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DBB on 3: Boredcast 3.0, Part 3: Breakouts

In part 3 we predict potential Breakout candidates.

NBA: Preseason-Detroit Pistons at Toronto Raptors Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Predictions are basically educated guesses and more often than not breakout players come out of nowhere, either a once promising player that had stalled or a player that played far and away better than anyone could have....predicted.

Of the former, Victor Oladipo was a fine example: a player who was a high draft pick, #2 in 2013, that was left for dead or rather traded as dead weight. Who in their right mind would have ever thought the Oladipo/Domantas Sabonis for Paul George trade could’ve ever been seen as a wash or even that Indiana may have won?

Of the latter, you can’t get much better than * ducks * Donovan Mitchell: a player that played so far above where people thought was his level it was borderline ridiculous. (My apologies to Pistons fans and to Luke Kennard, it hurt me writing that as much as it hurt reading it).

So in the spirit of the educated crap shoot predictions are, here we go with breakout candidates!!

1. Who is your Team Breakout for the Eastern Conference? For the Western Conference?

Justin Lambregtse: My breakout team for the East is our very own Detroit Pistons. For the West, it’s the Lakers cuz LeBron.

Ben Gulker: Local fans probably won’t be surprised if the Pistons approach 50 wins, but I think that would be a shock nationally. With health, they could threaten 50, so I’ll go with Detroit. The West could end up with 11 teams over .500 this year, but of that group, only the Lakers would be making a big jump. So I guess LA by default.

Jordan Bellant: In the East, I like the Bulls. I think they’ll be fun and competitive. If they improve even slightly on defense, I think they’re a playoff team. In the West, I like New Orleans to win 50 games. It’s not a major improvement but not many people are talking about them out West.

Ryan Pravato: Bucks. They have better coaching now and Giannis is another season wiser (and stronger). It also seems as if their depth improved. Although, I’m not really feeling Eric Bledsoe in all this, which is a big deal because he’s the point guard. In the West, I’m pro-New Orleans. And if Elfrid Payton continues to show growth, there could be something intriguing and possibly worthwhile brewing there.

Steve Hinson: The Bucks are the obvious choice for the East. While last year’s 44 wins may be a bit underwhelming, keep in mind that they were just 33-49 in 2015-16. Their improvement has been steadily upward and with Giannis continuing to blossom into a star, they should certainly be around 50 wins and in the upper half of the East this year.

The Nuggets are the team that keeps on incrementally improving in the West and should also crack the 50-win, upper half of the conference threshold. A full season of Paul Millsap, Isaiah Thomas coming off the bench with something to prove, and another year of experience for all of their young players should keep Denver marching forward.

Michael Snyder: The Milwaukee Bucks will make a case that the Eastern Conference will be decided by four teams. In non-LeBron news, the Denver Nuggets should make a splash in the west.

David Fernandez: In the East, Detroit is going to be the break-out team. Most outlets have Detroit barely in the playoffs, with a losing record. This team under new leadership, with a (hopefully) full season of Reggie, Blake and Dre, should comfortably be over .500, and back in the playoffs for the second time this past decade.

Out West, I’m keeping my eye on Denver. They barely missed the playoffs last year, and wouldn’t have been in that scenario had they had Paul Millsap for an entire season. I wouldn’t be surprised if Denver was able to jump to a top five teams in the crowded West.

2. Which player from the NBA at large is poised for a breakout in each conference? Which player from the Pistons?

Justin Lambregtse: A breakout player from the West is going to be Dennis Smith Jr. for the East, I will go with John Collins. For the Pistons, Henry Ellenson.

Ben Gulker: From a national perspective, I will say Reggie Bullock has the chance to surprise people if he stays healthy. He’s the kind of player in high demand and could work himself into a pretty payday.

