NEW ORLEANS PELICANS – BRYCE DEJEAN-JONES
The Pelicans are having a very disappointing season and nothing seems to go their way. Playing on 10-day contracts being signed from the D-League team Idaho Stampede, Bryce Dejean-Jones has played 14 games for the Pelicans and has started 11 of them. He is averaging 5.6 ppg and 3.4 rpg in only about 20 minutes per game. The Pelicans are looking for anyone to give them a spark and they might have found it in Jones.
NEW YORK KNICKS – KRISTAPS PORZINGIS
I cringed for this guy as he walked up to shake Adam Silver’s hand while being booed continuously on draft night as he joined the New York Knicks. Now, every time he touches the ball the crowd cheers like he just hit a game-winner. Kristaps is averaging 14 ppg, 7.2 rpg, and 1.9 blocks per game! The Knicks are having a much better season then last year and a lot of that success can be traced back to Porzingis. This very athletic 7-foot-3 scorer will be a dominant player very soon that the Knicks can be very excited about.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER – CAMERON PAYNE
The Thunder has the best point guard in the league with Russell Westbrook, so Cameron Payne is not getting heavy minutes. His minutes can vary from starter minutes to not even getting in the game, so it must be hard for Payne to find his mid-season rhythm. The Thunder knows this guy can score, so integrating him into their very skilled lineup is going to be an important task for them. Perhaps having him as depth will have more of an impact come playoff time.
ORLANDO MAGIC – AARON GORDON
Orlando has a lot of great promise considering their young talent. Gordon is averaging 8.9 ppg and 6.6 rpg. He has a high motor and the Magic should be excited about his development. Did you see this guy in the Dunk Contest this year…he is insane! He jumped so high that he would have won the bronze metal in the 2012 Olympics for the high jump. In a weak Eastern Conference, there’s no reason to believe Orlando can’t contend for a playoff spot next year.
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – JOEL EMBIID
The 76ers have the best young talent in the league in my opinion. Joel Embiid is the most exciting prospect for the Sixers for a couple reasons. He has grown two inches since being drafted and is now 7-foot-2. He is very athletic, seen doing through the legs dunks with ease, the Sixers are excited to see this guy play next year. He also has a nice jump shot and a very serviceable corner three. He has the tools to be one of the greatest of all time.
PHOENIX SUNS – DEVIN BOOKER
Devin Booker is one of the best young players in the league. With Eric Bledsoe’s season ending injury, 19-year-old Booker was thrown into the starting lineup and is getting good minutes. He is averaging 12.3 ppg a game and he has the ability to go off for 30-plus points any night. The Suns are having many problems this season but Devin Booker is something hopeful for the Suns. Perhaps their turnaround can come very soon.