Earlier this offseason, we put together a roundtable post on what rookies we were most looking forward to watching. Today, we bring you our picks for the second-year player we’re most excited about going into this season.
(Thanks to the guys at Hardwood Paroxysm for the inspiration for this post. You guys should definitely go check out their Sophomore Crushes series.)
Jack Maloney (@jmaloney9)
Fab Melo Going into this year, there are a number of second-year guys that should be really fun to watch. You’ve got Anthony Davis down in New Orleans, Harrison Barnes out in Golden State, and Damian Lillard up in Portland just to name a few. But the sophomore I’m most excited about is Washington’s Bradley Beal. He put together a really solid season last year, that only got better when John Wall got back. With a healthy Wall feeding him passes all year, Beal is going to get even better. Plus, not much is better than a beautiful three-point stroke, and Beal’s is one of the league’s best.
Matthew Hochberg (@MatthewHochberg)
I can’t wait to see the progression of Bradley Beal. After getting drafted 3rd overall in the 2012 draft, the 6’ 4” guard had a lot of hype coming into the league and I think he will begin to reach expectations this season. Before his ankle injury toward the end of the year, the 20-year-old’s numbers steadily improved each month.
November: Points – 11.2, Field-goal percentage – .341
December: Points – 13.4, Field-goal percentage – .368
January: Points – 15.1, Field-goal percentage – .447
February: Points, 17.5, Field-goal percentage – .479
The Wizards are expected to end their five-year playoff drought this season and contend for one of the top eight seeds in the Eastern Conference. If they reach their destination, expect Beal to be large part of their success.
Quentin Haynes: (@Haynesenberg)
I’ll go a bit off the board and say Evan Fournier. I’m not sure if he’ll be a great player or not, but he has that swingman body. He looks like a typical NBA wing player, and that intrigues me a bit. Last season, Fournier’s Per 36 numbers were 17.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists. In his small amount of minutes (428 to be exact), Denver was two minutes better defensively with Fournier on the court. The Nuggets did him no favors when they acquired Nate Robinson and Randy Foye this summer, however. But if Fournier could prove to new head coach Brian Shaw that he deserves more than spot minutes, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Nuggets found time for him, even at the expense of Robinson, Foye, and Wilson Chandler – especially if he can develop into a better wing defender.
Tony Ramsey (@A_RamseyLTSB)
Anthony Davis. The Pelicans (still funny) big man has added noticeable and much-needed muscle over the summer and has been playing with an increased level of confidence so far in preseason. If Davis can stay healthy, his length, confidence and offensive versatile has him in position for a 18+ ppg, 10+ rpg season with a shooting percentage close to .500 on a Pelicans team that should surprise some contenders.