(Haven’t put any time into thinking about the East and West as a whole)

Jordan Bellant: For a breakout in the East, how about Malik Monk really benefitting from playing with Tony Parker? That’s a fun backup backcourt. In the West, Dejounte Murray. Pistons breakout will be Glenn Robinson III. I have high hopes for him becoming a starter.

Ryan Pravato: Kelly Oubre in the East. (But really Taurean Prince). Elfrid Payton in the West.

Somehow I have more confidence in Ellenson breaking out than I do in Johnson breaking out.

Steve Hinson: Otto Porter is poised for one if the Wizards would actually put him in the position to thrive. But with the addition of another volume player in Dwight Howard, he’ll continue to struggle for enough touches. So instead I’ll take Kevin Love, since his numbers will explode as the main guy in Cleveland.

Dejounte Murray has been percolating as the PGOTF in San Antonio for two years now, and he’ll get his chance in the spotlight this season. And he should be positioned to thrive. He’ll fill the playmaking role left vacant by Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Kyle Anderson, with DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge around to take care of the scoring load to keep him from getting in over his head. While he won’t be in the All Star Game conversation, he will turn some heads.

Reggie Bullock will finally get his due, but he already broke out last year. For the Pistons, it’ll be Henry Ellenson. I believe.

Michael Snyder: I’m a believer in D’Angelo Russell. Games of 33, 30, 29 and 26 in his first 12 last year before getting injured. In the Western Conference, it’s a four-way tie between non-LeBron Lakers starters. For the Pistons, Luke Kennard checks every “breakout” box there is.

David Fernandez: Kevin Knox is going to put the league on notice, a lot like Donovan Mitchell did last season. The Knicks won’t be competing for a playoff spot, but he’ll be in that “why the hell did eight teams pass on this guy” category.

For Detroit, it’s Stanley Johnson SZN.

3. What area of the Pistons overall play (i.e defense, 3 point shooting, pace, rebounding) do you predict could be poised for a breakout this coming season?

Justin Lambregtse: I’m going to go with pace. Stan Van Gundy hated playing fast and Dwane Casey appears to want to play fast.

Ben Gulker: I really want it to be pace, but Casey’s offenses in Toronto tended toward the grind-it-out model. So instead, I’ll go with offensive efficiency overall. Casey’s Raptors were consistently in the top 10 of the NBA, and while some of that is a function of talent, the Pistons have enough tools to be a better-than-average offensive team.

Jordan Bellant: The Raptors ranked fourth last year in true shooting percentage...the Pistons were 26th. If we become a better shooting team this year, even keeping a similar pace, we could become a pretty efficient offense. I expect at least a slight improvement.

Ryan Pravato: Everything? OK, I’m going with watch-ability here (I know this really isn’t answering the question). This team seems to have the actual talent and direction (coaching) to consistently make fans want to watch them, because it’s been such a chore watching this team for the longest time.

Steve Hinson: Offensive efficiency, shown with true shooting percentage. Hopefully Dwane Casey will start emphasizing shot selection, something Stan Van Gundy treated with a laissez faire approach. They’ve been so bad for so long on that front that hopefully just any attention would make a big difference.

Michael Snyder: You pretty much stole all my educated answers with your i.e. – so I say the biggest breakout, from a team perspective, will be the fans. For the first time in ten-ish years, there will be a genuine interest in Pistons basketball from the locals.

David Fernandez: Three point shooting. Dwane Casey wants to shoot more threes, wants Detroit to be mindful of the shot spectrum, and they have the personnel to accomplish that goal, specifically Bullock, Kennard, Robinson, and Galloway (if he can find a spot in the rotation).


That’s where we’re predicting things go, what are your thoughts?

Copy/paste and give us your thoughts below.

1. Who is your Team Breakout for the Eastern Conference? For the Western Conference?

2. Which player from the NBA at large is poised for a breakout in each conference? Which player from the Pistons?

3. What area of the Pistons overall play (i.e defense, 3 point shooting, pace, rebounding) do you predict could be poised for a breakout this coming season?