By Hocine LOUKKAF on 12/12/2018
The League is all about opportunity and sometimes, a talented player only needs to be at the right place at the right time. Let’s take a look at these players who need that change of scenario to step up (I decided not to put the rookies into this list).
Kemba Walker, 6-1 PG, Charlotte Hornets
Despite a little dip of his 3pt %, Walker (25.8pts 6.2as) is having an incredible season with the best scoring average of his career and a 60pts game against Philadelphia. Walker has done what he could for the Hornets (13-13) for seven years but the staff has not been able to build up a solid roster which could make Charlotte a contender in the Eastern Conference. Of course, rumors of Walker’s homecoming to NY have circulated and the Knicks with Ntilikina or Robinson have some assets which could interest the Hornets if they try to go a different way.
Jaylen Brown, 6-7 SF, Boston Celtics
I’ve often been tough on Jaylen Brown, arguing about his inconsistency and lack of elite talent to be a superstar. With the return of Hayward, who is a more versatile forward and can create for others, Brown struggled (12.5pts 4.2rbds on 42% FG) until recently, where he has improved starting from the bench to average 21pts 5rbds 2.7as over the last three games. Boston may be statisfied with Brown being the sixth man but Brown deserves better than that. From Sacramento to NOP or Orlando, several teams may have the assets (and interest) to try to seduce Boston and Brown.
Frank Ntilikina, 6-7 PG/SG, New York Knicks
The French Prince may be one of the most polarizing players in the League. At 19, Ntilikina has a variety of tools with an high basketball, a 7+ft wingspan and the ability to play several positions. Yet, it seems like he doesn’t get it yet and is among the worst offensive players with 35% from the field including 29% from three. He was not helped by the always puzzling Knicks coaching staff wich has put Burke, Mudiay and now Trier in Frank’s way. After being DNPd, Frank has bounced back with 18pts game on 7/11 FG including 4/4 from three. He needs a better staff who can give him the time to make mistakes and the confidence he needs. Teams like Brooklyn, Orlando or Memphis have already inquired about the young Frenchy.
Brandon Ingram, 6-9 SF, LA Lakers
After a nice improvement for his sophomore season where he averaged 16.1pts 5.3rbds and 3.9as, Ingram has been the main victim of Lebron’s coming. His stats are still ok (15.2pts 4rbds 2.2as) but Ingram, who only is 21, needs the green light to flourish and reach his full potential as his passing and 3pt % (32 to 39) have dropped significantly. It’s hard to imagine the Blazers trading their star PG Lillard, who has been lauded by Lebron, but if that was to happen, Ingram would probably be part of the package.
Kevon Looney, 6-10 PF, Golden State Warriors
While some NBA stars are chasing an NBA ring their whole career, others are luckier and get to win it all from the beginning of their career. That has been the case for Looney, who, after being sidelined almost his whole rookie season, was a major part of the Warriors’ run to the title last year. Benefiting from Green’s injury, Looney has dislayed his versatility with 6.1pts 5.3rbds 1.9as this season, including a 8pts 7rbds 4as 1to in a win at Milwaukee. It’s not hard to imagine teams like Boston or Dallas showing their interest for a versatile PF who can defend and will be unrestricted free agent at the end of the year.
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