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OurSports’ NBA Player Watch For The 2016-17 Season

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Karl-Anthony Towns:

After winning rookie of the year Towns is an overwhelming favorite among league GMs as the player they would start a franchise with today. The high praise is well deserved as Towns has unleashed a skill set on the NBA that was kept under wraps in his year at the University of Kentucky. Towns is a big man who can dribble the ball, post up down low, hit a jumper off of the pick and roll, and splash a step back three like his name is Steph Curry. The sky’s the limit for this kid now in his sophomore season. He has high expectations for himself and his team as he attempts to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves into playoff contention. Given his ability and confidence, Towns may be a legitimate All-Star this year and is definitely a player to look out for over the next several seasons.

Devin Booker:

Booker burst onto the scene last year having an incredible rookie campaign. After the All-Star break, his performance in the second-half of the season made a great case for rookie of the year. At just 19, Booker seemingly has an unlimited ceiling and is a potential franchise player for the Phoenix Suns. He shoots well from outside, confidently drives to the basket and finishes, and plays with great pace and stability. Booker is another young player out of the University of Kentucky with high expectations heading into his sophomore season that everyone should be watching.

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D’Angelo Russell:

This sophomore point guard is ready to lead the Los Angeles Lakers back to relevance. Russell had an up and down rookie year in the shadow of Kobe Bryant and under head coach Byron Scott but had a coming out party in the Summer League and Preseason. He was the Lakers’ undeniable leader on the court and their highest scorer as well. After a couple of 30+ point performances this preseason while shooting close to 50% from three, Russell has already shown the confidence it takes to be the best in L.A. Lakers’ head coach Luke Walton has praised Russell for his offensive ability and even compared him to the likes of Stephen Curry. Now that the reigns are off for this kid, he’s ready to show everyone that now that Kobe is retired, Staples Center is his house.

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Joel Embiid:

Trust the process. The 2014 no. 3 overall draft has finally seen some NBA action and so far, so good. Embiid has been worth the wait showing his amazing talent, versatile skill set and sky-high potential. Embiid can defend the basket and block shots, he is a monster on the boards, can dunk the ball with power, and has a sweet jump shot that extends to the three-point line. The sky’s the limit for this kid who has already been compared to Hakeem Olajuwon based on his natural ability alone. The only question with Embiid remains his health. If he can stay on the floor he is a definite force to be reckoned with and can give every center in the league a run for best big man in the game. Embiid is a must-see player for his talent level and unlimited ceiling but also for his potential to end up like a Greg Oden.

Brandon Ingram:   

This year’s no.2 overall pick has a lot of hype to live up to. Ingram got off to a slow start in the preseason but the Lakers are happy to develop the young man gradually. With his length, defensive prowess and shooting ability, he has the potential to be a star in the league. Ingram spent part of the Summer with Team USA’s select squad and impressed Kevin Durant who said the rookie looked better than he did at 19 heading into his first year in the NBA. It only made sense then that Ingram had a breakout game in a preseason match against the Golden State Warriors. Ingram was successful at playing the point, was aggressive finding his own shot, and ended the night with a team-high 21 points on 7-for-10 shooting. Ingram’s continued development will determine how good the Lakers of the future will be because of his high ceiling and the potential to become a franchise player. Considering the no. 1 overall pick has seen his NBA debut delayed due to injury, Ingram is the pick from this year’s draft that we’re eager to see go up against NBA vets.

Steven  Adams:

At just 23 years old, Adams has become one of the game’s most important big men as the center for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Every year Adams has been in the league he has improved. Last year he had a breakout season and helped take the 73-9 Warriors to Game 7 in the Western Conference Finals proving to be more than just a rebounder and a big body in the lane, but a bona fide third scoring option for the Thunder. Now that Kevin Durant is no longer a member of the Thunder, Adams will be asked to do more for OKC offensively. If he continues his upward trend to go along with increased touches in the post, Adams may be well on his way to becoming one of the most dominant centers in the league.

Anthony Davis:

Don’t sleep on AD! After an anonymous poll given to all the GM’s in the NBA determined that Karl-Anthony Towns was the single player teams would want to start a franchise with today, Anthony Davis opened the season with a 50-point game. The rest of his stat line included 16 rebounds, five assists, seven steals, and four blocks. AD followed up that performance with a 45-point and 17 rebounds bid against the Warriors. It seems that everyone in the NBA forgot about Davis and he needed to put them back on notice. Unfortunately for AD, his unconscious, out-of-this-world play hasn’t been enough to get the New Orleans Pelicans a W. However, he is having one of the best individual starts to a season in league history and his do-it-all performances are well worth watching.

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Russell Westbrook:

Everybody Say it with me, “Now I do what I want, aye now I do what I want!” Russell Westbrook is now the undeniable leader of OKC and is ready to defy the odds and lead the Thunder to the playoffs. Heading into the season Westbrook was an early candidate for MVP and after just a few games he sits right on top of that list. In the Thunder’s first three outings this season Westbrook has notched two triple-doubles including a 51-point game against the Suns and has led OKC to a 3-0 record. In doing so he became the first player in NBA history with 100 points, 30 rebounds, and 30 assists in his team’s first three contests. The man does it all and is also having one of the best individual performances to start a season in league history—and doing it in winning fashion.

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