Every season there a few players that get better. They become more consistent and reliable for their team. Some of them become All-Stars, some get big paydays or some just become household names. These are a few players that might be more consistent this season and some might even make the All-Star team.
1) Giannis Antetokounmpo – Everyone is in love with his potential. He has some crazy highlights and just does things on the court differently because he has a ridiculous wingspan. If you really watch him play he’s not consistent though. He has his moments on both ends of the floor but at other times you forget he’s on the floor. With increased minutes during his second season he increased his points, rebounds and assists per game. Overall his field goal percentage went up but his three point shooting dropped to 15%. During the playoffs his numbers dipped and he looked nervous in his first playoff appearance. The kid is only 20 years old and has plenty of room to grow. He is a fan favorite already but he has to step up and be a more consistent threat if the Bucks hope to go further this season. Jason Kidd has already said that he will play all five positions because he is so versatile. I don’t know how he will handle playing Center for long periods but if he can knock down three pointers he would be a great small ball center. He will start the season at power forward until Jabari Parker returns to form. Giannis has the talent to average 17, 6 and 6. He’s still learning the game and should improve a lot this season.
2) Bradley Beal – This guy raises his game during the playoffs. In his first playoff appearance his scoring increased from 17 ppg to 19 ppg. Last season his scoring increased from 15 ppg to 23 ppg. We all know he can score and shoot but he has to be more consistent. Beal’s problem is the injuries. In three seasons he’s only managed to play over 65 games just once. He misses time every year due to injury and that affects his rhythm on the court. He can’t be consistent because he’s not always playing. The Wizards have the pieces to make a strong push in the Eastern Conference but they need their backcourt to be healthy. Beal is often criticized for taking a lot of mid-range jumpers which really hurts his overall field goal percentage. From beyond the arc he shoots 40% but overall he’s only at 42%. Beal is a great shooter but he doesn’t take enough three pointers. He ranks 70th in three point attempts last season with 259. I know he only played in 63 games but a guy like Danilo Gallinari played in only 59 games and took 301 three pointers. The Wizards claim they will be changing their style up this season which should allow Beal to launch more three pointers or attack the basket and draw fouls. He settles for jumpers too much and in three seasons has only drawn 150 shooting fouls; James Harden drew 318 shooting fouls last season. More three pointers and less mid-range shots should make Beal a more consistent player and an All-Star this year granted he’s healthy.
3) Andre Drummond – He is a walking double-double. In the past two seasons he has had 105 double-doubles. He had a slow start to last season but eventually averaged 13 ppg and 13 rpg. Those are solid numbers but he can do better. He took more shots last season and his field goal percentage dropped. In his first two seasons he shot 60% but last season he was at 51%. As a guy that struggles from the free throw line he has to shoot a high percentage from the field. His free throw percentage went down to 38% last season. Stan Van Gundy will have shooters around him which should give him more space to operate. There will be plenty of pick & rolls run so he can dive to the front of the basket and get easy buckets. He should easily be an 18 ppg and 15 rpg player. He’s an athletic guy that can run the floor for easy baskets as well. At times last season he had games with single digit shot attempts and single digit scoring. He has to become a motor for this team.
4) Kenneth Faried – Faried is an energy guy with no real offensive game. His shooting numbers dropped last season even though he took fewer shots. He needs to add some type of go-to moves so he can be a threat on the offensive end. Being able to step away from the basket and knock down a jumper would make him a more consistent player. He should be a double-double guy in this league. He’s been a 12 and 8 kind of guy and he should be able to put up 16 ppg and 10 rpg. On the defensive side he should be better. He has the size to guard three positions and really have an impact on defense. Michael Malone should have him in better position to make plays on defense. The West is too deep for Faried to be considered for an All-Star team but he could be an impact player for a young Nuggets team and maybe a trade asset.