Which players could make a leap in the 2022-2023 NBA season? Christian Wood and Donte DiVincenzo ready to shine

The stars are going to be wherever they go. But outside of the highest elite, context and role are extremely important factors in player performance within the NBA. Andrew Wiggins is a perfect example. It was conceived as something of a disappointment during its first five seasons with The Minnesota Timberwolvesbut his role changed after being traded to the Golden State Warriors.

Success soon came. He was named an All-Star starter and he became a key player at both ends of the field to win the ring last season.

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There are a lot of players like Wiggins in the NBA right now. Many never find that perfect place to shine. But every year, there are a handful of them who are presented with a better situation that can lead to better results.

These are the players who could follow in the footsteps of Wiggins in the 2022-2023 NBA season.

Christian Wood, Dallas Mavericks

Wood isn’t a perfect player, and teams tend to focus more on what he can’t do than what he can.

The Mavericks will be his seventh destination in seven years. He is a somewhat indifferent defender. He has always played on losing teams, something that goes back even to his days in the NCAA. The interior has gone from inconspicuous recently despite averaging 17.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game for the Rockets.

All that is about to change this season. Wood will finally play on a winning team with potential in the Mavericks. And not only that, but he will join Luka Doncic and a context where your game can be greatly benefited.

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One thing you can’t argue with about Wood is that he’s a great outside shooter in the context of his position. He has scored 38% of his career attempts. Those pitches weren’t particularly easy either. Of the 179 players who made at least 100 open 3s last season, the current Mavs inside ranked 128th in the percentage of his attempts released, so most of his shooting came with defensive pressure.

However, it’s worth taking a look at how that same stat performed with Luka Doncic’s teammates last season.

Maxi Kleber, Reggie Bullock y Dorian Finney-Smith they had very good percentages last season playing alongside Doncic. Wood should jump from 128th on that list to the top 10 next season almost certainly.

However, the interior is more than just a shooter. He is a great athlete who can play above the rim with relative ease. Doncic will probably be the best passer he’s ever shared the floor with, so it’s easy to imagine a sequence of pick and roll where it ends in assistance for Wood or completion of the Slovenian.

Player Finishes at the hoop (2021-2022)
Christian Wood 120
Dwight Powell 108
JaVale McGee 100
Max Glue 20

Defensive effort has always been a question mark with Wood. He has excellent tools to make a difference and showed some improvement early in his career before falling off a cliff with the Rockets the last two years.

There are reasons to believe that could also change. Winning definitely helps, as does being at the end of your contract. And Wood will find a great defensive coach in Jason Kidd.

All the ingredients that were missing from the interior are there for him in Dallas. He is ready for a great year.

Donte DiVincenzo, Golden State Warriors


The Warriors will be the third team of DiVincenzo in the last calendar year. The former Villanova showed some potential after being drafted by the Bucks, but after a poor season and a lengthy recovery from a foot injury, he was traded to the Kings.

Like the rest of the players on this list, DiVincenzo has some natural flaws. He can do some things as a secondary playmaker, but he’s not among the elite when it comes to creating his own shot. He has been a somewhat inconsistent shooter throughout his career, but he shot 37.9% of his 3-pointers for the Bucks in 2021 and he hit 36.8% with the Kings this season. He competes hard on defense, but his size limits him.

Those weaknesses will be mitigated on the Warriors. Well, he has a perfect combination to contribute both sides of the field

Californians rely on maximize Stephen Curry, so they need to find a certain type of player that fits alongside him. Talent is not enough, as was proven with players like D’Angelo Russell y Kelly Oubre. The ones that work best in the Warriors system are the ones that best assimilate the plan of continuous movement.

DiVincenzo is that player. He understands the space on the court well, finding small spaces to perform hoop cuts. On the other hand, he is a good shooter on the move so he can contribute in key aspects.

The shooting guard is not known for his brilliance on defense, but he is good at chasing down outsiders. He is usually in the right place at the right time and is an asset when serving as an assist.

The Warriors saw the careers of role players like Gary Payton II and Otto Porter Jr revive last season. DiVincenzo fits that same mold.

Bruce Brown, Denver Nuggets

Bruce Brown Brooklyn Nets

As with the Warriors, the Nuggets benefit from having certain types of players to complement Jokic. They need figures who can do things without the ball, who understand the spaces and contribute in defense. Brown ticks all those boxes.

On the defensive end is where Brown is going to contribute a lot for Colorado. The Nuggets have been desperately searching for strong outsides and he can contribute on that side. Also, he is one of the most interchangeable defenders in the league despite the size of him, mainly due to his incredible competitiveness and physicality.

Meanwhile, in attack, Brown is a born worker. The most valuable skill in the NBA is the ability to create an advantage and although the guard can not do that, he knows how to contribute in the rest of the offensive intangibles.

Brown knows how to punish defenses when they’re in trouble. His involvement in pick-and-rolls as a blocker for Jokic is going to wreak havoc. The former Nets is an interesting finisher at the rim, which he can add from the short roll despite his height.

He is also one of the best cutters in the league. Brown is elite at finding the space in the smallest of cracks. If Jokic is added, the best interior of the league when it comes to seeing cuts, a key partnership can be created for Denver.

De’Anthony Melton, Philadelphia 76ers

De'Anthony Melton #0 of the Memphis Grizzlies

The transfer of the Sixers by Melton It was one of the best moves of the offseason. The former Grizzlies is another prime example of a player who should have been playing more in his previous seasons. He will finally have the opportunity to show his true abilities in a larger market.

Melton is an excellent defender despite being 1.88 meters tall, as he has great length of arms, instinct and toughness. The former from Memphis is perhaps best shot blocking point guard in the leaguelocating in the 97th percentile in the last two campaigns. And he has a special instinct when it comes to stealing balls.

The Sixers’ new addition has always been a leading man in the advanced stats, which explains why. Daryl Morey tried to get hold of him. Melton finds little ways to impact the game in several different areas.

The shooting guard has gone unnoticed in part because he’s not a notable offensive scorer. His modest 10.8 points per night last season was the first time he’d broken into double figures.

Melton also brings a lot of value off the ball as a shooter. Despite having a rough start to his career, shooting just 29.4% in his first two seasons has made great strides in his development. In the last two courses he has averaged 38.8%.

The Californian is the perfect role player to fit in alongside Harden and Embiid. He’s not exactly a Thybulle-style defender, but he’s well above average and offers a lot more attacking. He should have a more solid role during the next season and finally show what he can really do.

The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the NBA or its organizations.



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