NBA 2018-19: 5 sophomores poised to have a breakout season
The 2017 NBA rookie class might just go down as one of the greatest of all-time. Lined with talents like Jason Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, Kyle Kuzma and many more, they have undoubtedly displayed enough of their caliber to become superstars in the not-so-distant future. They acclimatized themselves to the NBA and thrived, staying level-headed while doing so.
But what remains to be seen is how they can build on the launching platform from their rookie seasons. Most of them have exceeded expectations already and are aiming even higher for their sophomore season.
Whether it's a slight increase in the averages or a deeper run into the playoffs, the road only gets tougher from where they are right now.
Based on their promising performances in their first season in the NBA, here are my top 5 picks expected to break through and set the bar even higher this year.
#1 Kyle Kuzma
Lonzo Ball's arrival into the NBA landscape overshadowed any possible spotlight on the 27th overall pick, Kyle Kuzma. But as the season progressed, Kuz proved to be the crème de la crème of the young core running the Lakers franchise and eventually, the 2017 rookie class.
While everyone was busy tracking Zo's next move, Kuzma was stacking big numbers on a nightly basis. He averaged 16.4 points along with 6.1 rebounds (best among the rookies and his teammates), and the basketball microscopes had to make space for him on their Petri dishes by the time the regular season had wrapped up.
Though the Lakers finished 11th in the hard-fought Western Conference with a 35-47 win-loss record, Kuzma had set himself up well to build on his rookie year.
He could be looking at fewer touches and shots this year due to an obvious factor that was added to their roster during the summer, but considering the skill level he has exhibited, no ceiling is too high for this kid.