There’s often a drop-off for players entering their second year in the NBA. The reasons for this can be anything from a new system, a new roster, or an increase in the expectations. We can’t always put a reasoning to it or predict it, but it’s something that commonly happens. A sophomore slump doesn’t happen to everyone. There are numerous players who get better in their second season, and looking at the rookie class of 2016, there are a few names I’m looking at to have a big leap this season.
I’m obviously looking at some of the big names of the sophomore class. Karl-Anthony Towns is a guy who I see having an amazing year and an amazing career. The 2016 Rookie of the Year came in and had an immediate impact with a very young Minnesota team. 18.3 points per game on .542 shooting from the field along with 10.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game is all you can ask and more from your rookie coming in. Towns has it all, and the versatility of his game is a beauty to watch. His name will ring on for years to come and I’m more than certain that he will continue where he left off this upcoming season.
Another sophomore to watch is D’Angelo Russell. He had, in my eyes, a very solid rookie year. He experienced some off the court issues which showed his immaturity but those are things that he can learn from. With a Kobe Bryant-less Lakers team, the load on Russell is tremendously increasing. Head coach Luke Walton is looking for more aggressive play from the point guard this season which I believe will benefit the rest of the team. This kid is talented and I’m expecting him to have a great year in his second season.
Kristaps Porzingis, the guy who New York Knicks fans booed coming in, had a tremendous rookie year. Many did not know what to expect but Porzingis displayed all the tricks in his bag and got Knicks fans excited about basketball again. However, he’s facing a big face-lift amongst his team this upcoming season, meaning a lot of new faces and possibly a new system, but I don’t see that stopping him at all. I envision Kristaps being dynamic offensively just like he was last season. But I’m more looking forward to seeing how dominant he can be defensively with the motivation and mentorship of his new teammate, Joakim Noah.
Last but not least, the sophomore that I see having the biggest leap this upcoming season is Myles Turner. When I saw the center out of Texas take the court in the 2015 summer league where he averaged 18.7 points per game, I was amazed with how dominant he was. Turner sat out early last season, missing 22 games with a thumb injury, but he returned ready to battle. He displayed that he has the defensive presence to alter and swat shots. And at the same time, offensively, he has a back to the basket game but can extend and knock down mid-range jumpers. He’s not scared to put the ball on the floor and he has a barrage of moves that give his defenders a tough time.
Check out Myles Turner’s 2015-2016 season highlights which is a beauty to watch!
Myles Turner’s numbers don’t pop off the page, but if you watch him play, there’s a lot of promise there. The Indiana Pacers have made some moves this offseason that will put them amongst the best in the East this upcoming season. Paul George will be on a tear, looking to take the league by storm, and Myles Turner will be right by his side, helping to lead Indiana to a great year.