Every year, we have players take a big step forward. Bam Adebayo was one I saw coming last season. Brandon Ingram, not so much.
So, I am trying to look into my crystal ball and give you seven players who could have breakout seasons in Yahoo Fantasy Basketball this year.
Shai was great last season, but it’s a whole new ball game this season. Having played mainly off the ball last season, Shai is the Thunder’s point guard with Dennis Schröder and Chris Paul on new teams this season.
He is going to be the number one option on offence, too, with Danilo Gallinari also gone.
I expect Shai to be a top 20 player and could even push into the top 10 and with efficiency not being a problem in a Yahoo league, the extra focus defences have on him shouldn’t be a problem.
We saw Christian Wood explode after Andre Drummond was traded last season and now he has a big opportunity to do it for a full year in Houston.
Russell Westbrook, usage vortex, is already gone and James Harden could be next.
DeMarcus Cousins’ body isn’t going to hold up as a starter, so Wood should get his first season as a 30+ minute a night starter and be on his way to a huge fantasy season.
Dejounte Murray returned from his ACL injury last season and split minutes with Derrick White. But in the bubble, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich finally played Murray and White next to each other and it looked great.
— JeffGSpursZone (@JeffGSpursZone) December 4, 2020
My feeling is that we will get that same alignment this season and that means I expect Murray to see his minutes rise. If his offence catches up to his defence, a real breakout could be on our hands.
Like Wood, we saw White earn and impress in a starting role just before the season shutdown in March.
Usage was high and he improved his shooting and assist numbers.
He should enter this season as the Bulls’ starting point guard and he has a real NBA coach now in former OKC Thunder mentor Billy Donovan, after a season under the unconventional Jim Boylen.
I look for White to establish himself as a great fantasy points point guard in his second season.
Michael Porter Jr.
Michael Malone held Michael Porter back last season, because of his poor defence.
This season, I feel like the reins are off and Porter is going to start and play pretty big minutes as a starter next to Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray.
.@docktora admits he may have reached on his picks of Michael Porter Jr. and Chris Boucher, but is feeling confident in the young talent on his roster in Trae Young and Lonzo Ball.
Watch the Fantasy Draft Replay: https://t.co/tqOkhNxOHX pic.twitter.com/lDcKN0B72l
— Rotoworld Basketball (@Rotoworld_BK) December 10, 2020
In the bubble games, Porter was the 23rd ranked player and averaged 38 fantasy points in 33 minutes. Maybe he doesn’t do that, but there’s a real chance he does.
Wendell Carter Jr.
Like Coby White, Wendell Carter has a real coach to play under now. Jim Boylen took the ball out of Carter’s hands and told him not to shoot threes.
That’s an interesting tactic for a centre who can pass and who shot over 40% from deep in his one season at Duke.
Wendell Carter Jr. on what he'd tell critics who say he shouldn't shoot more 3s because he's not good at it yet early in NBA career: "Just pay attention this year, that's what I'd tell them."
Carter has shot 19.7% on 3s in limited opportunity in 2 seasons -- 12-of-61.
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) December 9, 2020
Boylen ruined his confidence, but not to worry, that horror is over. Carter is going to launch more and he is going to pass more. He should play more too.
Hopefully, he stays healthy.
Bazley is going to start for the Thunder and is likely also going to be the number two offensive option most nights for the Thunder.
Believe the SGA hype in OKC, as he’s going to have a huge season, but give me Darius Bazley. The sophomore looked good in the bubble and should be the starting PF now. He’s a fantasy sleeper this year with a chance to be a top-100 player with an ADP outside 140. - @daltondeldon https://t.co/eIr6CWMlaZ
— NBA Fantasy (@NBAFantasy) December 10, 2020
He had a cameo in the bubble games and showed he can do it. He averaged 13 points in 27 minutes, scoring 26 fantasy points per game and I expect usage and playing time to only increase this season.
He can also block shots and if he sees an increase in his percentages his scoring could rise even more. He has strong upside as a late pick.
More from Yahoo Fantasy Sports
Explore the Larry O'Brien Trophy winners throughout the years in augmented reality
Explore the championship history of the Lakers, Celtics, Bulls, Heat and Warriors in augmented reality. Click on the video below and cycle through the four icons on the bottom of the experience to view each teams “trophy case,” which includes all of their NBA championship trophies as well as pictures of the team throughout history. Make sure to turn on your device’s sound to get an analysis of what makes each of these franchises so dominant.
The 3D experience can be viewed on both desktop and mobile.
Click on “View in 3D” above
Use your mouse to zoom and rotate the object
For mobile (optimal experience):
Click on “View in 3D” above
Tap on the camera icon in the upper right-hand corner of the browser
Press “allow” (this prompt should come up multiple times)
Place the object in your space, use your fingers to resize and rotate in augmented reality
To take a photo of what you’re seeing, tap on the screen and a camera icon will appear