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5 NBA players in the Western Conference who could have a breakout season in 2021-22

The NBA has many talented players on the verge of having a breakout season.
The NBA has many talented players on the verge of having a breakout season.
ANALYST

The NBA has a host of young players who are looking to develop as stars for their respective teams. With so much talent across the board, it is only a matter of time before hard work and discipline begin to stratify the ordinary from the elite.

A breakout season in the NBA is one where a player emerges as a potential star or superstar for his franchise. In recent times, some players such as Luka Doncic or Zion Williamson have emerged as superstar quality players in their rookie seasons itself. However, a majority of players take a season or two to hone their talent prior to bursting onto the scene.

Both conferences in the NBA have some of the most talented young players in the league. On that note, here's a look at five NBA players in the Western Conference who could have a breakout season in 2021-22.


#1 Terance Mann

Terance Mann celebrates a basket for the LA Clippers
Terance Mann celebrates a basket for the LA Clippers

Playing for the championship contending side, the LA Clippers, Terance Mann has garnered a lot of attention after his performances in the 2021 NBA playoffs. Coming off his sophomore season, the 24-year old is expected to have a breakout campaign with the Clippers.

His performance against the Utah Jazz in Game Six of the playoffs to seal the series win showed that he has genuine potential to emerge as a star for the franchise.

TERANCE MANN πŸ”₯39 PTS (Career-high)72% FG70% 3PT100% FT100% Dunks on the DPOYhttps://t.co/LFEj1blnuC

Although Mann looks like he could be a star, his averages tend to say otherwise. He averaged seven points and 3.6 rebounds per game in the 2020-21 NBA season. However, he did that on roughly 19 minutes per game.

With Mann likely to see more minutes due to Kawhi Leonard's absence, he could have a breakout campaign in 2021-22.


#2 Talen Horton-Tucker

Talent Horton-Tucker looks to bring the ball up the court for the LA Lakers.
Talent Horton-Tucker looks to bring the ball up the court for the LA Lakers.

Coming off his sophomore season with the LA Lakers, Talen Horton-Tucker is one of the most talented young players on the Lakers' side. With an unknown ceiling and the potential to be a future star for the franchise, Horton-Tucker looks set for a breakout campaign in 2021-22.

Talen Horton-Tucker was a second-round pick by the LA Lakers in the 2019-20 draft. Having won a championship with the side in his rookie season itself, fans didn't get to see much of him until his sophomore season.

With his enormous wingspan and sneaky athleticism, Horton-Tucker is a gifted scorer with the potential to be a great defender as well. He averaged nine points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists in the 2020-21 NBA season.

Talen Horton-Tucker showing out and Bron is here for it πŸ™Œ https://t.co/ycpdOqILPF

The LA Lakers made several moves and bid familiar faces goodbye in the 2021 offseason. But Horton-Tucker re-signing with the franchise says a lot about the faith the Lakers have in the player. Challenged by head coach Frank Vogel to become a lockdown defender in the upcoming season, the team will look forward to see what Horton-Tucker has to offer.

#3 Jordan Pool

Jordan Poole in his rookie season with the Golden State Warriors
Jordan Poole in his rookie season with the Golden State Warriors

In his sophomore NBA season with the Golden State Warriors, Jordan Poole had a solid campaign, albeit playing only 51 games for the franchise. The young shooting guard looks set to enter the 2021-22 season as a potential starter for the Warriors. Poole was selected as the 28th overall pick by the Golden State Warriors in the 2019-20 NBA draft.

In his sophomore campaign, Poole averaged 12 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists per in 19.4 minutes per game. He also improved as a three-point shooter. Having shot 27.9% in his rookie season, Poole made a big jump and shot 35.1% from beyond the arc in the 2020-21 NBA season.

Considering his offseason transformation and the return of Klay Thompson still a little way away, Jordan Poole could step up for the Golden State Warriors and return them to championship-contending form.

β€œI’m more confident in Jordan than ever. He’s been our most consistent worker over the past two years…..He’s going to be a huge part of this team [next season].” - Steve Kerr on Jordan Poole https://t.co/o35rDw0BNB

#4 Jaren Jackson Jr.

Jaren Jackson Jr. leads the Memphis Grizzlies' fastbreak.
Jaren Jackson Jr. leads the Memphis Grizzlies' fastbreak.

Jaren Jackson Jr. is one of the most talented prospects in the big man position in the Western Conference. Paired next to 2019-20 Rookie of the Year, Ja Morant, the duo makes a solid case for making the Memphis Grizzlies a competitive side in the West.

Jackson is one of the most versatile bigs in the game. His ability to stretch the floor with the three-point shot is only matched by his crafty finishing ability near the rim. Having only completed his third season in the NBA, there is a lot of room for his growth.

Jaren Jackson Jr. picked up a career-high 43 points against the Bucks! πŸ™Œ#GrindCity https://t.co/PhuvpFqYCj

Traditionally, NBA big men take a little longer to mature as opposed to guards. Jackson Jr. showed that he has the tools to make the jump to the next level. Unfortunately, his history of injuries kept him sidelined for most of last season.

After averaging 14.4 points and 5.6 rebounds in only 11 games in the 2020-21 season, Jackson Jr. looks primed to enter the 2021-22 season healthy and ready to have a breakout campaign.


#5 Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr. goes up for a dunk for the Denver Nuggets.
Michael Porter Jr. goes up for a dunk for the Denver Nuggets.

Having missed his rookie campaign in 2018 because of injury, Michael Porter Jr. just completed his third season with the Denver Nuggets last season. He emerging as a star for the franchise in 2020-21.

Porter Jr. is one of the most gifted players in the Western Conference right now. His ability to score from all three levels at a highly efficient rate is significantly amplified by how well he moves without the ball. He is the ideal swingman fit for a passing big man like Nikola Jokic.

Michael Porter Jr. had a fabulous campaign with the Nuggets in 2020-21. Averaging 19 points and 7.3 rebounds, Porter Jr. burst onto the scene and became a key player in Denver's offense. However, the reason he is still on this list is because he has more room to grow.

Having signed his designated rookie max extension with the Denver Nuggets, the franchise has heavily invested in his talents. They expect him to potentially become an All-Star-caliber player. Michael Porter Jr. can expect to see more minutes in the frontcourt pairing of himself, Jokic and Aaron Gordon.

Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., has agreed on a five-year designated max extension that could be worth up to $207 million, his agent Mark Bartelstein of @PrioritySports tells ESPN.

With the improvement of his three-point shot, Porter Jr. has room to improve his isolation shot selection and decision making. His enormous wingspan and athleticism give him the potential to hone his defensive ability as well.

Edited by Bhargav

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