Five Breakout NBA Players of the Second Half

Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets

Ten games leading into the All-Star break Miles Bridges became a consistent scorer and productive player for the crappy Charlotte Hornets.  Bridges averaged 16 PPG to go along with five rebounds. Take away two stinkers and he would be averaging over 20 PPG. Most importantly Bridges saw a rise in usages percentage over those games despite competeing with ball dominant Terry Rozier. 

The Hornets will not compete for a championship or even a playoff spot but they do have a chance to continue to develop their up and coming forward.  The former Michigan State Spartan underwhelmed their first season but has come on to be a mainstay in the rotation. Bridges showed a flash of his ability over All-Star Weekend putting up 20 points in the rising stars game.  Bridges increased usage to go along with his consistent minutes should lead to production. 

Jaylon Brown, Boston Celtics

Jaylon Brown is already doing everyting better in 2020.  The loss of Kyrie Irving has allowed Brown to open up his game.  Brown has seent he production jump in all advanced stats. His PER jumped up to 17.28 from his 13.58 from the previous two seasons. Brown’s length and athleticism along with a 3-pt shooting percentage of 38% makes him the perfect player for today’s game.  

Brown is still just 23 years old and is a key piece of one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.  Being the 3rd and sometimes 4th option for Boston keeps opposing defeneses from game planning against him.  When Tatum struggles, Brown is the guy to bring the Celtics to the next level come playoff time.  

Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz

Quietly Jordan Clarkson is having the best season of his career.  He has his highest true shooting percentage of his career at 58.1% along with a PER of 18.87.  Clarkson’s move to the Utah Jazz has allowed him to flourish as the #1 scorer off of the bench.  The Jazz were in need of more scoring and Clarkson is the perfect fit. The last three games of the All-Star break Clarkson put up 21, 25 and 30.   He has finally found a place that he fits and he will excel in the second half. 

Christian Wood, Detroit Pistons

Christian Wood has been a DFS darling of mine for the last two years. With the departure of Andre Drummond it’s finally time for Wood to show the type of production he can bring to the table.  Wood has become the vocal point to a terrible Pistons team. His player effenciency rating ranks 15th in the NBA while his minutes continue to increase. Averaging over 30 minutes per game since the Drummond trade has immediatetly put him in the place to be the new cornerstone of the organization.  

Furkan Korkmaz, Philadelphia 76ers

While Korkmaz is not going to be a star on a Sixers team with big personalities he could be the biggest reason they have a chance to win the East.  Korkmaz has shot 39% from three over his last ten games. Entering the starting lineup gives the Sixers a legit long range threat that is needed to go along with the Simmons work getting into the interior of the defense.  Furkan will never be the name that people bring up when they are playing Philly but his shooting ability will be a huge asset to a team with a lot of promise. 

NBA: Four Winner in Free Agency and the Knicks

The first day of NBA free agency played out like a fantasy draft on 2K.  With 40% of the league available it wasn’t about teams trying to make themselves better as it was about teams trying to build themselves.  An array of stars swapping cities took over the sports world, blockbuster sign and trades along with monumental decisions have swung landscape of the league.  While arguably the biggest name in free agency Kawhi Leonard still sits on the top of every teams wish list there were still a number of clear winners on day one….and there was the New York Knicks.

Brooklyn Nets

The Nets will not immediately see the impact of their moves to begin free agency.  The additions of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Deandre Jordan headlined the day’s events.  Brooklyn fans have a right to be excited, they will though have to find a way to be patient.  Kevin Durant must be allowed to fully recover from his ruptured achillies tendon.  Still with the moves made by Brooklyn they are set to be a staple in the Eastern Conference for the next four years.

Assuming Durant doesn’t play this year, the Nets should still have a solid top five seed in the East. The underrated signing of Deandre Jordan and veteran Garret Temple will be great locker room leaders to go along with the at times frustrating personality of Kyrie Irving.  Brooklyn has great young pieces as well with Caris Levert, Rodans Kurucs and Jarrett Allen.  Joe Harris will provide great shooting and Spencer Dinwiddie may be the best backup point guard in the NBA.  

Brooklyn crushed day one of free agency.  Unless there is an injury, they should be setting for next season already.

Utah Jazz

The Jazz mad some “noise” picking up underrated veteran point guard Mike Conley in a trade with Memphis before free agency.  They continued to develop their roster on day one with the additions of Bojan Bogdanovic and Ed Davis.  While the Conley move was a step in the right direction, Utah just added to players that will immediately step into their rotation and fit in.  

Bogdanovic took over as team leader of the Indiana Pacers last season after the injury to Victor Oladipo left them team without a primary scorer.  Stepping straight into the role Bojan averaged a career high 18.4 ppg while shooting a career high 42% from behind the arc. He will step into a situation in Utah where he will be second fiddle to Donovan Mitchell but will have a veteran core of proven performers along with him. 

Ed Davis, was a bruiser for the Brooklyn Nets last season. Not the flashiest of players, Davis is a rebound machine averaging eight boards a game while playing just about 17 minutes per game.   Davis will be able to step right in for the dominate Rudy Goebert giving opposing front courts nightmares on the glass.

New Orleans Pelicans

David Griffin is showing his worth over and over again.  While there were no major additions made by the Pelicans, sometimes it’s the smallest ones that make an impact.  New Orleans was able to add veteran shooter JJ Reddick to a roster full of youth and also full of mediocre shooters. Reddick is entering his age 35 season, he will not be asked to go out and take over a game, he will simply be the outlet when the Zion show causes the defense to pack the middle.

The Pelicans have had a solid offseason in a time that could have been disastrous. They wanted a veteran and a shooter and they got exactly that.

Philadelphia 76ers

Philly did not look like they were going to do much after a lack luster draft and a slow start to their conversations with key free agents.  GM Elton Brand magically turned a negative into a positive on Sunday signing Al Horford, Tobias Harris and working out a trade with the Miami Heat for Josh Richardson. The trade for Richardson means that despite losing Jimmy Butler they were still able to get a quality asset.

The additions of Richardson and Horford provide strong defensive capabilities, they do however lack the shooting of a JJ Reddick whom had more threes then Horford and Richardson combined last season.  The 76ers will still have a chance to sign a few more shooters to friendly contracts, if they do that, they will be looking at a great chance to take the East.  Depending on the decision of a certain NBA Champion of course.

And then there is the New York Knicks

To call the Knicks losers in day one of free agency is an understatement.  Not because the players the signed are bad.  Bobby Portis, Julius Randle, Taj Gibson and Reggie Bullock are a solid core for a team if you have a star to build around.  The Knicks openly told their fans that they were going after the big names, clearly, they were not.  Playing the waiting game is not an option in New York.  Based on the deals they signed it would look as if they are trying to wait two years to make moves when free agency is going to be great again.  This is New York and you just got embarrassed by a team that plays 30 minutes away.  Sorry Knicks fans you deserve better.