5. Caris LeVert, Indiana Pacers
Sent to Indiana in the James Harden deal, LeVert started to emerge as a quality scorer with the Nets, and after a health scare robbed him of some playing time in Indiana, the Michigan alum proved his scoring stroke was not just a product of Brooklyn’s offense. He’s without question a part of the Pacers’ foundation.
4. Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers
Sexton’s production might get minimalized by some haters who think he’s just the product of a bad team, but he has evolved into a truly elite scorer. The next step for Sexton will be improving his efficiency and becoming a bit of a better playmaker that sets his teammates up for success.
3. Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls
LaVine should pair nicely with DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic this year. While he might see a slight dip in his scoring numbers given all of the talents around him, that shouldn’t be taken as a sign of regression. The Bulls have playoff aspirations, which could help unveil LaVine’s true talents to a wider audience.
2. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
Beal is coming off of consecutive seasons in which he topped 30 points per game. No matter how you slice it, that is elite production that has him on a Hall of Fame trajectory. Time will tell if Beal can lead Washington to the postseason this year or if he will start planning an exit.
1. James Harden, Brooklyn Nets
Even if you switched Kyrie Irving into this spot given Harden’s ball dominance, he would still take the top spot. Harden is one of the greatest scorers the game has ever seen and a triple-double machine, and the combination of those two factors could be enough to get the Nets into the postseason.