Updated: Oct 11, 2021
The NBA season is coming up and it's time to start thinking about this year's fantasy basketball. In this post, I'm going to be focused on five players who may be the breakout stars of the 2021-22 season.
Here are five players with potential to breakout and help you succeed in your league. These possibilities for increased role, usage, or talent will help you get ahead and win your league.
Kevin Porter Jr.
Kevin Porter Jr.
The Houston Rockets' point guard in 2021-22, Kevin Porter Jr., is an NBA Draft pick with potential. He's yet to prove himself as a consistent performer for 82 games, but the league never sleeps. He'll get his chance to shine on the court this season.
John Wall, Houston's previous point guard, will not be playing this season. Houston is handing the keys to rookie point guard Kevin Porter Jr. The 21-year-old averaged 16.6 points and 6.3 assists during his 26 games with the Rockets last season. It will be tough for Porter to maintain the same statistics over the course of the entire season, but it is still an exciting opportunity for him to show what he can do.
Despite his controversial past, there are no doubts about Porter's abilities. Some have questioned his attitude, but his ability to move the ball and score are undeniable. He also has moments of defensive instinct.
Houston is not looking good for the future. Scoring will be balanced between Porter and Green, but Christian Wood will only help Porter adjust to being the new point guard. Kevin Porter Jr. is going to be one of the most exciting breakout players in the NBA next year.
Keldon Johnson is a great player and I think he will break out this year. The Kentucky alum was the third or fourth option in the offense last year, but still put up great numbers. I think he will be even better this year because his coach loves his motor and he will play more minutes.
This year, he will be the first or the second option to score the bulk of the points for this team. This is because LaMarcus Aldridge left and DeMar DeRozan signed with Chicago. Keldon did not play much last year. If we see a bump in minutes combined with an increase in usage, he has a chance to break out in his second full season.
Keldon is a steal at pick 29 for the Spurs. He’s only 21 and turning 22 in October, but he’s in a good spot on this team. I predict he’ll be a fantasy breakout this year.
Last season, Murray had a career-high in points (15.7), rebounds (7.1), assists (5.4) and three-point shots made per game (0.9). This is partly because he averaged 32 minutes per game — six minutes more than the previous season.
He tore his ACL in 2018-19 and was sidelined all year. Now, he's back in action and getting more playing time. Murray had an outstanding season last year, but he can be even better this year. The Spurs released their all-star guard DeMar DeRozan to clear salary space for other moves. DeRozan averaged 26.1% of the team's offense and was one of the team's top playmakers.
Murray's shooting percentage is low, but he has still succeeded at rebounding. His new role on the Spurs is similar to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's with the Thunder last season. He may never become a prolific three-point shooter, but he will still contribute to the Spurs.
Murray may never score like an elite guard. He will, however, always be a great rebounder and has the potential to be the best defensive guard in fantasy basketball.
The recent draft of Evan Mobley, extension of Jarrett Allen, signing of Lauri Markkanen, and trade rumors for Collin Sexton have left Darius Garland in the background.
Garland is a player to watch for. There were signs of improvement last season and with hard work, he could break out in the next season. As his point per shot attempt increased to the 50th percentile, he also had a gradual improvement in his assist to usage rate. His three-point shooting percentage went from just under 40% as a rookie to 45% as a sophomore.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are struggling. Their new roster does not look promising. Tristan Thompson is not an ideal center, and Collin Sexton's skills don't seem to work well with the other players on the team. More importantly, if Okoro ends up being acquired as a power forward rather than a small forward, then this team might have a difficult time competing.
Garland can still do well this season. He's good at taking spot-up shots when Mobley has the ball, which will be important with the two-big lineups. He also sees plenty of opportunities as a pick-and-roll ball handler with those same lineups.
Who could you trust as a breakout performer in the new basketball season? Isaiah Stewart. This player has proven efficiency and is expected to increase their minutes for this season, which will pay off for many fantasy players.
When Plumlee was traded to New Orleans, it seemed like Stewart would benefit most. As a rookie last year, he led the NBA in total rebounds and blocks. As a starter, he averaged 12.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks on 56.8% shooting from the field and 78.6% from the free throw line. The Detroit Pistons just added another veteran center to the roster. They signed Kelly Olynyk to a three-year contract yesterday, and he’s going to be competing with Isaiah Stewart for the starting center job.
But even need to compete with Olynyk this season, he should threaten to average 25 minutes per game, a four-minute increase from last season. I am confident that Stewart can find a place somewhere around 11 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 1 steal per game this season. He is such a talented player at such a young age and will get the big minute bump on the Pistons.