These five NBA players could have breakout seasons in 2023-24

It would be great if the Bulls saw a major leap from Coby White, Patrick Williams or even Dalen Terry, but here are five players to watch that aren’t wearing Bulls colors.

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Ayo Dosunmu

Detroit’s Cade Cunningham might have slipped out of sight and out of mind last season, but is poised to headline a list of potential breakout players for the 2023-24 NBA season.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

It would be something for the Bulls if Coby White made another huge jump this upcoming season.

The kind of something that could be the difference between play-in-tournament drama and hosting a first-round playoff game.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility.

If White is the starting point guard and gets another 10 minutes per game, what if the scoring takes a jump to the 17-to-19-a-night zip code, the three-point percentage ticks up to the 39% range and the point-guard mentality kicks in a bit more for six assists per game?

Considering the jump White took last season on both ends of the floor, it’s not unrealistic.

But what if there’s something even bigger from White in Year 5? What if White is this season’s Lauri Markkanen? The former Bull was one of the breakout stars of the 2022-23 season, completely changing the direction of the Jazz’s roster construction.

First of all, it would be a hard ask for that to happen because Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan are so ball-dominant. Second, it won’t be easy to find heavy minutes for White with Jevon Carter and Ayo Dosunmu in the point-guard mix.

White, Patrick Williams and even Dalen Terry becoming breakout stars this upcoming season? Bulls fans can only dream.

For some teams, it might not be a dream. Here are five breakout candidates to watch:

Cade Cunningham — Pistons — PG

How can a former No. 1 overall pick be a breakout star? It’s easy to forget Cunningham after he played in only 12 games last season before being shut down with a left shin fracture.

Plus, he’s a Piston.

It has been awhile since basketball was relevant in Motown, but that could be changing soon.

Not only is Cunningham healthy, but while playing for the USA Select Team and scrimmaging against the actual Team USA last week, he was dominant.

At 6-7 and frequently with the ball in his hands, Cunningham could be the Eastern Conference’s Luka Doncic as the Pistons continue adding young talent around him.

Tyus Jones — Wizards — PG

Searching for the next player to make the Jalen Brunson jump? Look to the nation’s capital and new starting point guard Tyus Jones.

Playing backup since 2015 in Minnesota and Memphis, Jones earned the reputation of “best backup point guard in the biz.’’

Now he gets to play the role of leading man, and he has a lot of scoring punch around him in Jordan Poole and Kyle Kuzma.

Shaedon Sharpe — Trail Blazers — SG

Portland got a glimpse of Sharpe’s potential late last season when he started the last 10 games. All he did was average 23.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists and shoot 45.8% from the field and 36% from three-point range.

That will get you All-Star votes.

If the Blazers do move on from Damian Lillard this summer, Sharpe is more than capable of being the pillar to rebuild around.

Tari Eason — Rockets — SF/PF

It’s easy to look at the Rockets and fall in love with the athleticism of Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr., but Eason is the up-and-comer who could turn into the best two-way player.

He showed flashes of being a great wing defender but also is a sneaky-good rim protector.

What about the offense?

He averaged 23 points on 49% shooting from the field in the Summer League.

Chet Holmgren — Thunder — PF/C

Holmgren missed his entire rookie season with a Lisfranc injury in his right foot. Maybe the “redshirt’’ year was a blessing in disguise.

He added 13 pounds of muscle and joins a roster that has a potentially elite backcourt in Josh Giddey and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. That means Holmgren can do what he did best at Gonzaga, which is stretch the floor on offense and protect the rim on defense.

Victor Wembanyama who?

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