8. Brook Lopez – MIL
It is kind of weird putting someone as old as Brook Lopez this high in the rankings, but he was just such a difference maker last year with his shooting, his rebounding and his leadership. The Milwaukee Bucks may have come up short in the Eastern Conference Finals, but they should definitely be considered the favorites to take the East this year. Lopez is a key part of that.
Brook is now joined in Milwaukee with his brother, Robin Lopez, and I actually think that is going to do good things for his game this year. Also, playing alongside the NBA MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo certainly never hurt anyone’s chances of finding an open shot. Lopez is not really a traditional center, but he plays his role better than any other big in the league could.
7. Myles Turner – IND
I am expecting a breakout year this year from the former big man at the University of Texas. Myles Turner is entering his 5th season in the league and has quickly earned a reputation as one of the best shot blockers in the league. With Turner, though, there is a whole lot more to his game than just his shot blocking.
Myles has become a threat above the rim as well as a pretty dangerous three-point shooter. That kind of versatility on offense hasn’t been a constant area of focus for the Indiana Pacers, but they know they can rely on him when they need to. Even Turner’s rebound numbers have been getting better, something he has clearly been working on. The sky is the limit for this 23 year old.