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BASKETBALL

5 SURPRISING PLAYERS THIS SEASON

KEVIN BOISCLAIR
APRIL 9, 2020  ·  20H59
Even with only around 60 games played troughout the year, the 2019-2020 season was a big one for some players. Just like every other year, there were big surprises and some disapointments. In this list, there are 5 players who didn't performed like we thought they would. It could either be surprisingly good or a disappointment. When a player had a surprisingly good year, it is because we didn't expect much from him, for a disapointment, it is the complete opposite.

- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, guard, Oklahoma City Thunder: Great surprise 19.3 points, 6.1 rebounds , 3.3 assists, 1.1 steal

With a terrible loss against the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs, the Thunder decided it was time to blow it off in the offseason. They traded Russell Westbrook (Houston Rockets) and Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers) for future considerations like young players and first round picks. Shai was a part of the Paul George trade as he was a promising 20 year-old guard. The canadian athlete took off this year as he became a great scorer for the Thunder. Last year, he was putting up 10.8 points a night, which is a 8.5 point improvement. His role was bigger this year and he clearly embraced it. He exceeded all expectations by having a major impact right away for the team. His perimeter defense was great and with his height, he was guarding everybody from the point guard to the small forward, and still getting rebounds. He may not yet be the best playmaker but he still has some time to grow at only 21 years old.

- Kyle Kuzma, forward, Los Angeles Lakers: Disappointment 12.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists

Kyle Kuzma was chosen by the Lakers front office to stay at Los Angeles to complete a great trio with Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Sadly for him, he didn't perform. Of course, playing with two of the best payers in the world means you'll take less shots every night, but playing with LeBron and Davis also means you'll have more space with the ball and more wide open shots, so a better percentage from the field. It wasn't the case for Kuzma this year, as he only shot for ,432% from the field and under the bar of ,300% from the three (,297%). I hope he gets a second chance next year and isn't traded in the summer, remember he was in a lot of rumors at the trade deadline.

- Brandon Ingram, forward, New Orleans Pelicans: Surprise 24.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists

We all knew at some point Ingram would become a star in the league. As Kyle Kuzma stayed in California, Ingram and Lonzo Ball were heading to New Orleans (in the trade for Anthony Davis) with eager to prove to the LA front office they were wrong. The 6 foot 7 forward was unbelievable with the Pelicans. He improved from a 16-18 point scorer for the Lakers to a 24+ point a night scorer this year. He was the first option before Zion Williamson arrived and it was a benefit for him. With a skillset similar to Kevin Durant, Ingram came in the league with a lot of potential and a lot of expectations, he wasn't able to show his game in LA because there was always someone to be the first guy before him, he came with a different mindset this year and it showed. He was nearly an All-Star and I have no doubt he'll be one in the future.

- Mike Conley, guard, Utah Jazz: A major drop 13.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists

Analysts and fans thought the Utah Jazz made a great deal by going for Mike Conley, that it would make them a force in the West. The Jazz were excellent this year, but we just can't say the same for Conley. After putting up 21 points a night the year before in Memphis, the Jazz tought they just added another great scorer to matchup with their young star Donovan Mitchell. At 32 years old, Mike Conley fell off with under 15 points per game for the first sime since the 2013-2014 season. He wasn't efficient from the field with ,405% field goal percentage. A really disappointing season for Conley who will surely try to step it up next year. I do believe he isn't done yet, maybe the transition was harsh on him and some time to take a step back is what he needed. He can translate to the Jazz system and carry the load on offense with Mitchell.

- Bam Adebayo, forward-center, Miami Heat: Excellent surprise 16.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, 5. 1 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.3 blocks

Bam became a great all-around big man in this league at only 22. He made his first All-Star appearance and he didn't steal it from anybody, he was supposed to be there. He was a great scorer, an elite defender and a surprisingly good playmaker with over 5 assists a night. Bam was a turning point in the Heat's season, they weren't predicted to be where they ended (41-24 record, 4th in the Eastern Conference). Honestly, Kendrick Nunn also could have made the list, he just didn't pursue his great beginning of the season. I chose Bam only because he was a much bigger factor troughout the whole of the year.