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The NBA is a stars' league, but nobody enters as a star -- well, almost nobody. Players have to work their way up year over year, eventually earning the superstar designation after a statement season. That's what we'll be looking for when the 2023-24 NBA season tips off on Tuesday.

Which players will go from unknown to known, rotation player to star, or star to superstar? We combed the rosters of all 30 NBA teams, selecting young players who have a chance to become household names this season. Some of them won't pan out, but others will pop, and that's when the magic happens.

Here are the most likely breakout candidates from every NBA team entering the 2023-24 NBA season.

Atlanta Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu

Onyeka Okongwu
ATL • C • #17
PPG9.9
RPG7.2
BPG1.34
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Part of the reason Clint Capela's name has been consistently bandied about in trade rumors for the past year is the excitement surrounding the 22-year-old Okongwu, who appears ready to step into the Hawks' starting center role whenever the opportunity arises. Last season as a backup, he put up 15 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks per 36 minutes while shooting 64% from the field. The Atlanta defense allowed three fewer points per 100 possessions with Okongwu on the floor, and he ranked in the 81st percentile in defending shots at the rim, per Synergy Sports.

Okongwu's defensive versatility is his strongest attribute. Watch here has he guards three players on the same possession -- first showing to prevent DeMar DeRozan's penetration, then recovering to the roll man, Andre Drummond, before making one more rotation to pick up a blocked shot on the cutting Ayo Dosunmu.

"His development has been pulling out the versatility that I think he has," Hawks coach Quin Snyder said after a training camp workout. "He has a good feel for the game and I thought he made plays that aren't things that show up on the stat sheet."  

Assuming Okongwu receives a significant bump in playing time (especially if Capela is traded), he's the Hawks' most likely candidate for a breakout season.

Boston Celtics: Payton Pritchard

Payton Pritchard
BOS • PG • #11
PPG5.6
APG1.3
SPG.29
3P/G1.167
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Even with Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis coming aboard this offseason, Celtics fans might actually be most excited about Pritchard, who lit up the preseason with averages of 16 points and five assists in 23 minutes per game on 36% 3-point shooting. With the departure of Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon, Pritchard should be a consistent part of the rotation, giving him the chance to have a legitimate breakout year. 

Landing in the 71st percentile as a pick-and-roll ball-handler last season, per Synergy Sports, Pritchard -- who signed a four-year, $30 million extension this offseason -- will be tasked with both creation and spot-up shooting, two areas where he should thrive with the weapons the Celtics have around him.

"His ability to see how he can make his teammates better, and the mindset and intensity that he brings," Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla said of Pritchard. "He's just developing as a player every day."  

Brooklyn Nets: Cameron Johnson

Cameron Johnson
BKN • SF • #2
FG%47.0
3P%40.4
FT%84.2
3P/G2.452
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The temptation to choose Ben Simmons here is strong, but instead we'll go with Johnson, who could make a leap from an excellent role player to a No. 2 scoring option on a potentially playoff-contending Nets squad. In 25 games after being traded to Brooklyn, Johnson put up nearly 17 points per game, a significant bump from what he averaged with the Suns.

We all know about Johnson's elite spot-up shooting ability (nearly 40% from 3-point range for his career), but where he can really make the leap this season is with his on-ball creation. In a very small sample size of 40 possessions with the Nets last season, Johnson landed in the 95th percentile in scoring as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, per Synergy. A big part of that success was his midrange and floater game, which he'll need to continue to develop as defenders run him off the 3-point line.

Johnson should have every opportunity to become more of a playmaker, which could lead to a breakout season for Brooklyn.

Charlotte Hornets: Mark Williams

Mark Williams
CHA • C • #5
PPG9
RPG7.1
BPG1.05
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The Hornets don't have a ton of breakout candidates. Players like LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward and PJ Washington are known commodities, and not many of Charlotte's young contingent have shown signs of being ready to significantly contribute this season. So that leaves us with Williams, who played just under 20 minutes per game as a rookie and boasted eye-popping per-36 numbers of 16.8 points, 13.2 rebounds two blocks and 1.2 steals on 64% shooting.

The 7-foot-1 Duke product should enter the season as the Hornets' starting center, and an increase in minutes will likely lead to some impressive statistics as the organization tries to steer itself in the right direction.

