Vanessa Selbst

5 players to watch in the 2020-21 NBA season




Check out the Betway Insider’s NBA picks and predictions page for tips throughout the 2020-21 NBA season.
LaMelo Ball | Charlotte Hornets
Few players will enter the 2020-21 NBA season with as much hype surrounding them as LaMelo Ball.
LaMelo is the youngest of the Ball clan yet potentially the most talented, and was selected third overall by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2020 NBA Draft.
The flashy point guard began preseason with a couple of nervy performances but showed glimpses of his ability in dropping 18 points as the Hornets beat the Magic in their penultimate warm-up game.
Alongside Gordon Hayward – who was recently signed from the Boston Celtics – Ball will shoulder much of the responsibility for the Hornets, who have not made the postseason since 2016. 
As his brother, Lonzo, discovered in his rookie season, adjusting to the NBA is not easy, so Ball may not make an instant impact.
But be assured, when he does, it will be an exciting watch – so keep your eyes peeled.
Tyler Herro | Miami Heat
There were several young players who came to the fore in the Orlando playoff bubble at the end of last season, but Tyler Herro more than most.
The Miami Heat guard, drafted 13th overall in 2019, underlined his status as one of the NBA’s most exciting young shooters with a string of fine performances at Walt Disney World.
In Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, Herro dropped a career-high 37 points, becoming the youngest player to surpass 30 in the third round of the postseason.
His performances helped take the Heat to the Finals, where he became the first player born in the 2000s to feature in the NBA showpiece and then the youngest player to start a Finals game, beating out Magic Johnson by eight days.
Over the course of the bubble, Herro also broke the record for most playoff threes made by a rookie with 45.
Although the Heat fell short, they know that they have a star in the making in Herro, who will no doubt continue to break records this season and throughout his career.
Zion Williamson | New Orleans Pelicans
Zion Williamson is a player like no other in the NBA.
The 6ft 6in, 284lb power forward is a generational athlete with the tools to become the best player on the planet. We are, however, yet to see his full potential at the highest level.
His first season in the NBA was disrupted by a torn meniscus, with Williamson eventually turning out in 24 games for the New Orleans Pelicans as they failed to make the postseason.
Zion gave us a glimpse of his abilities during those 24 appearances – he averaged 22.5 points and became the first teenager to drop 20+ points in 10 consecutive NBA games – but the 2020-21 season should give us more of an idea of Williamson’s true ability.
Williamson has been joined in New Orleans by Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe – both proven NBA starters – so he should be part of a stronger team this year.
If the Pelicans gel and Zion stays healthy, we will be in for a show in the coming months.
Devin Booker | Phoenix Suns
Devin Booker almost single-handedly dragged the Phoenix Suns into a surprise playoff berth in 2019-20, and this coming season will no doubt bring more stunning performances from the 24-year-old.
Booker’s ability as a scorer has been clear for a long time now – he became the youngest player to drop 70 in an NBA game in 2017 and the youngest to string together consecutive 50-point outings in 2019.
His game went beyond that in the bubble, though, with Booker becoming a bona fide superstar for the Suns, and this coming season is likely to be his best yet – both individually and as a part of a team.
Phoenix have added the playmaking talents of NBA veteran Chris Paul in the offseason, and that gives Booker the opportunity to continue his evolution into a potential NBA scoring champion alongside one of the best point guards of all time.
The Suns have not made the playoffs since 2010, but with Booker and Paul leading a young, improving group of players, they will be eyeing a postseason push this time round.
Whatever happens, Booker will be dropping buckets, and that’s always fun to watch.
Jamal Murray | Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets were something of a surprise package in the 2019-20 NBA playoffs, and much of that was down to Jamal Murray.
The fourth-year player from Ontario erupted in Orlando, with his game reaching levels that many people, quite frankly, will not have realised he could reach.
Murray scored 40+ points on four occasions in the bubble, including a two career-high 50-point games against the Jazz in the first round.
He took Denver all the way to the Western Conference Finals, where they finally hit their ceiling against eventual champions, the Los Angeles Lakers.
For Murray, though, this was a coming-out party, and the 2020-21 season will hopefully see him continue that form.
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