This article was originally published on Let’s Go Warriors.
The Golden State Warriors have some great, young talent on their team. Stephen Curry, arguably, became one of the best players in the league last season. Klay Thompson has proven that he’s one of the best three-point shooters in the league. Harrison Barnes showed off his incredible explosiveness and athleticism throughout the year, and Draymond Green and Festus Ezeli have shown a lot of valuable skills as well. Curry has already ascended into superstar territory, and Thompson has shown that he’s more of an all-around player than many people assumed. With that said, of the Warriors’ young core, here are two players who will have breakout seasons next season:
1. Harrison Barnes
For much of the season, Barnes became the X-factor for the Warriors, meaning that if he played well, the Warriors would win most of the time. He also showed that he can come up big in the biggest moments. In the postseason, Barnes elevated his game to a whole new level. After averaging 9.2 points and 4.1 rebounds per game in the regular season, Barnes averaged 16.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in 12 postseason games. He also shot a higher percentage from the field, from three-point range, and at the free-throw line.
Barnes has so much potential, and he’s so fun to watch, mostly because of all of his vicious dunks. He has shown flashes of brilliance that leads many Warriors fans to believe that he could one day become one of the best small forwards in the NBA. He also has this veteran-like demeanor that makes fans believe that he’s going to continue to work as hard as he can to get better and help the team. If Barnes continues to stay aggressive on offense, shoot efficiently, and learn to defend more consistently, he will have a huge breakout season for the Warriors next season.
2. Kent Bazemore
Bazemore might not have a “breakout” season in the same way that Barnes might, but he certainly has the potential to become a key contributor to the Warriors next season. Bazemore will have a huge opportunity in the upcoming Las Vegas NBA Summer League to prove to the Warriors that he can become a valuable part of the regular rotation. Bazemore is known for his defensive ability. He can block shots, get steals, and guard point guards, shooting guards, and small forwards. He needs to prove that he can become more of a scorer though.
If the Warriors aren’t able to re-sign Jarrett Jack, Bazemore will have an even bigger opportunity. Along with Scott Machado, he will compete for backup point guard minutes. It’s likely that he could take over the majority of the minutes that Jack used to play though because of his ability to play both the point guard and shooting guard positions. Bazemore needs to work on his shooting, but he doesn’t need to average 15 points per game, especially with Brandon Rush coming back next season. If he can contribute about eight points per game, he will, in his own terms, have a breakout season for the Warriors and become a key contributor off the bench.