Chicago Bulls: Patrick Williams

Patrick Williams
CHI • PF • #44
PPG10.2
RPG4
BPG.85
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The No. 4 overall pick in the 2020 draft, Williams played all 82 games last season after an injury-plagued 2021-22 campaign and showed significant signs of improvement. He shot 41.5% from 3-point range, and his next task (along with the entire Bulls roster) is to increase his volume from behind the arc. He took just under 3.5 3-pointers per game last season, and if he can bump that up, he could easily see a meaningful increase in his scoring average.

Improvement could also come at the other end, where the 6-7 wing has shown the potential to be an All-Defense candidate. He likely won't be asked to score 20 points per game given the presence of DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine and Nikola Vučević, but Williams can certainly impact winning with his 3-point shooting and defense.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Evan Mobley

Evan Mobley
CLE • PF • #4
PPG16.2
RPG9
BPG1.51
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This may seem like an odd choice because Mobley is already a first team All-Defensive selection who averaged 16 points, nine rebounds, three assists and 1.5 blocks per game -- but that's just how talented this guy is. He can clearly go up another level (or two) and easily jump into the All-Star and All-NBA conversations.

We can't say much you don't already know about Mobley on the defensive end, where he confidently switches onto perimeter players while also being one of the best rim protectors in the league. He collected a career-high eight blocks against the Pistons last November, and retained possession on all of them.

The real room for improvement comes on offense, where Mobley has seemingly endless upside. His jump shot mechanics are solid, he can handle like a guard, he's an above-the-rim finisher and he has tremendous vision as a half-court facilitator. It's not an exaggeration to say that the 22-year-old could make the leap to a 20-10-5 guy this season as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Watch out.

Dallas Mavericks: Josh Green

Josh Green
DAL • SG • #8
PPG9.1
APG1.7
SPG.7
3P/G1.133
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This was a tough one between Green and Jaden Hardy, but ultimately it seems like there's more growth opportunity for Green given that the Mavs have the ultimate playmaking and scoring backcourt of Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving. Those guys are going to need defenders around them, and that's where Green comes in -- the Dallas defense allowed four fewer points per 100 possessions with Green on the floor last season. Head coach Jason Kidd tinkered with starting rookie Olivier-Maxence Prosper and veteran Derrick Jones Jr. at small forward during the preseason, but Green can certainly win that job as the season progresses.

The 6-5 powerful athlete took over as the Mavs' primary perimeter defender when Dorian Finney-Smith was sent to Brooklyn, and Green also showed some flashes of offensive prowess, notching three consecutive 20-point games in mid-March. The Australian shot 40% on nearly three 3-point attempts per game last season, and was in the 83rd percentile in catch-and-shoot efficiency, per Synergy. He could have the opportunity for a breakout year as his volume increases due to all the attention that Dončić and Irving will draw. 

Denver Nuggets: Peyton Watson

Peyton Watson
DEN • SF • #8
PPG3.3
RPG1.6
BPG.48
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You can't talk to anyone even tangentially associated with the Nuggets without being bombarded by fervent ebullience about Watson, who is poised to step into a bigger role with the champs after the exit of rotation fixtures Bruce Brown and Jeff Green. The 6-foot-8 UCLA product averaged 7.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks during a six-game stretch to close the regular season in which he averaged over 20 minutes per game. He also put up 22 points and seven rebounds in seven G League games for the Grand Rapids Gold.

Christian Braun is another breakout candidate, but he already made a name for himself with his play during the postseason. Now Watson is the guy to watch out for in Denver.

Detroit Pistons: James Wiseman

James Wiseman
DET • C • #13
PPG10
RPG5.9
BPG.6
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The former No. 2 overall pick was granted a fresh start when the Warriors traded him to Detroit last season, and he made the most of it by averaging 13 points and eight rebounds in 24 games following the move. Putting up numbers has never been a problem for Wiseman, but the more games he gets under his belt, the more of his potential can be untapped.

Detroit has a crowded frontcourt with Jalen Duren (another breakout candidate), Isaiah Stewart and Marvin Bagley III, but the front office has every incentive to give Wiseman a good look to see what they've got in the 7-footer. 

