#9: Cleveland Cavaliers - Darius Garland and Caris LeVert
Darius Garland is the first All-Star I’ve mentioned, but he, like Murray, is a fringe star. He’s a good scorer with a solid outside shot, but his defense won’t be winning him any awards. Caris LeVert is 27 years old, and I suspect his best days were left in Brooklyn. I’m not convinced there’s much potential in The Land, but there’s no denying the talent.
#8: Houston Rockets - Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr
I was a big fan of Jalen Green when he played for the Ignite, but he’s the 11th-worst defender in the League according to FiveThirtyEight. There’s no hiding from numbers like that. He’s a great offensive player, a spark plug if you will, and he’s very confident with the ball in his hands. I’m just not sure the defense will catch up.
Kevin Porter was a great young talent in his second year, but last season, he took a small dip. A small dip is a cause for alarm because it suggests that he’s flatlining and won’t get any better. If he doesn’t get better, then he’s the second-best player on a horrible team. That’s not a good place to be, but with only a year separating the two, they can grow together.
#7: Indiana Pacers - Tyrese Haliburton and Chris Duarte
Chris Duarte is exactly what you want in a shooting guard. He’s a decent defender and he can hit a shot from anywhere on the court. That being said, he’s a 25-year-old entering his second season, so I’m not sure he will improve much.
Tyrese Haliburton, on the other hand, is the third-best player from a loaded draft class. Being behind LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards isn’t too shabby. In half a season with the Pacers, he took more shots, made more shots, and overall showed a lot of growth. If Indiana can develop Bennedict Mathurin and find a center (or keep Myles Turner), they could become really good, really fast.