NBA Execs Polled For Top Breakout Candidates

A new poll of NBA executives has tallied votes for who they feel will be the top breakout players in the league this year. 

The 20 execs were each asked by Michael Scotto of HoopsHype to list their top 3 breakout candidates. The top 3 vote-getters start with a couple of Tyreses:

1. Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers  26%

The Sixers dynamic guard got 26% of the maximum amount of votes. One exec, in fact, made a bold statement about Maxey. 

“Maxey’s going to be better than James Harden," said the executive. "He just keeps getting better and better and will be a huge reason why they have success this season.” 

After the arrival of James Harden to help take some of the focus of opposing defenses off Maxey, the 21-year-old guard averaged 18.7 points and shot a remarkable 48% from 3-point range. He also tallied 3.5 assists per game in that time. Overall on the season, he had marks of 17.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists—all of those numbers about double what they were in his rookie year. 

2. Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers

With 22% of the maximum vote, Haliburton was picked to soar to new heights this year as well. He no longer has to share a backcourt with another alpha in De'Aron Fox. 

The 22-year-old Haliburton has been given the keys to the Pacers' offense, and his numbers after arriving in Feburary in a trade from the Sacramento Kings provided just a glimpse of what he can do: 17.5 points, 9.6 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and a 41.6% mark from beyond the arc. 

“The pathway has been cleared for Haliburton to lead this team into its next iteration,” one executive noted.

3. Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves

It could be argued that Ant-man has already broken out, after averaging 21.3 points last season, and beefing that up to 25.2 in the playoffs. 

But the addition of Rudy Gobert to the T-Wolves' mix should elevate Edwards' game even more, said one respondent. 

“The same reason why Donovan Mitchell had so much success attacking the rim with Gobert setting ball screens and lurking in the dunker spot will help Edwards,” the NBA executive told HoopsHype.

Other notable names on the list who got plenty of votes included Franz Wagner of the Orlando Magic, Jalen Green of the Houston Rockets, and Evan Mobley of the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Also check out our previous looks at the top breakout players from the Eastern Conference, and the top 3 from the West.  

Photo: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports