Top 5 Up-and-Coming NBA Players to Watch This Season

The NBA is ripe with star power. Fans from coast to coast have been blessed with a collection of talent unlike ever before. But who’s next? While the Lakers’ Lonzo Ball, Sixers’ Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz and Mavs’ Dennis Smith Jr. are good bets from the rookie class, it’s only fair to let them get their feet wet before declaring them up-and-comers. With that said, we see these five young players as good candidates for breakout seasons in 2017-18.

AARON GORDON, F, ORLANDO MAGIC

Gordon introduced himself to casual NBA fans with his incredible performance in the 2016 Slam Dunk Contest, but now it’s time to pay attention to his overall game. Playing his more natural position of power forward last season, Gordon looked more like the player Orlando envisioned when it selected him fourth overall in the 2014 draft, averaging 16.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game on 50.3 percent shooting following the All-Star break. The 22-year-old will begin to make the jump — literally at times — to become the Magic’s next star player in the 2017-18 season.Magic forward Aaron Gordon is Dunk Contest star, but his all-around game will be on display this coming NBA season.Image via Bleacher Report

JULIUS RANDLE, F, LOS ANGELES LAKERS

While fellow Lakers forward Brandon Ingram is another good bet for a breakout season this year, we think Randle will earn his fair share of the spotlight. The former Kentucky Wildcat has completely transformed his body this off-season, which should be evident often on the boards and on defense. Randle’s unique combination of strength and skill makes him a triple-double threat every time he steps on the floor. It’s no wonder the undersized power forward is drawing comparisons to Warriors do-it-all star Draymond Green.Lakers forward Julius Randle is drawing comparisons to Warriors All-Star Draymond Green.Image via Bleacher Report

MYLES TURNER, F, INDIANA PACERS

Like Gordon, Turner has the opportunity to become the face of his franchise with former Pacers All-Star Paul George now in Oklahoma City. He hasn’t given us any reason to believe he won’t be able to fill those shoes either, after averaging 14.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game last season. Just 21 years old, Turner will begin to show his ability as the stretch-five, two-way player that made him such a tantalizing prospect out of the University of Texas.Pacers forward Myles Turner is the face of the franchise following Paul George's departure.Image via Notey

GARY HARRIS, G, DENVER NUGGETS

If you don’t know Harris as one of the top two-way guards in the league, you definitely will this season. The former Michigan State star has rediscovered the shooting touch that made him a constant threat for the Spartans, averaging 14.9 points on 50.2 percent shooting (42 percent from three) last season despite not being a featured player in the Nuggets’ offense. Harris and Jamal Murray give Denver a backcourt that should be among the NBA’s best for years to come.If you don't already know Nuggets two-way star Gary Harris, you will after the 2017-18 NBA season.Image via Bleacher Report

D’ANGELO RUSSELL, G, BROOKLYN NETS

While some — us included — thought a backcourt pairing of Lonzo Ball and D’Angelo Russell would be deadly, the Lakers opted to ship the former Ohio State star to Brooklyn this off-season. Oh, what could have been. Nevertheless, Nets fans will be pleased by the addition of Russell, who is an ideal fit alongside point guard Jeremy Lin in head coach Kenny Atkinson’s free-flowing motion offense. Atkinson’s reputation as a great developer of talent will be cemented by Russell’s transformation from Snapchat snitch to budding NBA star.The Lakers may regret parting ways with guard D'Angelo Russell, who should have a breakout campaign in 2017-18 with the Brooklyn Nets.Image via HNGN