With improvements are Wizards a playoff team?
Predicting who will be a breakout player each year is a practice that is directly related to a change in role or an increased opportunity.
Here's a look at the top five breakout candidates from the South East Division.
1.) Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
Injuries cut Beal’s rookie campaign short but when he was on the floor he displayed a lethal shooting ability. Over his final 30 games Beal shot a blistering 48.4 percent from three-point range.
The return of John Wall from injury made things significantly easier on the Wizards 6-foot-5 shooting guard.
Wall’s ability to push the ball up the floor led to a number of open looks for Wall. If both Wall and Beal are healthy one would expect for Beal to improve upon the 13.9 points he averaged as a rookie.
2.) Tobias Harris, Orlando Magic
Orlando acquired Harris at the trade deadline and is all the better for it.
In the 27 games after coming over from Milwaukee Harris blossomed scoring 17.3 points and grabbing 8.5 rebounds in 36 minutes a game.
At 6-foot-9 and 226 pounds Harris has a build similar to that of Carmelo Anthony.
Harris can use his strength to overpower smaller defenders while playing small forward and can blow past defenders with his speed when playing power forward.
Harris will be entering his fourth season but at just 21-years old he still has plenty of room for growth.
3.) Kemba Walker, Charlotte Bobcats
If you’re asking the question how can a player who averaged 17.7 points, 4.7 assists and 3.5 rebounds a game be a breakout candidate? The answer is simple.
Walker put up those numbers despite playing with a frontcourt of Josh McRoberts and Bismack Biyombo that averaged a league worst 43 points per game.
By adding free agent Al Jefferson and drafting Cody Zeller the Bobcats will surely improve in that area.
The trickle down effect will result in there being more space on the floor for Walker to operate.
4.) Maurice Harkless, Orlando Magic
Like most of the players on this list, Harkless is entering his sophomore season and showed significant signs of growth after the All-Star break.
The former St. John’s product averaged 13.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals during the second half of the season.
The 6-foot-8 swingman managed this production while guarding the opposing teams best wing player.
Given Orlando’s youth movement Harkless will once again get enough minutes to make strikes in his second season.
5.) John Jenkins, Atlanta Hawks
Jenkins was drafted out of Vanderbilt with the reputation of being a knock down three-point shooter.
The problem during his rookie season was that he didn’t get enough playing time to get into any type of rhythm.
The 6’4” shooting guard ended his first season with averages of 6.1 points, 0.9 assists and 1.5 rebounds while playing just 14.8 minutes.
Atlanta has reconstructed its entire roster this offseason and with Lou Williams still recovering from a torn ACL injury Jenkins should see a significant larger amount of playing time this season.
Although it was a very small sample size (five games) Jenkins averaged 15.2 while playing 28 minutes per game in the month of April.