While some NBA clubs are still attempting to flesh up their rosters on the back end, the majority of the league is presently resting and enjoying the small amount of vacation time they receive every offseason. August is often a slow month in the NBA, but in less than eight weeks, clubs will begin training camp in preparation for the 2022-23 season. However, there is never a “calm period” in the NBA since players are continuously in the gym working out and not only attempting to give their team a greater edge moving into the new year, but also continuing to establish themselves for several reasons.
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So many players stepped up into bigger roles last year, whether they made it to their first All-Star Game or proved that they can be a core option for their organization, and now, looking ahead to the 2022-23 season, there are still plenty of names that stand out on every roster in terms of having a breakout season. Without further ado, here are the top possible breakthrough players to keep an eye on as the 2022-23 NBA season approaches.
Jalen Green – Houston Rockets
Jalen Green now has entire control of the offense after the Houston Rockets traded center Christian Wood. Green averaged 17.3 points per game on 43 percent shooting this season, but it’s what he showed in the Rockets’ final nine games that bodes well for next year. Green averaged 28.1 points per game in the past nine games, with Wood missing seven of them while shooting 49 percent from the field and 42 percent from deep.
The Rockets have the third overall pick in this year’s draft, and Duke forward Paolo Banchero is the most likely pick. Green’s peak may be lowered by Banchero, but the 2021 second-round selection possesses outstanding athleticism and improved shooting, which could contribute to an intriguing season for Rockets fans.
Tyrese Haliburton – Indiana Pacers
The versatility that Haliburton provides with his ability to direct an attack while still playing off-ball cannot be overstated. He’s one of the league’s brightest young brains, and his flexibility allows the Pacers to simply build around him. Haliburton and fans are in for an exciting year after spending the whole winter memorizing head coach Rick Carlisle’s playbook.
Patrick Williams – Chicago Bulls
Williams showed glimpses of brilliance on attack and continuous greatness on defense throughout his rookie year and in the games, he was healthy for this season. However, with Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vuevi in the offense, it was tough for Williams to carve out a regular offensive role. However, with speculations of the Bulls dealing Vuevi for a defensive anchor, an attacking position might open up. Of course, he’d be third or fourth on the totem pole, but you could argue that having defenders concentrate on LaVine and DeRozan instead affords him better-scoring possibilities.
Anthony Edwards – Minnesota Timberwolves
Edwards is coming from a season in which he scored just over 21 points per game, but I feel he has another gear in him. This year, Edwards was perhaps the Minnesota Timberwolves’ most consistent offensive option in the first round of the playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies, averaging 25.2 points on 45 percent shooting.
Edwards’ quickness and improved shooting, like Green’s, offer him a dynamism that most NBA players lack. With what he’s shown in his first two seasons in the league, it wouldn’t be unexpected to see him earn All-Star honors next season.