NBA / Aug 6, 2010 / 10:50 am

Top 5 NBA Wings Poised for a Breakout Season

Terrence Williams (photo. Nicky Woo)

Pretty much every wing player — i.e., a two-guard or small forward, typically someone who can play both — in the NBA is athletic. It’s one of the job requirements. And if they’re not very athletic, they can at least compensate by shooting your face off. So simply being able to do a YouTube-friendly dunk or knock down a rack’s worth of threes isn’t always enough to make an impact in the League.

The key is expanding your game. Here are five wing players who have added pieces to their original arsenal and are poised for a breakout season in 2010-11:

Bill Walker — In his high school days, nobody was more exciting to watch than Bill Walker. When he was catching alley-oops from O.J. Mayo back then, everybody thought he had at least one NBA Dunk Contest trophy in his future. After knee injuries and a benchwarmer role in Boston cooled off that hype, Walker was traded to New York, where he’s shown flashes of the exceptional talent (11.9 ppg in 27 games) we saw when he was a teenager. After losing a noticeable amount of weight since last season, Walker is lighter, quicker and seemed to have more bounce at the Vegas Summer League.

C.J. Miles — It’s hard to believe he’s still only 23 years old. With five seasons under his belt, C.J.’s confidence is increasing with each and every game, and he played a big role in Utah’s playoff run last year (14.4 ppg). Miles has great size for a two-guard but can also play the three, putting pressure on the defense with his shooting and athleticism going to the rim.

Terrence Williams — We’re still waiting to see where new Nets coach Avery Johnson sticks Williams on the court, but wherever it is, the second-year kid is ready to explode. Williams was one of the few bright spots in New Jersey’s terrible season, and his strong Orlando Summer League performance indicated he’ll be even better this year. If the Nets are better as a team, T-Will should make a name for himself.

DeMar DeRozan — With the Raptors trying to compensate for Chris Bosh’s absence, DeRozan could average 15 or more points a night in his second year. He was one of the most impressive players in the Vegas Summer League, and should contend for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award.

Nicolas Batum — Last year he was competing with Martell Webster, Travis Outlaw and Rudy Fernandez for minutes in Portland. Now Webster is in Minnesota, Outlaw is in New Jersey, and if Fernandez doesn’t get traded soon, he’ll probably have a seat in Nate McMillan’s doghouse for his public pouting and inconsistent play. That leaves Batum with plenty of minutes and a chance to have a breakout season. When he’s healthy, Batum is like a poor man’s Trevor Ariza or a rich man’s Jamario Moon.

Honorable MentionBrandon Rush, Von Wafer, Austin Daye

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  • Alex “Robocop” Murphy

    You forgot Mike Miller aka former ROY 2000 aka 6th man of the Year 2006 aka soon to be 6th man of the year 2011 and possible fantasy sleepy (poised to make it rain ~200 3’s next season).

  • easy yeezy

    6th man of the year? I hope MIA starts him at the 3 spot and let him shoot the lights out of the gym.

    Put LeBron at the point and run a massive lineup:


  • clay

    Adam Morrison?

  • Celts Fan

    I am REALLY high on TWill. He’s like Crash but with more skill. dude’s like a Swiss Army knife on the court. When Brook, Favors, and fill-in-the-blank superstar are contenders in Brooklyn, it’ll be cuz Terrance is out there, doing everything for that squad.

    I also really like Batum. he seems to have the potential to be a better Ariza (just as good defensively but with a solid J.)

  • https://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    Yea Celts Fan I got to double up on what ya said. TWill is nice for them to have. Dude should shine well this season.

    Batum vs. Ariza…yea I will go with Batum who if I am correct the Rockets had at one time and traded dude. Oh well the hindsight Rockets stay consistent at least lol.

  • Darko

    What about Rodrigue Beaubois? is he playing on wing or point? i think he will be beast this year!

  • http://www.wix.com/reyrey33/REYZ-WORLD rey jefferson

    @Darko dont worry we got Roddy Buckets on another list droppig real soon…we didn’t forget


    Unless its cos you dont count him as a wing then Danilo Gallinari should be there. He put up 15ppg last year now with better/smarter team mates plus the extra year under his belt he should be able to put up 18-20 a night and 6 or 7 boards.

    James Harden needs to break out. if he can live up to being a no.3 pick the thunder could be scary good.

    Bill Walker probably wont even play as much this year. Batum and Miles are more slow progress guys, will get better but never “break out”. Derozan should see a big improvement this year but Bargs is gonna be the one who needs to step up most in Toronto. TWill is nice but the Nets have a stack of similar guys so its hard to see him taking a big jump just yet when he’ll be fighting for minutes with Lee, Morrow and Outlaw.

    the honorable mention list is hilarious… how can Von Wafer break out when his ass gonna be glued to the bench all year.

  • Shan

    CJ Miles=Most Improved Player this season.

  • Blazermark

    Nic Batum is a Scottie Pippen play-alike. “poor man’s Trevor Ariza ????” He is way better than Trevor Ariza……

  • vince

    Twill is overrated. Can’t shoot, sucks as a pg and basically is a fantasy manager’s player.

    Here’s the SG/SF who will break out:

    Anthony Morrow
    Dorell Wright
    Linas Kleiza
    Corey Brewer
    Demar Derozan

  • Alex “Robocop” Murphy

    I think you should add Travis Outlaw to that too. He might have the starting SF spot in NJ.

