Every season there are a select few rising stars that establish themselves as superstars in the NBA. The signs come early and are immediate leaving opposing players and coaches acting like they are the special guest of an episode of Hot Ones sweating and grabbing for the milk because it’s just way too much to handle.
Whether its extreme cases like Derrick Rose in 2011 becoming the youngest MVP in league history. Or Steph Curry in 2013 exploding onto the scene and creating the new era of 3 point basketball that we know today. A player or two always rises up and establishes themselves from young rising star to Superstar status.
This season we have 3 candidates who have exploded onto the scene in competition of taking the role of the next young superstar of the 2023-2024 season.
Top 3 Breakout Superstars #3 – Tyrese Maxey
Who would’ve thought trading away an unhappy moody ball hogging declining star is exactly what the Philadelphia 76ers needed to reach their championship potential. Despite having the reigning league MVP in Center Joel Embiid, the difference maker this season for the 76ers has been the rise of Point Guard Tyrese Maxey. Now out of the shadow of James Harden and freed in Nick Nurse fast paced free flowing offense. Maxey has stormed out of the gates this season averaging career highs in points (28.4), assists (7.0), rebounds (5.3), field goal percentage (49.3%) and free throw percentage (94%). The dynamic duo of Embiid and Maxey has led the 76ers to the second best record in the Eastern Conference. Truly for the first time in the Embiid era are legitimate title contenders.
But the potential Achilles heel will come down too is Maxey a liability on the defensive end? That is where some of the best guards in the conference from Damian Lillard, Jaylen Brown and Jimmy Butler will try to hunt, wear down and get in foul trouble the undersize Maxey. Without a doubt, Maxey elevating himself as a true second star. Being the Robin to Joel’s Batman is what the Sixers needed! But in order for Maxey to get the top spot, he must improve on the other end of the court. Or he may fall victim to being labeled as an elite dynamic scoring guard but defensive liability like Trae Young.
Top 3 Breakout Superstars #2 – Tyrese Haliburton
Now to go from one Tyrese drafted in the 2020 class to another. Haliburton has sprouted his wings in a rare win win trade since he’s arrived in Indiana for Domantas Sabonis back in February of 2022. Since being traded, Haliburton is averaging 20 points and 10 assists while shooting almost 50% from the field and over 40% from 3. Generally you always worry as an organization and fanbase when you give a young guy a quarter of a billion dollars over the next 5 years that he’s going to use the start of the season to get in shape after partying all summer long.
Haliburton has elevated his game averaging a career high in points and currently leading the league in assists with 12.5 per game. And this isn’t your typical good stats on bad team type of guy. He’s currently leading the Pacers to the 3rd best record in the Eastern Conference. Haliburton and the Pacers have extreme similarities to last year’s Sacramento Kings. That team surprised and exceeded everyone’s expectations led by a rising Superstar with a veteran head coach guiding the young team through the rollercoasters of a long season.
Top 3 Breakout Superstars #1 – Anthony Edwards
We’re seeing a young Michael Jordan. He’s Dwayne Wade with a jump shot. He’s got the Mamba Mentality like a young Kobe Bryant. These are some of the comparison and praises Anthony Edwards has gotten this season. Now generally throwing young player comparison to Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant to me is like saying Candy Man 3 times in the mirror. But this is the very rare rare case where when you watch what Edwards has done thus far this season, it’s undeniable to make those type of comparison. From the eye popping athleticism to the veracious tenacity. Anthony Edwards has been on his Michael Jordan Last Dance mentality of taking everything personality. Whether it was his 38 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists overtime win against the Boston Celtics, where he dominated on both ends of the court. Or out dueling Steph Curry in his house two games ago.
Edwards has put the league on notice that he’s here to stay. But we saw the glimpses of this during the World Championship over the summer where he became the best player on the team despite USA not medaling. Though everyone came back empty handed, Edwards joined an inclusive club of Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant in 2010 and Steph Curry in 2012. Gaining the belief and confidence of competing on the world stage with some of the best players in the world has carried over into this season establishing themselves as one of the best players in the sport. Edwards is currently leading the once dysfunctional and head scratching Timberwolves to the second best record in the Western Conference. They really pose a true threat to the Denver Nuggets and he can truly put himself in the MVP conversation.