1. OG ANUNOBY (Raptors): I like the calmness and purpose that he’s playing with (four assists against the Bulls). He knows the offence and makes the reads you need to make. Anunoby is such an important piece for Toronto this year as they search for consistency and productivity at the wing spots. He’s come in ready and I see a guy who is dialled in.
2. DEWAN HERNANDEZ (Raptors): A solid pickup for them with the 59th overall pick (2nd Round) in the draft. He throws himself right in there and plays with a motor. I like how he goes and gets it on the glass (11 rebounds vs. Bulls). Hernandez is willing to stick his nose into traffic and compete. Obviously a developmental guy but for his sake, he’s fortunate to be with an organization that values a slow, steady and committed approach to player development.
3. ZACH LAVINE (Bulls): This high flyer looks like he’s ready to take off this season with greater consistency. They have an improved, though young roster. As long as he stays healthy and trusts what his teammates and coaches are doing, he’ll find that level of consistency that he’s yet to find. He has all the tools but needs to play with control and purpose.
4. GERALD GREEN (Rockets): Reports are indicating that he could be sidelined for a few months with a broken foot, which is a blow to the second unit. He’s a bit erratic but he’s productive (9.4 PPG and 35 per cent 3-point shooting) and one of the few reserves that coach Mike D’ Antoni trusts. D’Antoni traditionally limits his bench usage to begin with and it will be interesting to see who exactly gets his minutes. Gree is far from a star but he does know his role and their system well.
5. MITCHELL ROBINSON (Knicks): So many new faces brought in by GM Scott Perry and president Steve Mills that you need a scorecard to keep track. This guy was super fun to watch last year with his shot blocking, paint consistency and rebounding. He’s a bit raw but has major league athleticism and explosiveness in his game. He’s got the potential to be a nice player and it's so important for them to develop him. If he can reach his potential, you’re looking at a guy who can impact the game consistently 10 feet and in. Critical for coach David Fizdale and his staff to tap into his upside and help him grow.