45. PG Tyrese Maxey, 76ers
It’s hard to believe but with the saga surrounding Harden and a bigger role awaiting Tyrese Maxey as a result of said drama, the Philadelphia 76ers point guard is set out to have a breakout year. He’s shown he can score any way possible and he’s one of the fastest players in the NBA. However, if he’s going to take the next step into stardom he has to become a great playmaker and defender this season.
44. C Brook Lopez, Bucks
Age is the reason why Bucks center Brook Lopez isn’t higher on this list. The former All-Star scoring center has transformed himself into an elite 3-point shooter and defensive player at the center position. It can be argued that Lopez deserved to win Defensive Player of the Year last season over Jackson.
43. PF Draymond Green, Warriors
One can argue that Draymond Green’s sucker punch on Poole last season ruined not only his season but the Warriors as a whole. That being written, Green is still one of the smartest players on the court, as well as one of the best defenders and playmakers. With new faces in that locker room and an offseason to have a fresh start, the big man and the Warriors should do much better this year.
42. PF/C Kristaps Porzingis, Celtics
Kristaps Porzingis is coming off a career year with the Wizards who turned around and traded him to the Celtics as a result. The stretch big man figures to be the fourth-best player on a stacked Boston team. If he can stay healthy, the Celtics will be in good shape.
41. SG Bradley Beal, Suns
The Phoenix Suns have a “Big 3” and Bradley Beal is the third member of it. Beal has been an elite scorer for a long time in the NBA and it will be interesting what type of sacrifices he makes to his game this season as a result of this union. There’s a chance the shooting guard will be lower on the next list.