One player from all 30 NBA teams who could break out and dominate in 2015

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The NBA world thinks Otto Porter Jr. will break out this season.
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Maddie Meyer/Getty

In a sport that features shorter rotations and heavy minutes, it can be tough to have a breakout season in the NBA.

Nonetheless, every once in a while, an NBA coach puts their trust in a youngster and a hole in the rotation opens up just right to give a player a chance to shine.

Sometimes these are rookies who come into the NBA ready to play, sometimes they’re second-year players who are finally getting a crack, and sometimes they’re older players who are simply in a better position than in past seasons.

With the NBA season rapidly approaching, we broke down one player on each team who could have a breakout season in 2015.


Atlanta Hawks: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG

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David Goldman/AP

Age/Experience: 23, third season

One thing to know: The Hawks traded the rights to No. 19 pick Jerian Grant to the Knicks for Tim Hardaway Jr. on draft day. The Hawks have a hole on the wing, and while Hardaway has been an erratic shooter and lackadaisical defender two years into his career, playing in the Hawks’ fluid offense, surrounded by capable defenders, he could put together a nice third season.


Boston Celtics: Marcus Smart, G

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Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty

Age/Experience: 21, second season

One thing to know: Marcus Smart’s not a true point guard, but nobody else on the Celtics really is. Smart has improved his playmaking, and while his shooting needs work, too, his defense is so good, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens will have a hard time keeping him off the floor.


Brooklyn Nets: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, F

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Ronda Churchill/AP

Age/Experience: 20, rookie

One thing to know: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is still young and raw, but on a Nets team bereft of young, athletic wings, Hollis-Jefferson could make a name for himself with his rebounding and defense.


Charlotte Hornets: Jeremy Lamb, G

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Kin Cheung/AP

Age/Experience: 23, fourth season

One thing to know: Lamb’s chances to shine were dulled as a backup in Oklahoma City. Now on Charlotte, with forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out for the season, and the injury-prone Nicolas Batum seemingly in front of him, Lamb might get his chances. He’s a career 34% three-point shooter, and given more opportunities, could boost that number on a team that badly needs shooting.


Chicago Bulls: Doug McDermott, F

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Jonathan Daniel/Getty

Age/Experience: 23, second season

One thing to know: Doug McDermott can get buckets, and he’ll get the opportunity to do so under new Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg, who values shooting, spacing, and ball movement. With the exception of one scoreless preseason game, he’s averaging 14.6 points per game on 44% shooting in the preseason.


Cleveland Cavaliers: Joe Harris, G/F

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Mike Lawrie/Getty

Age/Experience: 24, second season

One thing to know: Joe Harris hardly got off the bench last season, but with Iman Shumpert out several months with a wrist injury and Kyrie Irving recovering from a knee injury, Harris may get a chance to prove himself this season.


Dallas Mavericks: Dwight Powell, PF/C

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Tony Dejak/AP

Age/Experience: 24, second season

One thing to know: Here are the Mavericks big men: Dirk Nowitzki, JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachulia, Sam Dalembert, Charlie Villanueva, and Jeremy Evans. Dirk and maybe Pachulia are the only reliable rotation players there. Powell impressed in Summer League, and with little reliable depth on the Mavs, he could find a spot in the rotation pretty easily.


Denver Nuggets: Emmanuel Mudiay, PG

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David Zalubowski/AP

Age/Experience: 20, rookie

One thing to know: Emmanuel Mudiay, at one point considered a top-four pick, fell to seventh in the draft to the Nuggets, and after an impressive Summer League, they already handed him the reins to the offense. He’ll struggle with shooting and turnovers at times, but his good games are flat-out impressive, like this preseason performance: 22 points, 8-17 shooting, five rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block.


Detroit Pistons: Reggie Jackson, PG

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Aaron Gash/AP

Age/Experience: 25, fifth season

One thing to know: Labeling a point guard who just got an $80 million deal a “breakout” candidate may seem odd, but it works for Jackson. Jackson played backup to Russell Westbrook for three-and-a-half years in Oklahoma City. He got his shot to start in two meaningless months in Detroit and looked impressive.

