the bench last season. Richardson’s departure immediately opens up a huge role for Thybulle to fill and flourish in. While his offensive contributions remain a work in progress, he will be invaluable to the Sixers defense this coming year. The second year pro nicknamed “Mathief” could very well flirt with being the league leader in steals this season.
4. Cam Reddish — Atlanta Hawks: The young one and done Blue Devil hit plenty of speed bumps in year one. He went through a variety of brutal stretches which included some not so great shooting percentages. He even ended the year collecting more turnovers than assists. But with one year under his belt, the numbers can really only go up especially when you factor in the strong roster improvements the Hawks made this offseason. Surrounding a guy like Reddish with better players should limit the amount of mistakes made and of course open up more favorable opportunities offensively. Between the long layoff to work on his development and adding some big name contributors to the bunch I think this all plays into Reddish’s favor.