Golden State Warriors: Jonathan Kuminga

Jonathan Kuminga
GS • PF • #00
PPG9.9
RPG3.4
BPG.46
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With a handful of DNPs and some on-the-record complaints about his role, Kuminga didn't have the best postseason. But it certainly appears he's put that behind him after a phenomenal preseason in which he averaged 22 points in 27 minutes per game on impressive 55/46/76 shooting splits. The 6-foot-8 forward is an absolute beast in transition and on cuts to the basket -- an uber-athlete desperately needed alongside Golden State's arsenal of shooting and playmaking.

Kuminga's shooting form could still use some tweaks, but he knocked down 37% of his two 3-point attempts per game last season. If he can stay near that mark with slightly more volume, that will be enough to keep defenses honest. Over his final 34 regular-season games last season, Kuminga averaged 12 points and four rebounds per game on 56% shooting, including 45% from deep. If he can approximate that for the entire upcoming season, Steve Kerr and the Warriors will be more than happy.

Houston Rockets: Tari Eason

Tari Eason
HOU • PF • #17
PPG9.3
RPG6
BPG.57
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Jabari Smith Jr. looks ready to take a step forward, but he's a former No. 3 overall pick in his second year, so let's go a little bit farther off the radar with Eason. In his rookie season, the 6-foot-8 forward put up stat-stuffing per 36-minute numbers of 15.5 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and a block, and it will be hard for new head coach Ime Udoka to keep him off the floor.

Perhaps the most telling example of Eason's unique skill set was when he pulled down 12 offensive rebounds in just 19 minutes against the Thunder in February.

That helped bump up his average to four offensive rebounds per game, a talent that could come in handy on a Rockets team that posted the worst 3-point percentage and third-worst field goal percentage in the NBA last season.

Indiana Pacers: Obi Toppin

Obi Toppin
IND • PF • #1
PPG7.4
RPG2.8
BPG.18
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Knicks fans, avert thine eyes. After struggling to carve out a role in New York, the 6-foot-9 Toppin will take his elite athleticism to Indiana, where he will fit right in with Rick Carlisle's up-tempo approach led by maestro Tyrese Haliburton. Toppin is a menace in transition, ranking in the 79th percentile on the break according to Synergy Sports, and he's not afraid to put on a show when he gets a free run to the rim.

While some might deem an in-game between-the-legs dunk unnecessary, Toppin explained his outlook perfectly:

"I'm the type of person [who's] going to be a little flashy if I can on dunks because it's an energy booster for the fans and for our bench," Toppin said. "Something little like that can put juice into our team and help us get better. It's just the way I play."

Now, we all know he can dunk, but the area that needs to improve if Toppin's going to have a breakout year is the 3-point shooting. He shot a career-high 34% from deep last season on nearly four attempts per game, landing in the 42nd percentile in catch-and-shoot situations, per Synergy. If he can become more accurate and prolific from 3-point range, particularly the corners (where he went 4-for-8 this preseason), it's going to unlock so much for both Toppin and the Pacers.

Los Angeles Clippers - Kenyon Martin Jr.

Kenyon Martin Jr.
PHI • SF • #1
PPG12.7
RPG5.5
BPG.37
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If any team was starving for athleticism, it was the Los Angeles Clippers, and boy did they find it in Martin. One of the highest leapers in the league, Martin destroys rims in both transition and in the half-court. He ranked in the 86th percentile in finishing at the basket last season, per Synergy, making him an excellent weapon as a cutter and in attacking closeouts.

It tells you all you need to know that a YouTube video featuring "head at the rim" plays from Martin last season is 14 minutes (!) long.

The Clippers were bottom-10 in pace last season and were bottom-five in shot attempts at the rim, per Synergy, so Martin should provide an immediate boost in those categories. He shot 32% from 3-point range last season, but the Clippers are hoping he can return to the 36% he shot over his first two years in the NBA to help keep defenses honest. Not to mention, with the injury history of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, there could be a lot of minutes for Martin to fill.

Los Angeles Lakers: Max Christie

Max Christie
LAL • SG • #10
PPG3.1
APG.5
SPG.22
3P/G.634
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Since Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura both reached the radar of most NBA fans during their excellent postseason runs, how about a look at Christie, one of the few knock-down shooters on a Lakers team in dire need of floor-spacing. The 6-foot-5 wing didn't play much as a rookie, but he shot 42% on 3-pointers and ranked in the 88th percentile in catch-and-shoot situations, per Synergy.

