5 Breakout NBA Players in 2021

Marvin Bagley, Sacramento Kings

Marvin Bagley will always live in the shadow of Luka Doncic and Trae Young. The former Duke Blue Devil has had issues staying healthy in his young career.  He only played in 13 games last season and 62 in his rookie year.  Bagley has only started a total of 10 games in his entire NBA career.  

Entering into 2021 Bagley will be revitalized and ready to make an impact.  When able to play Bagley has consistently made an impact on the court.  Projecting over 40 minutes Bagley would average 22 points and 11 rebounds per game.  Bagley fits in perfectly with the DeAron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton in a run and gun style of offense.  The Kings will be able to utilize him in the pick and roll and have an advantage over anyone on the court.  His length and athleticism are elite, if healthy he will be a difference maker on the offensive end. 

Bagley still has issues on defense but if healthy he is extremely productive. If healthy he will be a fringe all star. 

Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers stink.  Without LeBron James this franchise is an absolute abomination.  They will enter 2021 with a legit star to build around with center Andre Drummond opting to stay in Cleveland.  Drummond will join a core led by veteran Kevin Love and young rising talents Darius Garland and Kevin Porter.  The cream of the young core will be third year player Collin Sexton.  

The former Alabama standout took a small step forward in 2020.  Sexton saw his PER rise from 12 to 16, TS% from 52% to 56%  and usage rate increase from 25% to 27%.  The Cavaliers have assembled some of the best young talent in the NBA and they want Sexton to lead the way. 

Christian Wood, Houston Rockets

A DFS darling, Christian Wood thankfully found his way out of Detroit.  He is now a part of the Houston Rockets and despite the turmoil surrounding James Harden, this is a good thing.  Wood was stuck behind Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond over the last two seasons.  His time on the court was limited, but he found a way to make an impression when he was on the court.  Per 36 minutes, Wood averaged 22 points and 10 rebounds per game.  

Wood will have a chance to run the pick and roll with James Harden or John Wall.  He is a competent player from the outside, shooting 38% from three last season.  If Wood gets 30 minutes per game he will produce for the Rockets.  Quietly he rated #15 in PER last season at 23.22.  With or without Harden, Wood should be a major contributor to the new look Rockets in 2021.  

PJ Washington, Charlotte Hornets

PJ Washington had moments of brilliance in his rookie season.  Washington will have a chance to develop under the new look Hornets along with new point guard LaMelo Ball. It looks like Charlotte will be utilizing a lot of small ball lineups this season as they have openly come out and said that Washington could see some time at center this season.  Washington will be undersized for the positions but these comments show the commitment the team has to getting him solid minutes.  With a fast style of play in the small ball lineups Washington should thrive.  

PJ Washington had an efficient year shooting 50% from 2 and 37% from 3.  The ability to play multiple positions and shoot at a high rate should make Washington a breakout stat stuffer for the Hornets. 

Seko Doumbouya, Detroit Pistons 

The Pistons had one of the best drafts of any team this season.  Adding legitimate NBA ready talent with all four of their picks.  The Pistons commitment to the youth movement may be headlined by last year’s first round pick Seko Doumbouya.  The 19 year-old former #15 pick from Guinea played limited minutes last year, but should see an increase in minutes.  Doumbouya has looked great in his first preseason appearances.  His most recent game Doumbouya showed some of his potential with 23 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks in just 19 minutes.  

Doumbouya will have to compete with newly acquired Jerami Grant and star Blake Griffin for the power forward position, but Head Coach Dewayne Casey has already stated that his young star will have a chance to play small ball center.  His ability to shoot the three may also allow him to get minutes at the small forward position.  Doumboya’s ability to play multiple positions and a likely movement of Griffin in-season will lead  to more opportunities for the second year phenom.  

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