10 players poised to break through next season
Posted: Wednesday April 25, 2007 12:44PM; Updated: Wednesday April 25, 2007 12:44PM
Though often referred to, albeit incorrectly, as the season that really matters, the NBA's second season is underway, and makes no bones about grabbing the spotlight with two hands. But inside Fantasy Lab, the playoffs are merely an indication that it's time to gaze apprehensively back at our naivety in October when we mercilessly tried to label sleepers, busts and breakthrough candidates without the advantage of our newfound hindsight. Ahh, those certainly were fun and carefree times.
Getting to the point, why wait for this October to start anointing breakthrough candidates when we can do it right here, right now, in this very column! This week's syllabus has the Lab examining youthful players that should emerge onto the fantasy scene in one way or another in the 2007-08 season. After that's through, your summer reading assignment will be to closely follow the news regarding the 10 breakthrough candidates for next year. How else will we know if they're still worthy of breakthrough status in October?
SF/PF Andrea Bargnani, Toronto: Admit it. You thought this soft-looking, perimeter-oriented, Italian 19-year-old wasn't going to be able to hack it this year. He took a month or two to get warmed up, much like the entire Raptors team, but then it wasn't long before this nasty stallion had a bandwagon taking reservations for next season.
SF/PF Travis Outlaw, Portland: Check out his final two games of the season. Sick, right? Yeah, we thought you'd dig 36 and 10 in one game and 18 of 20 FT in the other, not to mention two steals apiece. Gerald Wallace-lite is either due the starting SF role in Portland or another team will pay him to be theirs. Either way, this Outlaw is a wanted man.
SF/PF Walter Hermann, Charlotte: The month of March came and Herrmann stepped up. Given the starting role, he dropped 19.6 ppg with more than two three-pointers made and nearly six boards a night straight through the end of the season. At 27 the Argentinean is in the prime of his career.
SF/PF Paul Millsap, Utah: The college rebound king for three straight seasons, Millsap demonstrated that talent, not to mention a propensity for blocked shots and steals, on the grand stage of the NBA. It's time to forget that he was an undersized second-round pick from a small school. With Andrei Kirilenko entrenched in a downward spiral, more minutes are in Millsap's future.
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