While the world waits for another year of NBA basketball to begin the trend of summer basketball has become huge. Now NBA players will compete in runs at gyms with their trainers and other NBA players to stay sharp throughout the offseason. Many of these sessions are filmed and put out for people to watch. So you see some of your favorite players working and getting better, runs such as Rico Hines have become enormous. Rico Hines runs are at UCLA and will bring NBA talent from all over to compete in these pick up style 5’s; it allows you to see the raw talent that all the NBA players genuinely have. Blackops basketball runs hosted by trainer Chris Brinkley are also significant as last summer a group of Lebron James, James Harden, Kevin Durant, and many more would show up and compete for these open runs. It’s amazing what summer basketball has become it is as interesting to watch as the NBA season as the runs are fast-paced and shows off players one on one talents.
The next biggest thing with summer basketball is the Drew League as you have a mix of former and current NBA players, some G league player, and now even high school to college players. One of the Stars of the Drew League has been Lamelo Ball as he has been showing his tremendous talent game after game. His jumper has begun to be silky smooth with a tight handle and ability to finish at the rim. Not to mention his passing ability is like big brother Lonzo’s is what could make Lamelo the most interesting prospect come next years draft. He could be a top 3 pick; he appears NBA ready it will just be a matter of time before he gets into the league.
But the best thing about summer basketball is getting to see players progressions and try to figure out who is due for a breakout season; I have three players in mind that I believe will become all-stars this season but also could crack All-NBA teams. The first player is Ben Simmons for the 76ers, even though he was an all-star last season it was because of injuries that occurred so it wasn’t exactly a sure bet he would get in. But this offseason there is actual footage of him playing and shooting his jumpshot, it is not the prettiest thing in the world, but the key is it’s going in, and it’s building his confidence. His turnaround jumper is looking smoother every time he shoots it; this will add so much depth to his game as if he can consistently just hit a mid-range jumper shot it will make the defense play him honest. This could completely open up the 76ers offense and make this team the favorite in the East and tough competition for everyone. I believe Simmons development will be the key to success if the 76ers hope to make it far in the playoffs. I see Simmons making an All-NBA 2nd team if he can get that jumper to fall with some consistency.
The next player who I see will break out and make the all-star team and even be labeled as a star before the end of the season. The player I’m speaking of is high flyer Zach Lavine, behind a strong season last year in which he averaged almost 24 points a game he showed he has the talent to be a top 10 scorer in the league. Consistency is what he will have to show throughout the entire season to be labeled as a star in the game. His jumpshot seemed to be on and off last season so if he can get that to start falling at a consistent pace there is no one that will be able to stop Lavine from scoring. His driving ability is already top tier, and his athleticism allows him to be able to fly over defenders and dunk at will. If he can put all these things together, he will be an all-star and a member of the All-NBA 3rd team without a doubt.
The last player I wanted to highlight is Pascal Siakam, with Kawhi Leonard leaving to join the Clippers it pretty much makes the Raptors Siakam’s team to run. Yes Kyle Lowry is still there, but Siakam is the most talented player on the roster, he showed what he could do in the playoffs last year and has great length and ability to really become a top 10 player in the league. If Nick Nurse builds the offense around Siakam, he could easily average about 27 points 10 rebounds and 4 assists which will quickly get him to the all-star game and a 2nd team All-NBA nod. His talent is undeniable he can drive with ease, and his jumpshot has really improved, making him a tough cover for anyone in the NBA.
Keep an eye out for these three players as they are all in for a big season especially with the NBA becoming more balanced if any of these players can exceed my expectations it could end with their team getting to the finals and even possibly them winning the MVP award in a surprise.