Coming off a big payday, on a team with playoff ambitions, with his backup Brandon Jennings injured, Jackson has to prove the solid numbers he put up last year weren’t a fluke.


Golden State Warriors: Harrison Barnes, F

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David Zalubowski/AP

Age/Experience: 23, fourth season

One thing to know: Harrison Barnes is also further along in his career to be considered a breakout, but Golden State’s lineup is so solid, there’s little room for anyone else to break through. Barnes turned down $64 million at the start of training camp, and with restricted free agency approaching, needs to show development as a shooter, scorer, rebounder, and defender.


Houston Rockets: Clint Capela, C

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Scott Halleran/Getty

Age/Experience: 21, second season

One thing to know: Clint Capela is looking to capitalize on an impressive showing in the playoffs last year. He has three double-doubles in preseason, showing he can produce when given minutes. With Dwight Howard’s constant ailments, he should get plenty of run this season.


Indiana Pacers: Myles Turner, PF/C

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John Raoux/AP

Age/Experience: 19, rookie

One thing to know: The Pacers are shallow in the front-court, and given their inclinations to go small, should give Turner, a big man with outside range, a chance to carve out a role.


Los Angeles Clippers: Austin Rivers, G

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Stephen Dunn/Getty

Age/Experience: 23, fourth season

One thing to know: Austin Rivers is one of the youngest players on a loaded Clippers squad, and he still has room to grow. With a dearth of other ball-handlers, he may be able to focus a little more on scoring than playmaking.


Los Angeles Lakers: Julius Randle, PF

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Jae C. Hong/AP

Age/Experience: 20, second season

One thing to know: Julius Randle missed almost all of his rookie year after hurting his foot on the first game of the season. Now, he’s healthy, and with several capable playmakers (if they pass – looking at you, Kobe and Lou Williams), he should get some opportunities in the post and pick-and-roll.


Memphis Grizzlies: Jordan Adams, G

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Brandon Dill/AP

Age/Experience: 21, second season

One thing to know: Jordan Adams has been set back by injuries this preseason, but when healthy, he could carve out a role on the Grizzlies, who need youth, athleticism, and shooting from the wing.


Miami Heat: Justise Winslow, G/F

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John Raoux/AP

Age/Experience: 19, rookie

One thing to know: Many people feel the Heat got the steal of the draft when Winslow fell to them at No. 10. On a team with injury-prone wing players and veterans, Winslow’s youth, athleticism, and versatility could earn him a lot of minutes.


Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker, F

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Jonathan Daniel/Getty

Age/Experience: 20, second season

One thing to know: Parker is still making his way back from a torn ACL that stopped his rookie season after 25 games. Once he’s back, however, he should easily slide into a Bucks team that will need his scoring, shooting, and versatility on offense.


Minnesota Timberwolves: Shabazz Muhammad, G/F

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Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports

Age/Experience: 22, third season

One thing to know: Of all of the Wolves youngsters, Muhammad looks most poised to break out. Muhammad was impressive in his second year, raising his scoring average, rebounds, and assists while shooting an impressive 49% from the field and 39% from three-point range, before missing the second half of the year with a hand injury. He’s back this season, and will be relied upon to assist Wiggins on the wing and continue his offensive development.


New Orleans Pelicans: Bryce Dejean-Jones, SG

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Jamie Squire/Getty

Age/Experience: 23, rookie

One thing to know: The Pelicans rotation seems pretty locked, but they could use some help on the wings. Dejean-Jones, undrafted, was one of the best players at Summer League and is averaging 8 points per game on 52% shooting in preseason. If he defends and spreads the floor, he could be a valuable contributor for an oft-injured Pelicans squad.


New York Knicks: Jerian Grant, PG

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William Hauser/USA TODAY Sports

Age/Experience: 23, rookie

One thing to know: While the NBA world is enamored with No. 4 pick Kristaps Porzingis, rookie point guard Jerian Grant may prove more ready to contribute right away. Grant is arguably the best playmaker of all of the rookie point guards and has great athleticism. While his shooting needs work, Grant has impressed in preseason with his passing and court vision.


