Five NBA players are poised to explode in 2023, including Knicks’ Quentin Grimes and Thunder’s Jalen Williams

Flipping the calendar from December to January provides a new opportunity for players from across the league arena to make their mark. Here’s a look at five players looking to build on the momentum they’ve had so far this season and put it to work in 2023.

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Quentin Grimes started in just six games as a starter last season and has also started this season in a backup role. But in late November he was moved to the starting spot, and he did everything he could to take advantage of the opportunity. He hit career highs across the board and has three 20-plus-point performances since being included in the top five. He’s a typical winger in today’s NBA, who can slash the ground on offense, and he’s shown real promise as a perimeter defender.

It is not a complete coincidence that Nix He went on an eight-game winning streak shortly after making the move to start Grimes (although they had recently gotten back on the ground a bit). Both New York’s top two teams statistically feature Grimes, and he has the third-best efficiency difference in the team behind Mitchell Robinson and Emmanuel Kwikley, according to Cleaning the Glass. In 2023, his role could continue to swell as he continues to play his role as a player.

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Jalen Williams hasn’t received as much hype and attention as some of the other talented players drafted ahead of him in the 2022 NBA draft, but he’s been quietly having a solid rookie season in Oklahoma City. On the season, he averaged 11.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting over 50 percent from the field. Although he needs to improve on his 3-point percentage (28 percent on the season), he’s shown some real touch around the edge, finishing on 71 percent of his shots. His quick rebounding and athleticism help him there.

His role at the start of the season fluctuated between a regular and reserve player, but he has played steadily over the past two weeks while playing close to 30 minutes per game and has appeared to become increasingly comfortable on the ground. In the The latest edition of our Beginner RankingsJasmine Wimbish had this to say about Williams’ upward trajectory:

He has a great sense of space around him on the ground, and he likely already knew he could pull off that spinning motion and rise into a dunk, which is probably why he was smiling while running back to defend. Williams continues to shine the more opportunities he gets thunderAnd if he continues in this direction, it will only lead to good things for his career and the future of OKC.

There is plenty of young talent in Oklahoma City, but in 2023 Williams should have the opportunity to really set himself apart.

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After one season in Phoenix and three in Memphis, De’Anthony Melton is thriving during his first season with the Sixers. He has started in 24 games due to injuries to James Harden and Therese Maxey, and is posting career highs across the board: 11.8 points, 3.2 assists, 4.7 rebounds and two steals in 30.2 minutes per game. He proves to be the perfect complement to Harden and Joel Embiid as a player capable of providing reliable ground spacing on the one hand and solid perimeter defense on the other. An active defender, Milton is second in the NBA in steals per game and third in deflections.

He played so well at the starting spot for the Philadelphia team that there He must continue to start Even when the team is at full strength. Even if Milton is eventually returned to a backup role, he will still be instrumental in whatever success the Sixers can achieve in the remainder of the current campaign. In the process, he will have the opportunity to continue to establish himself as one of the league’s best two-way players.

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Sengun is one of the most promising young adults in the entire NBA. He averaged 14.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 26.4 minutes per game while shooting 55 percent from the floor in Houston. He has solid movement and good touch around the rim, and has really improved as a passer from his rookie to his sophomore season. As a result, he has caught the eye of some of the league’s best players with his promising play.

“The man is talented” Said Nikola Jokic the best player in the NBA from Sengun. “He can pass the ball and put it on top and he has the touch and he hits really well around the edge. I think they should play with him more.”

Don’t worry, Nicola. As long as Sengun continues to play at the level he has so far this season, there will be more minutes – and recognition – in his future.

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Brandon Ingram’s long injury absence opened up an extra opportunity on the field for Trey Murphy’s third of the season, and he took advantage of it. He’s playing twice as many minutes per game as he did last season, and all of his counting stats have doubled as a result. He shoots 42 percent from outside the arc on the season, making him an excellent fit alongside guys like Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum, as he makes space for them. He also has the size and physique needed to be an effective defender, and he’s making great strides in that regard.

Even if Murphy returns to the bench when Ingram returns, he has clearly established himself as an important piece of the New Orleans rotation, and he may be waiting for 2023 as a result.

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