The Lakers were the fifth-worst 3-point shooting team in the league last season, so Christie's main skill could be valuable for a group with championship aspirations. He averaged eight points in 22 minutes per game during the preseason, shooting 36% from deep, and while the path to regular minutes isn't clear, he needs to be ready when his number is called.

"He's already competitive. He has to have a defensive focus and just play the right way offensively and really turn up the aggression," Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said of Christie. "He's one of our most athletic players, he's done a remarkable job working on his body this summer. He's added some muscle, he can shoot it. Just simple things, that's what he can do. Stay competitive, defend like there's no tomorrow and keep it simple but aggressive offensively."

Memphis Grizzlies: Santi Aldama

Santi Aldama
MEM • PF • #7
PPG9
RPG4.8
BPG.62
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With Steven Adams out for the year, someone is going to need to fill in those center minutes, and Aldama is as strong a candidate as any on the Grizzlies roster. The 6-foot-11, third-year big man posted per 36-minute averages of 14.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, a steal and a block last season, while hitting 35% of his 3-pointers.

Aldama is a decent spot-up shooter and good finisher around the rim, and he's also a sneaky cutter who can take advantage of bigs looking to help on penetration.

He certainly has some shortcomings on the defensive end, but if Aldama gets his minutes into the mid-20s, he should put up some impressive numbers with his offensive versatility.

Miami Heat: Nikola Jović

Nikola Jovic
MIA • PF • #5
PPG5.5
RPG2.1
BPG.5
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With the veteran Kevin Love etched in very light pencil as the Heat's starting power forward, the 20-year-old Jović could very well earn a promotion to the first unit at some point during the season. The 6-foot-10 forward received very little playing time as a rookie, but opened some eyes by averaging 10 points and three assists on 42% 3-point shooting while representing Serbia at the FIBA World Cup this summer.

Jović continued the momentum by putting up 10 points, five rebounds and three assists in just 16 minutes per game this preseason, though his efficiency took a dip from his international play. He was a raw prospect coming into the league, but Jović's ability to handle, shoot and also mix it up inside makes him an intriguing player for the Heat. Watch how he penetrates, draws three defenders and makes a perfect kick out to the 3-point shooter from under the basket -- the kind of thing we didn't get to see much of with Miami:

As always with Erik Spoelstra, however, Jović's playing time will come down to how effective and committed he is on the defensive end.

Milwaukee Bucks: MarJon Beauchamp

MarJon Beauchamp
MIL • SF • #3
PPG5.1
RPG2.2
BPG.13
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Milwaukee's beaming star power may overshadow its seemingly suspect depth, but that will change if Beauchamp can turn into a solid rotation piece. The 23-year-old played in 52 games last season, averaging five points and two rebounds in 14 minutes per game. He looked much more comfortable during the preseason, however, averaging 11 points and five rebounds in 19 minutes per game, while shooting 44% from 3-point range.

Beauchamp's main task will be defense, using his strong, 6-foot-6 frame to lock down opposing perimeter players. But if he can continue to hit corner 3-pointers at a high clip (5-for-6 in the preseason), he'll become an incredibly valuable asset as a floor-spacer and cutter.

"He has good feet, he has the physical specimen," Bucks coach Adrian Griffin said of Beauchamp. "A lot of defense is really grit, desire, wanting to compete on that end, and then when you have the physical tools, that just makes you even more of a threat on the defensive end."

Minnesota Timberwolves: Nickeil Alexander-Walker

Nickeil Alexander-Walker
MIN • SG • #9
PPG6.2
APG1.8
SPG.54
3P/G1.034
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If we assume Jaden McDaniels has already "broken out," the next candidate is Alexander-Walker, who should be in the mix for backup minutes in the backcourt. Between Utah and Minnesota last season, Alexander-Walker averaged 15 points, 4.4 assists and 4.1 rebounds per 36 minutes, while shooting 38% from 3-point range.

More importantly, Alexander-Walker showed his mettle in the postseason, starting four of the five games of their first-round matchup with the eventual champion Denver Nuggets, averaging 8.4 points on 40% 3-point shooting. He should have plenty of opportunity to build on that as one of the Wolves' key bench pieces this season.

