Who do you think will be crowned the NBA's Most Improved Player for the 2018-19 season?
Scott Rafferty ( @crabdribbles ): I'm all in on Pascal Siakam being the league's Most Improved Player this season.
I thought Siakam's best bet of being in this discussion after what he saw last season was by becoming a more reliable 3-point shooter, but I was blown away by how comfortable he looked pushing the ball and making plays for others in the preseason. If he can continue to do that in the regular season, he'll bring a new element to a second unit that was already one of the best in the league.
It would also give Siakam the versatility to play alongside Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard at the end of games. We already know he's a versatile defender who is comfortable guarding multiple positions. If he can develop into a clear positive on offence , he could be a huge reason why the Toronto Raptors meet and exceed expectations this season, paving the way for him to win this award.
Benyam Kidane ( @BenyamKidane ): Brandon Ingram is ready to blow up
Playing with LeBron James makes you a better basketball player....you don't have a choice.
Of the Lakers' young talent, Ingram has shown that he might benefit the most from playing alongside James. His development into a slashing threat off the ball is going to generate a ton of easy looks and with the Lakers set to run and run and run, the transition buckets will be there.
Last season Ingram shot a solid 39.4 percent on catch-and-shoot threes and now he has LeBron, Rondo and Lonzo slicing up defences, so those opportunities are only going to increase. He's the second-best player on the team, so they're going to need him to score, it's just going to be a lot easier for him this season.
Also, playing in LA with seemingly 4,582 nationally televised games this season will have him on everyone's radar. He's going to be good and everyone's going to be watching.
Gilbert McGregor ( @GMcGregor21 ): This year, D'Angelo Russell's rise will earn him Most Improved Player.
In theory, last year should have been Russell's time to break out, but the obstacles he faced were too much to overcome. As if dealing with a new situation wasn't difficult enough, the 6-foot-5 point guard's third campaign was marred by a knee injury that resulted in him appearing in just 48 games.
Now healthy, Russell is primed to live up to the promise that made him the No. 2 overall pick in 2015. It's a small sample size, but he has shown flashes in the preseason with an 18-point, eight-assist performance in a win over the Knicks and a clutch 25-point performance to lead Brooklyn past Detroit.
If the preseason is just a sign of what is to come, big things are on the horizon for Russell and the Nets.
Manuel de la Torre ( @manueltorresanz ): He's dealt with two significant knee injuries, but Jabari Parker is still only 23 and we can't forget that he was the second pick in the 2014 draft. His incredible talent remains the same and he's now found a new start back home.
In Chicago, there's no rush or pressure. The Bulls aren't gonna win a lot, but Jabari has landed in an environment where he can shine as he's supposed to. It may take a few weeks to find his footing and make everyone forget about the physical issues (fingers crossed), but his numbers and leadership on a young roster like the Bulls could be huge.
He's under the radar, but you can't forget about Jabari.
James McKern ( @jLmcKern ): Not expecting the team to be world beaters by any means, but Aaron Gordon could be set to take over and lead the Orlando Magic back into a bit of relevance in 2018/19.
Gordon produced a solid statline last season in his first real leap, but this time around he's going to show he's not just a highlight reel player, instead, he'll up his output on both ends of the floor and prove he's a genuine two-way force.
Expect Gordon to be closer, if not over, the 20 points per game average and give those steal and block numbers a boost this season on his way to claiming the MIP.