You know who the NBA's superstars are. And you know the guys on your favorite team, too. But what about the lesser-known players? There's always a handful of guys each season who seemingly come out of nowhere and take the league by storm. They might not make or break your team's season, but they could have a big impact on how your NBA fantasy season goes. Here are five candidates -- one at every position -- who could shock the NBA world this season.
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY SportsRaj Mehta
Reggie Jackson, PG, Detroit Pistons
Jackson's reputation hasn't kept pace with his production. Finally out of Russell Westbroko's shadow in Oklahoma City, Jackson torched the league in 27 games with Detroit last season, averaging 17.6 points, 9.2 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game. Since 1970, only two players have put up those numbers over a full season, according to Basketball-Reference: Chris Paul and Magic Johnson. With one of the league's best young pick-and-roll finshers by his side in Andre Drummond, one of the game's best offensive minds in Stan Van Gundy designing plays, and a new cast of 3-point shooters spreading the floor around him, the stars have aligned for Jackson to have a breakout season.
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Gordon Hayward, SG, Utah Jazz
Some might argue Hayward has already had his breakout season and that people just aren't paying attention. But despite averagining nearly 20 points per game last year, Hayward is still just scratching the surface of his offensive game. He's garnered a reputation as a shooter, but in fact, it's the opposite: He's a fearless slasher with a knack for drawing fouls and making plays with his height and vision. A consistent perimeter jumper has actually been the one thing that's largely eluded him throughout his career. Still, as the first option for a Jazz team that's light on point guards, Hayward will have plenty of opportunity to introduce his special offensive skill set to those who haven't noticed it yet.
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Robert Covington, SF, Philadelphia 76ers
If you're looking for the next unknown wing who could earn himself a massive pay day, along the lines of the Bucks' Khris Middleton, here he is. Although Philadelphia's status as the league's preeminent tanking team kept Covington in the shadows last year, he might be too productive to ignore this year. Every single team wants mobile athletes with impressive length who can get buckets from 3-point land, and that's exactly what Covington brings to the table. If Jahlil Okafor proves to be the kind of post player who can demand double-teams, Covington's ability to stretch the floor and play both forward positions would make him a perfect pairing with the prized big man. It's rough right now in Philly, but Covington is a legitimate asset.
Otto Porter, PF, Washington Wizards
Floor-spacing and small-ball are not fads. It's something coach Randy Wittman bought into during the Wizards' playoff run last season, and it seems like that revelation is carrying over in the way Washington approaches 2015-16. If that's the case, Porter is the Wizards' best option at power forward. Either way, with Paul Pierce gone, Porter is going to get plenty of playing time at the forward positions playing with one of the league's very best distributors in John Wall. That should spell big things for Porter, who is evolving from a hustle player who does all the little things into a balanced offensive force with expanding range. Going back to high school, Porter has been something of a late bloomer. In his third year and with plenty of opportunities on tap, it's time for Porter to blossom.
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Meyers Leonard, C, Portland Trail Blazers
The perception of Leonard hasn't quite shifted from "ironic end of bench cult hero" to "legitimate offensive threat," but it will in due time. With the Blazers in full rebuild mode, Leonard will get the chance to expand on a tantalizing 2014-15 campaign where he averaged 13.9 points and 10.6 rebounds per 36 minutes with unbelievable shooting percentages for a big man. Leonard made 51 percent of his field goals last year, including 42 percent on 3-pointers, and he also knocked down 94 percent of his free throws. The sample size is small, true, but how many 7-footers in league history have combined this kind of size, athleticism and shooting touch? With plenty of touches now available in Rip City, Leonard should rise to become Damian Lillard's comrade-in-arms.