Fantasy NBA Breakout Contenders Season 2016-17 – Top 20 (#20-#17)

Trying to pick which players will step their games up and have a breakout year is never an easy thing to do but can make or break a Fantasy NBA team, and with under 30 days until the NBA season begins it is time to take a look at the players that could improve dramatically this season and add something to your fantasy lineups.

The following players are a combination of young players discovering their feet in the NBA, established players entering the prime of their careers and veterans whose performances could reach unexpected levels this season.

Here are the first four players I believe could be ready to break out in 2016-17.

#20 – Rodney Hood, SG, Utah Jazz

Hood undoubtedly has the talent to be a breakout player, after finishing last season, as the 69th-ranked player in the NBA and has the ability to do even more than what he managed last season, thanks to his strong shooting ability, improving handle and playmaking ability.

RNK PLAYER, TEAM POS FG% FT% 3PM REB AST STL BLK PTS ‘16 RATING
69 Rodney Hood, Utah SG -1.11 1.14 2.18 0.21 0.75 0.93 -0.30 1.35 5.15

The Jazz have some good depth on the wings that leaves some concerned that he might not get the opportunities in the rotation that he did last year.

George Hill has been added in the off-season (however, he might play at the PG position) as has the veteran presence of Joe Johnson and with the expected return of Alec Burks from a fractured fibula, competition for significant minutes within the Jazz rotation might be what stops Hood from breaking out even further than he did last year.

When Alec Burks was in Utah’s rotation for the first 27 games of 2015-16, Hood averaged 12.1 points on 41.9 percent shooting, 2.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.4 triples, 1.0 steals in 29.9 minutes per game.

After Burks fractured his fibula, Hood’s per-game averages jumped slightly to 16.4 points on 43.3 percent shooting, 3.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.4 triples and 0.9 steals in 33.4 minutes.

Nonetheless, given Hood’s ability to play either the 2 or the 3 position, fantasy owners shouldn’t sweat about him losing too much playing time and therefore his averages should rise slightly or, at worst, avearge pretty much the same as last year, making him well worth a late-round pick.

#19 – Otto Porter Jr., SF, Washington Wizards

With Paul Pierce’s departure at the end of the 2014-15 season Otto Porter was able to make the starting SF position his own.

He averaged a career-high 11.6 points on 47.3 percent shooting, 5.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.3 triples in 30.3 minutes per game to finish as the 68th-ranked player

RNK PLAYER, TEAM POS FG% FT% 3PM REB AST STL BLK PTS ’16 RATING
68 Otto Porter Jr, Washington  SF 0.55 -0.02 1.01 0.84 0.04 1.84 0.20 0.74 5.20

So what can we expect this year?

Well, with Randy Whitman fired at the end of the season and Scott Brooks hired as head coach there is every chance that Porter can be the next talented player that Brooks helps reach “the next level”. Brooks has gained a reputation for nurturing and developing talent.

Once again Porter enters the 2016-17 season with a monopoly on the starting SF gig, and barring any dramatic offseason improvement from Kelly Oubre Jr., he has little competition for minutes.

Porter should be drafted with confidence in the later rounds, as another top-75 finish shouldn’t be much of a stretch, and if Brooks can light a fire under him we may just see a significant improvement.

#18 – Justice Winslow, SF, Miami Heat

The Miami Heat have lost Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng and Joe Johnson from their wing depth chart this offseason meaning that Miami’s starting SF gig is Justise Winslow’s to lose.

The Duke graduate impressed as a rookie last year, averaging 6.4 points on 42.2 percent shooting, 5.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.4 triples and 0.3 blocks in 28.6 minutes a night, but he finished well off the fantasy radar as the 197th-ranked player.

RNK PLAYER, TEAM POS FG% FT% 3PM REB AST STL BLK PTS ‘16 RATING
197 Justice Winslow, Miami SF -0.55 -0.51 -0.22 0.90 0.02 0.79 0.01 -0.06 0.37

Winslow played a big role for the Heat, and they were consistently better with him on the floor than not, but he would rarely end up making an impact on the box score.

He shot 41.8 percent from beyond the arc during his lone year with the Blue Devils while averaging 1.3 steals and 0.9 blocks in 29.1 minutes per game, so there is reason to believe improvements can be made upon those categories this year.

However, with James Johnson and Luke Babbitt lurking as competition for minutes, Winslow’s breakout campaign may not happen in 2016-17.

One to keep an eye one for sure!

#17 – Nikola Mirotic, PF, Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls have almost entirely rebuilt their roster in the off-season with new additions Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade and Robin Lopez joining Jimmy Butler with the hope of challenging for a Championship.

While the Bulls have changed three-fifths of their starting lineup in the offseason there is no telling how they will line-up until they take to the court.

The number one concern that Chicago are going to have with a Rondo-Wade-Butler backcourt, is that none of these players are high-quality, knock-down, three point shooters.

For this reason, Chicago believes it will be necessary to start Nikola Mirotic at the PF to provide some much-needed three-point shooting.

Last year, Mirotic lived up to his nickname “Threekola” as he knocked down 2.0 triples per game on 39.0 percent shooting to go with 11.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.7 blocks in 24.9 minutes. Mirotic finished 2015-16 as the 104th-ranked player.

RNK PLAYER, TEAM POS FG% FT% 3PM REB AST STL BLK PTS ‘16 RATING
104 Nikola Mirotic, Chicago PF -1.05 0.51 1.70 0.69 -0.12 0.50 0.64 0.54 3.41

Taj Gibson will be Mirotic’s primary competition for the power forward spot and, ironically enough is the 103rd-ranked player, based on last years’ averages.

Nonetheless, frontcourt touches should be far more plentiful this season as should involvements in the offence now that Gasol is in San Antonio, so even if Mirotic does come off the bench he could still be a good option.

Don’t be surprised to see Mirotic drafted a round or two higher than expected … maybe even in your team!

Make sure you tune into SuperCoach HQ over the coming days as I continue to countdown my top 20 breakout contenders and we discuss the draftability of Clint Capela, Houston Rockets, Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic, Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets and George Hill, Utah Jazz.


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