Of the four major sports, the NBA remains the most predictable. Only a handful of teams have a legitimate chance to win the NBA title, making it hard to watch regular season games, particularly against bad teams. But with these four rising starts to watch for in the 2022-23 NBA season, you might find some motivation.
Devin Vassell – San Antonio Spurs
Gregg Popovich is far from having the championship-caliber team that the San Antonio Spurs had during their mini-dynasty. But the future is bright with quality young players like Devin Vassell. The 2020 first-round pick out of Florida State was a role player for a Spurs team the past two seasons, averaging 12.3 points in 2021-22.
Thus far in 2022, Vassell is averaging over 20 a game for the lottery-bound Spurs. With his teammate Keldon Johnson, the Spurs have a pair of young players who can score, giving them a chance in any game they play. They might not be a duo like Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard, but they’re setting the foundation for Popovich’s rebuild.
Jalen Green – Houston Rockets
In his rookie season, the 19-year-old Jalen Green was the focal point of an excruciatingly bad Houston Rockets team that only won 20 games. Unfortunately, this year will be much of the same for the Rockets, considering they are at the bottom of the standings in the Western Conference. But on a team that’s blatantly tanking, it gives Green another chance to spread his wings and fly.
The young two-guard is the team’s most proficient scoring option, so you know he’s going to get his touches, especially when you account for his five straight 30+ point performances as a rookie. That scoring barrage matched him with Allen Iverson’s rookie feat in 1997.
Onyeka Okongwu – Atlanta Hawks
Onyeka Okongwu is another 2020 NBA draft project that’s taken time to develop into a quality player. Luckily for Okongwu, he is on a team with championship aspirations, the Atlanta Hawks. Thanks to Danilo Gallinari departing, a spot in the rotation opened for Okongwu, and he’s capitalizing on the opportunity. Okongwu averages over eight points and five boards a game in part-time minutes. With an effort like that, it’s making other players in the Hawks frontcourt, like Clint Capela and John Collins, expendable.
Tyrese Haliburton – Indiana Pacers
In a surprising trade that saw the Indiana Pacers trade Domantas Sabonis to the Sacramento Kings at the trade deadline last season, Tyrese Haliburton escaped Sacramento to come to the Sacramento of the Midwest, the Indiana Pacers. After trading Malcolm Brogdon to the Boston Celtics in the off-season, it was clear that the Pacers brass gave Haliburton the keys to the kingdom.
This brilliant decision by the Pacers is paying dividends, as Haliburton is averaging nearly a double-double with over 20 points and nine assists a game. If things break, the Pacers could sneak into the playoffs on the back of a player like Haliburton, although they’d rather have their ping-pong ball in the lottery.
These four rising stars are to watch for in the 2022-23 NBA season to see if they continue their rise to superstardom. As much as the Pacers front office proved their experts by acquiring Haliburton, Pregame’s crew of NBA expert picks can turn you into a winner. We hope you enjoy our early-season packages to start your season off right!