Everyone knows who the big time stars in the game are. Even the latest crop od young talent has impresed on an extreme level. Throughout this article, however, we will pay our due dilligence to the top 10 players that have noticeably improved on the court this NBA season. Let’s start out in Washington D.C.
10.) Kelly Oubre Jr., F/G. Washington Wizards
2017-18 stats: 46 games played. 27.3 mpg., 12.2 ppg., 4.9 rpg., 1.1 apg., 44.9% FG, 40.5% 3PTFG, 83.3% FT, 0.8 spg., 0.4 bpg., 1.2 topg
The wiry swingsman from Kansas hasn’t had the easiest transition to pro basketball in his first couple of season with the Wizards. Despite always being a good defensive player, he had never averaged more than 22 minutes a game and a lot of people, coaches especially, had no real idea of what his fit in the NBA would be.
In Year 3, however, Oubre looks like a completely different player. His on-ball defense, which has always been there has only gotten better, he’s averaging career highs across the board, and has developed a legitimate jump shot.
The ball fake is a key move in his arsenal and now, due to his much improved accuracy from the perimeter, it actually works.
9.) Domatas Sabonis, F. Indiana Pacers
2017-18 stats: 44 games played. 25.2 mpg., 12.4 ppg., 8.5 rpg., 2.1 apg., 53.3% FG, 36.8% 3PTFG, 73.9% FT, 0.5 bpg., 0.4 spg., 2.0 topg
Arvydas’ kid was an absolute flop as a starter for the Oklahoma City Thunder after being the No. 11 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft out of Gonzaga.
He shot under 40% from the floor, averaged only 5 points per contest, looked absolutely lost on the floor at times and was a liability on defense. Then as expected, the ‘bust’ labels started floating around.
However, after being included in the Paul George trade that rocked the NBA world, Year 2 has been very good to him.
He worked diligently during the off season and has transformed into a reliable post up guy and has shown to be quite relentless on the glass. He’s improved in every major statisical category and is Indiana’s most important bench player.
8.) Jamal Murray, G. Denver Nuggets
2017-18 stats: 45 games played. 29.7 mpg., 15.8 ppg., 3.4 rpg., 2.6 apg., 44.2% FG, 36.2% 3PTFG, 92.1% FT, 0.9 spg., 0.3 bpg., 2.0 topg
The former Kentucky Wildcat was drafted by the Denver Nuggets No. 7 overall in last year’s draft and was thought to be one of the best scorers in the draft.
However, he struggled mightily with consistency in his jump shot and despite playing all 82 games for the Nuggets last season, he scored 20 or more points only 8 times.
This year, a change of position and noticeable spikes in almost every major statistical category has been Murray’s saving grace, hence him coming out of the dark this year.
He has improved his shooting, is one of the top 3 scorers on his team and once again, the Nuggets are in the thick of the playoff hunt midway through the season. Not to mention, he has already doubled his amount of games that he’s scored 20+ points. Things are definitely coming together for the sophomore guard.
7.) Jaylen Brown, G/F. Boston Celtics
2017-18 stats: 41 games played. 31.4 mpg., 14.2 ppg., 5.6 rpg., 1.4 apg., 46.3% FG, 38.3% 3PTFG, 56.4% FT, 1.1 spg., 0.4 bpg., 1.7 topg
The No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft by way of California was seen by many as a reach. An elite defender and above average scorer in his days as a Bear, he struggled heavily to find his offense in Year 1 and averaged a measily 6.6 points per outing.
Brown competed in the Summer League this off season as well as creating a basketball league of his own in Las Vegas to keep out of trouble. Brown went into the season as the Celtics starting shooting guard.
He started the season off red hot, averaging over 16 points and 6 rebounds a game over his 1st 20 starts. He has also improved his dribble penetration and has settled into a 3 point shot. Celtic fans are hoping that this is just the beginning.
6.) Brandon Ingram, F. Los Angeles Lakers
2017-18 stats: 41 games played. 34.0 mpg., 15.9 ppg., 5.3 rpg., 3.4 apg., 46.0% FG, 35.8% 3PTFG, 67.6% FT, 0.8 spg., 0.7 bpg, 2.6 topg
As a rookie, Brandon Ingram came in with lofty expectations after being selected No. 2 overall by the Los Angeles Lakers last year. In his first season, he became known for his elite defense.
Yet his offense was spotty and came only in spurts, due to an inconsistent shot and being very hesitant. Despite playing all 82 games, he shot a lowly 40% from the floor and averaged only 9 points per contest.
This season, it looks like he has put everything together. He’s 2nd on the team in scoring behind rookie Kyle Kuzma and has worked on scoring with his back to the basket. He is not afraid to penetrate inside and finish and will pull the trigger if given enough space.
His confidence has skyrocketed as a sophomore and he is a marquee guy for the Lake Show going forward. Showtime is on it’s way back. Trust and believe.
Lets view my next 5 click #2.
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