New Orleans Pelicans: Dyson Daniels

Dyson Daniels
NO • SG • #11
PPG3.8
APG2.3
SPG.7
3P/G.5
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After playing about 18 minutes per game as a rookie last season, Daniels seems poised for a larger role with the Pelicans. He averaged nine points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 23 minutes per game during the preseason, but the number that jumps off the page is the 42% 3-point shooting.

At 6-foot-8, Daniels is a power guard with great defensive versatility, but the most glaring shortcoming of his game has been the jump shot (31% from 3-point range last season). During the preseason, he went 4-of-10 on catch-and-shoot opportunities, exactly what he needs to do given the way that defenses sag off of him. The form looks confident and smooth.

"In terms of progression, we know Dyson is solid defensively," Pelicans head coach Willie Green said during camp. "Now it's about creating an offensive identity and being a solid basketball player. For us, we know he can do it."

New York Knicks: RJ Barrett

RJ Barrett
TOR • SF • #9
PPG19.6
APG2.8
SPG.42
3P/G1.658
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The Knicks have a lot of known commodities on their roster and not many young players on the cusp of a breakout, so let's go with the obvious one here. Barrett is widely considered the swing factor as to whether the Knicks can go from a solid playoff team to a bonafide title contender. The former No. 3 overall pick has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his four-year career, but has yet to put it all together consistently.

Barrett led the Knicks in scoring during the preseason at 18 points per game, but his 39/29/86 splits simply aren't going to get it done. The bright spot has been Barrett's ability to get to the free throw line. He earned seven free throw attempts in 25 minutes per game during the preseason compared to five attempts in 34 minutes per game last season. That's one way that Barrett can affect the game, even if his shot's not falling.

"I feel great. I've felt great, even in the preseason games," Barrett said. "We definitely still gotta get back to learning how to play together and stuff. But just conditioning-wise and everything, I feel really good. So I'm excited."

Oklahoma City Thunder: Jalen Williams

Jalen Williams
OKC • SF • #8
PPG14.1
APG3.3
SPG1.37
3P/G.973
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Those who watched any Thunder games toward the end of last season could see this one in the works. Williams came into his own as he rounded out his rookie season, averaging 18 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals over his last 25 games on phenomenal 55/44/89 shooting splits. With all the (deserved) focus on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chet Holmgren, Williams could be the one we're talking about a few months into the Thunder season.

He kept it up during the preseason, leading the team in scoring over the four games. On top of the production, Thunder coach Mark Daigneault praised Williams for his ability to affect winning even when he's not scoring.

"It's hard to place specific expectations on what will change, but I know he's improved," Daigneault told NBA.com. "I give him a lot of credit for the way he's gone about it. He understands the importance of the little things in the game. He understands cutting, he understands spacing, he understands running, he understands simple ball movement. He's a great defender because he really competes at his size."

Orlando Magic: Jalen Suggs

Jalen Suggs
ORL • SG • #4
PPG9.9
APG2.9
SPG1.26
3P/G1.245
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Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner have already broken out in a big way, so that leaves us with Suggs, who has been stuck in a crowded backcourt for the past couple of seasons. He's been unable to stay healthy, which has possibly hurt his development, but the 22-year-old looked healthy and productive in the preseason and is poised to claim starting point guard duties.

If Suggs breaks out this season, it's not going to be due to gaudy stat lines. His 3-point shot is far from consistent and he has struggled to finish at the rim. What he can do, however, is defend, and if the Magic are going to make the leap that some are expecting, he's going to have to be a leader on that end of the floor.

"Jalen is probably one of the most unique defenders I've been around," said Magic coach Jamahl Mosley. "He has such a special gift, his ability to be extremely physical, but, at the same time, anticipate passes and things that are going to happen. He's a very smart defender because he knows where things are happening. It's just something that a lot of guys don't possess and as he continues to keep that up, it's gonna get better and better."

