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Players to look out for in the 2018-19 NBA season

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, left, drives past Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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24th July, 2018
10

Every year, a handful of NBA players have a breakout season, vastly improving on their previous efforts.

Who will most unexpectedly rise as a star next season?

Markelle Fultz
This answer won’t surprise anyone, because it is likely to happen. Fultz was obviously chosen No.1 for a reason and although he got the yips and broke his jump shot, he has shown the capability of doing everything else.

Showing he could do it all but shoot, he low-key broke the record of becoming the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double. Fultz also displayed some defensive potential and being a lengthy guard will certainly help him on that side of the ball.

He has been working with the highly-regarded trainer Drew Hanlen, who has reported that Fultz is a vastly different and improved player from what we witnessed last season, not to mention his disgusting shooting form and abilities.

Lonzo Ball
The player drafted behind Fultz in last year’s draft, Lonzo showed flashes of star potential throughout his rookie campaign, featuring high ups and low downs.

The only issue with his game is his aggressiveness and shot, but playing alongside LeBron James will certainly help work that out. He proved to be a good catch-and-shoot player and if there is one thing LeBron does, it’s get his guys open looks.

Another notable improvement is his body, Lonzo has obviously been hitting weights over the summer and that will help his ability to be aggressive and feel more confident in his ability to go toe-to-toe with other strong guards, like Patrick Beverley.

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Dragan Bender
A stab in the dark on this one, Bender is another highly selected European prospect who has not performed. But, being so young, he isn’t short of time to improve his game and he still has potential that scouts picked up on during his time in the Euro league.

The No.4 pick has two seasons of not doing anything under his belt and now has no expectation to be good. The addition of this year’s first pick, Deandre Ayton, should release any pressure and spotlight that Bender felt he was vulnerable to, which could help him improve.

He has the tools to be a good player, and nine out of ten times a seven-footer that can shoot threes and block shots has a place in the league.

Frank Mason III
This pick is purely based on playing time – when he gets his deserved minutes will be his breakout year, which may not be this season.

Playing behind Deaaron Fox in Sacramento certainly contributed to his unnoticed talents, but when someone realises his skill, he will shine.

If he can move to a team in need of a point guard, like the Orlando Magic, I can see him blossoming.