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Five NBA players that will break out in 2016-2017

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Last season the NBA saw players like Kemba Walker, Isaiah Thomas, Andre Drummond, and C.J. McCollum break out. It's a new season and every season there are those few players that find themselves and set themselves apart from the rest. Who are some candidates for breaking out in the 2016-2017 NBA season? Here is our list: 

Jabari Parker

Parker just finished his first normal NBA offseason of his young career. After tearing his ACL in December of 2014, he spent the proceeding offseason rehabbing and getting back into basketball shape. This past offseason was the first time he was able to make adjustments to his NBA game without worrying about games.

Parker started last year slow, which is expected from someone coming off major knee surgery. Parker averaged 14.1 points per game last year, but finished the season playing much better than that. Before the All Star Break, Parker shot 48.8% for 11.8 points per game and 4.7 rebounds. After the All Star Break, Parker shot 49.8% for 18.9 points per game and 6.1 rebounds.

Parker’s stats have a good chance at increasing even more since Milwaukee Bucks’ star shooting guard Khris Middleton tore his Achilles and the Bucks will be relying more on Parker for offensive production this season.

Karl-Anthony Towns

It’s hard for a player who just won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award to breakout, but Towns is the type of player who can do that. Towns set himself apart as the best rookie in the NBA by winning the Rookie of the Year, but this season he has the opportunity to put himself in the same breath as Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and other elite players. For the rest of the NBA that is a scary thought given the fact that Towns is only 20 years old.

The Minnesota Timberwolves’ young star averaged a double-double last season. Towns played all 82 games for Minnesota averaging 18.3 points per game, 10.5 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks.

The Timberwolves have a bright future with their young core, but if Towns make the jump people are expecting from him, there is a very good chance they will find themselves in the playoffs at the end of this season.

D’Angelo Russell

The Kobe Bryant era in Los Angeles is over and it’s time for someone else to fill the void of the next Lakers’ face of the franchise. D’Angelo Russell can be that player.

Russell had a decent stat line as a rookie. He shot 41%, 35.1% from three, averaged 13.2 points per game and 3.3 assists. As a point guard, the Lakers are hoping those assist numbers will increase as he gets more comfortable with the speed of the NBA.

He’s shown he can be a very good scorer, however. He scored over 30 points twice this preseason and showed more vision with his passing. Russell’s confidence is already at the levels of NBA elites as he picked himself as the NBA’s best player in a survey with GQ.

Devin Booker

Around the NBA, one name is thrown around more than others as a player most likely to breakout out and that is Phoenix Suns’ shooting guard Devin Booker.

In the NBA’s General Manager Survey, he came in first with 31% of the vote as the most likely to break out this season. Booker was one of the best shooters in college and came into last year's draft as the youngest player in the pool.

At only 19 years old, he has a chance at being the Suns’ best player on their roster. He plays good defense and his shooting has transferred over to the NBA. He only averaged 13.8 points per game last year, but given how well he shoots and how the Suns will be giving him the ball more, he could average over 20 points per game this season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

The “Greek Freak” is one of the most interesting players in the NBA today. At just over 6’ 11’ one would expect Giannis Antetokounmpo to play power forward or maybe center, but he plays neither. Instead, the Bucks play Antetokounmpo as point guard and their main ball handler.

The raw talent on Antetokounmpo is incredible. He is tall enough to pass over guards heads, but big enough to guard centers down in the paint. Antetokounmpo can play any position and has a chance to revolutionize the point guard position.

After the All Star Break last season, he averaged 18.8 points per game, 8.6 rebounds, and 7.2 assists. Antetokounmpo was given point guard duties with only about two months left of the season and accumulated five triple-doubles in that time. If he can play like he did at the end of last season, expect Antetokounmpo to be in this year’s All Star Game.

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