Philadelphia 76ers: Tyrese Maxey

Tyrese Maxey
PHI • PG
PPG20.3
APG3.5
SPG.82
3P/G2.667
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Perhaps the easiest choice for a breakout candidate across the entire league, Maxey could go from a 20-point-per-game scorer to a legitimate All-Star if James Harden either remains at home or is traded during the season. Entering his fourth year, Maxey plays at a breakneck pace, putting constant pressure on the defense. It's rare for a player like that to also be able to shoot, but he knocked down a blistering 43% from deep last season.

With Harden out, Maxey led the 76ers in assists with 5.5 per game in 26 minutes this preseason. We know he can score, but his ability to facilitate is going to determine whether he jumps to the upper echelon of NBA guards. To that point, he ranked in the 79th percentile in pick-and-roll efficiency including passes last season, per Synergy Sports, and has tremendous chemistry with MVP Joel Embiid -- the 76ers outscored opponents by over 10 points per 100 possessions with both of them on the floor last season.

Embiid said he wants to help Maxey get to the All-Star Game this season, and there's a good chance it'll happen.

Phoenix Suns: Yuta Watanabe

Yuta Watanabe
MEM • SF • #18
FG%49.1
3P%44.4
FT%72.3
3P/G1.034
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Basketball aficionados already know all about Watanabe, but his signing with one of the league's premier teams loaded with star power should cast a little more light on what the 6-foot-9 forward brings to the table. Watanabe averaged 5.6 points last season for the Nets, and he's already improved that to 10.3 per game for Phoenix this preseason.

One thing that hasn't changed is his sweet shooting stroke, which helped him knock down 44% of his 3s last season and 39% in the preseason. He's also one of the league's best corner 3-point shooters, making 51% of them last year. With all the attention drawn by Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal, Watanabe is going to have good looks galore, and he's more than capable of hitting them.

Durant played with Watanabe in Brooklyn, and had nothing but good things to say about him during camp.

"Such a bright basketball player that feels like he's always in the right spot," Durant said of Watanabe. "Plays extremely hard on the defensive side of the ball as well. And then on top of that, the jump shot is getting better and better each year. So, we hope for big things from him this season."  

Portland Trail Blazers: Deandre Ayton

Deandre Ayton
POR • C • #2
PPG18
RPG10
BPG.79
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We're not sure how we feel about the "DominAyton" branding, but there's no denying that Ayton is ready for a big year now that he can finally put a tenuous situation with the Suns in the rearview mirror.

This isn't rocket science. Ayton had to share the ball with multiple future Hall of Famers in Phoenix, playing a style to which he wasn't naturally inclined. In Portland, he'll presumably have much more freedom, get more touches and have a much higher usage rate. All of that will lead to more lucrative statistics for Ayton, who already carries career averages of 17 points and 10 rebounds per game.

It will be interesting to see how head coach Chauncey Billups deploys Ayton, who is an excellent finisher at the rim (98th percentile last season, per Synergy Sports), but tends to fall in love with mid-range jumpers, where he shot 42% last season.

"He seems to have a motivation about him right now, which I think is good," Billups said of Ayton. "He believes he can be one of the best centers in the league. I completely believe him. ... I'm going to give him the responsibility to do more, but it's all going to be based on his commitment level and what he wants to do."

Sacramento Kings: Keegan Murray

Keegan Murray
SAC • PF • #13
FG%45.3
3P%41.1
FT%76.5
3P/G2.575
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As much as I expect big things from Chris Duarte in a Kings uniform, there's only one option here. After an impressive rookie season in which he shot 41% on over six 3-pointers per game, Murray showed incredible mental resolve by shaking off a couple of rough performances in his first playoff games to become a key factor in the latter half of the Kings' first-round series against the Warriors.

What Murray has done over the summer and into camp only bolsters his case as a potential breakout player in 2022-23, as he averaged 15 points in 24 minutes per game during the preseason. He also turned up his aggressiveness, putting up nearly 12 shots per game compared to fewer than 10 last season. He's been doing things we didn't see last year, like this two-hand dunk on Klay Thompson early in a preseason loss to the Warriors.

Murray is going to be asked to do more on both ends of the floor this season, and so far he looks up to the task.

San Antonio Spurs: Devin Vassell

Devin Vassell
SA • SG • #24
PPG18.5
APG3.6
SPG1.13
3P/G2.711
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Vassell's name raised a lot of fans' eyebrows when news of his five-year, $146 million contract extension made the rounds, but those in NBA circles weren't surprised at all. The 23-year-old averaged 18.5 points in an injury-riddled 2022-23 season, but clearly showed enough for the San Antonio front office to invest in him. That's looked like a wise decision so far, as Vassell put up 16 points in 23 minutes per game during the preseason on 58% (!) 3-point shooting.

