The NBA is most exciting when young stars are budding across the league. The talent pool is ridiculous in the Association. Some players are just waiting to sprout into the player they have the potential to be. It is best to take this subject by division since I want to pick a breakout player for every team. The Atlantic Division is first and consists of the Celtics, Nets, Knicks, 76ers, and Raptors. This division has some of the most competitive teams in basketball... and the Knicks, sorry Stephan A. Smith. Being on great teams makes being a breakout player difficult due to a lack of opportunity. But I see the potential in each of these teams to bring new players into the media's scope.
Barrett is one of a few Canadian players in the league today(Photo By: Cato Cataldo NBAE via Getty Images)
The rookie campaign for R.J. Barrett flew mostly under the radar last season. Not that he was necessarily lighting the world on fire in New York, but I feel like I never heard his name. He was the third pick in the draft to New York City, the hub of the known universe, and got no attention. This is because the Knicks (in the kindest way possible) suck. That does not mean that R.J. sucked. He averaged over 14 points per game on what were inefficient shooting numbers, but not terrible numbers.
He seems to have an understanding of his strengths and weaknesses on the court. We call him a scorer, but he never goes out there and shoots a crazy amount of shots that are too difficult for him. R.J. looks smooth and confident with every shot, even through cold slumps. He is a young kid and has all the room in the world to try new things and make that New York Knicks team his. If reports of his work ethic are true then I have faith his knack for scoring will shine next season to go along with defensive improvements under coach Tom Thibodeau. His numbers were not inspiring from last season, but with the situation he's in, I expect a jump from this second-year guard.
Author: Daniel O'Donovan