Oklahoma City Thunder: Mitch McGary, PF

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Joe Robbins/Getty

Age/Experience: 23, second season

One thing to know: Mitch McGary has the potential to be a double-double machine. While he played limited minutes his rookie year, he averaged 15 points and 12 rebounds per 36 minutes. McGary could earn minutes as a hardworking big, particularly with injury concerns for Serge Ibaka and defensive concerns for Enes Kanter.


Orlando Magic: Mario Hezonja, G/F

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Buda Mendes/Getty

Age/Experience: 20, rookie

One thing to know: People will know Mario Hezonja by the end of the season, and hopefully it’s for the right reasons. Hezonja is flashy to a fault – he threw this alley-oop in preseason! – but at his best, he gives the Magic a juice of scoring, athleticism, and shooting from the wing, adding to one of the league’s most intriguing young cores.


Philadelphia 76ers: Nik Stauskas, PG

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Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Age/Experience: 22, second season

One thing to know: The 76ers nabbed Stauskas in one of the biggest heists of the summer. Though he rarely played in Sacramento as a rookie, he was a No. 8 pick one year ago. When he’s healthy (currently rehabbing a leg fracture), he should be given the keys to the 76ers offense, and with nothing to play for this season, should get an opportunity to prove himself.


Phoenix Suns: T.J. Warren, F

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Christian Petersen/Getty

Age/Experience: 22, second season

One thing to know: Another player who didn’t see much action in his rookie season, Warren should easily get playing time this year. The Suns lack depth on the wing, and with a lot of ball-dominant players, Warren should get easy looks on fastbreak points, cuts, and catch-and-shoots. He’s averaging 13 points and five rebounds on 45% shooting in preseason.


Portland Trail Blazers: Noah Vonleh, F

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Portland Trail Blazers/YouTube

Age/Experience: 20, second season

One thing to know: Noah Vonleh, the ninth pick of the 2014 draft, didn’t see much action on the Charlotte Hornets last year. On the rebuilding Blazers, Vonleh’s length, versatility, and outside shooting could become a big part of a strange, but intriguing young team going forward.


Sacramento Kings: Ben McLemore, G

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Ezra Shaw/Getty

Age/Experience: 22, third season

One thing to know: Ben McLemore made strides in his second season, and with a fairly shallow back-court on the Kings, he could see his minutes and productivity spike. He shot 36% from three last year, and the Kings will need that to grow this year.


San Antonio Spurs: Kawhi Leonard, F

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Darren Abate/AP

Age/Experience: 24, fifth season

One thing to know: Yes, Leonard is already one of the best players in the NBA, and he just signed a max. contract this offseason. Still, Leonard has room to grow. The NBA only got half of a season of Peak Kawhi last year as he struggled with injuries, and the Spurs were outed in the first round of the playoffs.

Healthy, with a bigger role on an aging team, this could be the year Leonard cements himself as a household name.


Toronto Raptors: Jonas Valanciunas, C

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Mike Lawrie/Getty

Age/Experience: 23, fourth season

One thing to know: Jonas Valanciunas signed a $64 million extension this offseason as a sign of what he could become. The Raptors are stuck in lower-level playoff contention unless Valanciunas puts it together. He has the ability to be a mobile big man who can score and anchor a defense, and the Raptors are paying him with the expectation that he’ll take the next step.


Utah Jazz: Rudy Gobert, C

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Rick Bowmer/AP

Age/Experience: 23, third season

One thing to know: “The Stifle Tower” exploded in the second half of the season when he became the Jazz’s starting center and helped lead Utah to the best defense after the All-Star break. As a full-time starter on a young, exciting Jazz team, Gobert, with his 9-foot-7 standing reach, is already considered a contender for Defensive Player of the Year.


Washington Wizards: Otto Porter Jr., F

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Maddie Meyer/Getty

Age/Experience: 22, third season

One thing to know: After chaining Porter to the bench for most of his first two seasons, the Wizards unleashed Porter in the playoffs to great success. Porter averaged 10 points and eight rebounds per game on 37% three-point shooting in the postseason, and allowed the Wizards to go small. He should take an even bigger leap this season.


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