Shooting is the name of the game with Vassell -- he knocked down 39% of his seven 3-point attempts per game last season -- but the contract is a bet that he'll continue to develop as a primary ball-handler, something he's already shown glimpses of so far in his career.

Paired with Victor Wembanyama (we almost made it through a whole Spurs entry without mentioning him!), Vassell is going to get a lot more open looks with even more opportunity for creation. It should be exciting to watch.

Toronto Raptors: Precious Achiuwa

Precious Achiuwa
NY • C • #5
PPG9.2
RPG6
BPG.55
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Instead of going with OG Anunoby for the sixth consecutive year, let's venture slightly farther down the depth chart to Achiuwa, who has shown brief bursts of tremendous talent alongside stretches of disappointment. This pick is partly a bet that Toronto undergoes some sort of roster change during the season that opens up playing time for Achiuwa, who averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds per 36 minutes last season.

Even if the 3-point stroke never comes along (27% last season ... yeesh), Achiuwa can affect the game in multiple ways with his 6-foot-8, athletic frame. He can be a switching center defensively and then operate from either the perimeter or as a roll man on the offensive end. He missed all but one preseason game due to a groin strain, but he showed how effective he can be as a sprinting rim-runner, beating the opposing big man down the court for an easy layup.

New Raptors coach Darko Rajaković said he wants to give Achiuwa opportunities to facilitate offense from the elbow, which requires a lot of trust. 

"That's a lot of responsibility," Achiuwa said. "I think the No.1 key playing from the elbows and the top of the key is getting everyone involved. That's definitely the No. 1 priority and I'm looking do that at the highest level I possibly can."

Utah Jazz: Ochai Agbaji

Ochai Agbaji
TOR • SF • #30
PPG7.9
APG1.1
SPG.27
3P/G1.373
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We all pretty much know what Walker Kessler is capable of at this point, but Agbaji is a bit more of a mystery -- at least to NBA fans outside of Utah (or Kansas). The 23-year-old, who came over as part of the Donovan Mitchell trade, was turned loose toward the end of his rookie season, averaging 14 points, three rebounds and two assists in his final 20 games.

He didn't shoot the 3-ball as well as he was projected (36% last season compared to 41% as a senior at Kansas), but he's such a dynamic athlete that he can make things happen even when his shot's not falling. He ranked in the 79th percentile in spot-up situations, per Synergy, and that's partly because of his ability to attack closeouts.

With the Jazz in position to contend this season, Agbaji can also affect winning through actions that don't necessarily end up in the box score.

"Ochai does a lot of things that are not talked about," Jazz coach Will Hardy said. "He's incredibly sharp on his game plan awareness on both ends of the floor, his spacing on the offensive end. He crashes and gets offensive rebounds, he cuts and gets layups, he gets out in transition and he takes responsibility defensively."

Washington Wizards: Deni Avdija

Deni Avdija
WAS • SF • #8
PPG9.2
RPG6.4
BPG.38
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OK, so Jordan Poole is the easy choice here, but what fun is that? He also doesn't really count as a true breakout candidate in my book since he averaged 20 points last season and was a big part of a championship Warriors team in 2022. Instead we'll go with Avdija, who, coincidentally, made headlines for appearing to be *slightly* displeased with Poole's shot selection in a preseason game at Madison Square Garden.

Assuming he and Poole talked it out, Avdija should be an important part of a Wizards team on the precipice of a rebuild with his varied skill set. He averaged 10 points and six rebounds during the preseason on 44% 3-point shooting, a sign that he might be poised to improve on his 31% career mark from long distance. It was clearly enough to please Washington's front office, who rewarded Avdija with a four-year, $55 million extension.

The 6-foot-9 forward may also have some untapped potential in terms of playmaking, and head coach Wes Unseld Jr. should have a lot of leeway to experiment with a team not expected to compete for a postseason berth.

Unseld said he expects Avdija to "take a giant leap" this season, and part of that could entail putting the ball in his hands more.