  • Chuck Garabedian

    Nicolas Batum is better than Trevor Ariza right now.

  • BlazersBabyBri

    Nic Batum is WAAAAAAAY better than Trevor Ariza, plus Nic doesn’t play dirty. Nic’s only 21 and is being compared to Scottie Pippen. Nic’s stats from last season were incredible. Especially considering he played half a season after his shoulder injury. And this summer he’s gonna have a big role playing for France at World’s, so we’re expecting BIG things from Nic.
    And if he really works on becoming the lockdown defender Coach wants him to be? Look out.

  • s.bucketz

    you kinda bit this list from espn didnt u???except they didnt split up the players by big men and wings…is this why u guys are lookin for interns??that idea pool is commin up dry and u guys aint gunna hav shit to write about til the end of october..nice

  • savingyouth

    Batum is like a poor man’s Ariza??? hahahaha You meant to say Ariza is like a poor man’s Batum

  • Reality Check

    TWill might be due for a breakout season were he actually getting minutes, but where is he playing this season???

    PG – Harris and Farmar
    SG – CLee and Morrow
    SF – Outlaw and Damion James

    Aside from the fact that Avery has proclaimed that TWill is NOT a SF, which of these guys is going to be the 11th man on this team? All indications clearly point to TWill. Unless someone goes down to injury or is traded, TWill is looking at averaging 10 mins a game at best right now.

    If I were the Nets, I would trade Courtney Lee ASAP as TWill clearly has waaaay more upside.

  • Jesus

    where is DJ Augustin?

  • Joe’s Momma

    Im going to say Corey Brewer

    Crazy athlete, should be completely healed from his ACL and in the second year of knowing the triangle.

    Only knock against him is that Minny got lots of wings, and Minny gonna win 9 games this year.

  • Joe’s Momma

    Funny how everyone knocking on Ariza now, just last year everyone was on his jock

    He is better than Batum. But Houston asked Ariza to score like he is the second option, he needs to be a 3rd or 4th option, then he will really get open looks and get a chance to dominate on d.

    Batum is good, don’t get me wrong. But Ariza won games in the playoffs for the Lakers on their way to the championship, Batum hasn’t won Portland any games, not even summer league

  • Ekstor

    From the sounds of you guys, either Ariza has turned into a bench warmer or Batum is on the verge of superstardom. Looking at their stats, I’ll compare Batum’s year to Ariza’s from two seasons ago (with LAL), since Ariza played a virtually similar role in similar minutes that season:

    10.1ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.2apg, 0.6stls, 0.7blks, 51.9%FG, 40.9%3FG, 23.2mpg
    8.9ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.8apg, 1.7stls, 0.3blks, 46%FG, 31.9%3FG, 24.4mpg

    The numbers are pretty close and if you consider that Ariza’s averages all went up in the playoffs while Batum’s went down in those respective years:

    8.2ppg, 3.2rpg, 0.8apg, 0.3stls, 0.0blks, 45.9%FG, 42.9%3FG, 23.2mpg
    11.3ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.3apg, 1.6stls, 0.4blks, 49.7%FG, 47.6%3FG, 31.2mpg

    I don’t get this swell of sentiment that Batum is WAAAYYYYY better than Ariza. Perhaps a higher upside… but way better now? I don’t think so.

  • Stunnaboy09

    T-Will is good. REALLY good. Nets management don’t know what they have and it really baffles me. Give this guy minutes and he is gonna wow. If the Nets feel likie he has no future TRADE HIM. The Cavs could use him and develop him into their own mini-LeBron. Hell trade T-Will for Jamison and both teams get what they want, Cavs get a young athletic studs at the 3 and 4 (T-Will and Hickson) with minutes and style to fit both. The Nets get a legit 4 who could play it until Favors is ready to step in.

    I love Batum, but Ariza last year was his ceiling. They are both the same player basically, athletic 3’s who play lockdown defense and can hit the open 3. Batum is longer but I think Ariza got it last year when he fit into the Rockets perfectly and proved he could score when needed. Batum has yet to show that yet.

    DeRozan BETTER score this year, he is the Raptors lone bright spot and if he and Bargniani click and drop buckets they may shock some teams

  • jzsmoove

    sonny weemssssssssssssssssss!!

  • bobby stew

    lebron james

  • Bub

    “Batum is like a poor man’s Trevor Ariza or a rich man’s Jamario Moon”

    ^^^ Couldn’t have described it any better.

    @ Chuck Garabedian says:

    “Nicolas Batum is better than Trevor Ariza right now.”

    ^^^ You must not watch enough hoop my man.

  • andres

    lmao at trading TWill for Jamison and lmao at TWill looking at averaging 10 mins a game at best right now.

  • http://www.sactownroyalty.com Willis

    Donté Greene?

  • James Lee

    Anybody on the raptors and anybody on the knicks

  • ukfansareobvious

    andres and vince are as transparent as their HC.

  • LukeCage22

    Demar Derozan is going to drop like 17 a game with 6 rebounds and 3 assists easy, but Bargnani is gonna be leading the Raptors is scoring like 20. I think Sonny Weems is also gonna break out too (pay attention). Batum will be untouchable this coming season. Most Improved Player Candidate.


    SONNY WEEMS!!!!!