Potential Breakout Players to Watch This Season in the NBA

Three young NBA players who I think can potentially take the leap to being considered one of the greatest in the league.

It was only a little over two months ago that The Lakers won their 17th championship and the 2020-21 season is already underway. Every year we see players take the leap and establish themselves as forces to be reckoned with in this league. Even in this shortened 72 game season we will see players breakout. Below I go over some of the players I think will take that leap.

Breakout Players

Michael Porter Jr

Even though he will be entering his third year in the league, this will only be his second season actually playing. Prior to entering the NBA, Porter was looked at as a lock to be a top three pick in the 2018 NBA draft. A back injury he suffered in his second game at Mizzou had him slide all the way down to 14. Last year, Porter showed flashes of his elite scoring ability. His ability to score from almost anywhere on the floor gives him sky high potential. His defense on the other hand definitely needs A LOT of work. In the bubble, Porter would have to watch the end of games from the bench he was such a liability.  If he could get his defense up to par, it could have a big effect on the Nuggets title chances.

Porter’s 9.3 ppg, 4.7 rbs, and .8 ast don’t jump off the page, but his bubble performance tells a much different story.  Porter raised his numbers to 14.2 ppg, 7.2rbs, and 1ast; he also had a few 30 and 10 showings. The main issue with Porter going forward is health. If he can manage to stay healthy, I could see Porter supplanting Jamal Murray as the Nuggets second option. Maybe one day he’ll even pass Nikola Jokic, but that’s long down the road.

Coby White

Prior to February, White was putting up a fine rookie season; not bad not great, but fine. In his role off the bench he would show the occasional flash of his potential, but nothing consistent. When White finally entered the starting line up, wow, did things change quick. His numbers shot up from 10.3 ppg, 3.1 rbs, and 1.9ast to 20 ppg, 4 rbs, and 4.1 ast. White looked much more comfortable in the offense as the starter and it was clear he got a confidence boost from it. Before the rest of the season was eventually canceled, White looked to be getting better each time he took the court.

Going forward, the long term concerns with White are his playmaking and his fit next to Zach Lavine. As things currently stand, White is a score first point guard and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing by itself. With Lavine also looking to score, it leaves the Bulls with a concerning lack of playmaking in the backcourt. With all this in mind, White is expected to make a jump with a full season in the starting role.


Colin Sexton

Coming off a 19-46 season, there isn’t much to be optimistic about in Cleveland right now, but Colin Sexton might be the one bright spot. Since entering the league in 2018, all Sexton has done is score. He has already had a 20 ppg season average before entering his third year in the league. I have always been a fan of Sexton since his days at Alabama when he almost beat Minnesota while playing 3 on 5.

While Sexton is a great scorer, he isn’t a perfect player. Many will point to his abysmal 1.33 assist to turnover ratio and its definitely a fair criticism. Sexton can also be a streaky scorer and can experience long cold stretches. When he is on, he can be one of the better scoring guards in the East, the issue is being consistent. Luckily for the Cavs you can count on him to improve in all these categories since he is still only 21.  

This season will be like none ever played before with the Covid-19 pandemic still raging across the country.  However these young breakout players could have a season no one expects. Let’s just hope everything runs smoothly and we get the chance to see these great young players establish themselves. It is for certain, this is a season we will never forget.