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10 players to watch in 2022 NBA preseason

Home » NBA » NBA preseason players to watch 2022: Potential surprise players in preseason

With the regular season just around the corner, we’ve come up with our list of NBA preseason players to watch in 2022. Needless to say, narrowing it down to just a handful of players was a complicated task for obvious reasons.

NBA preseason players to watch 2022

One should always take a look at the preseason with a grain of salt. You need to look at the bigger picture, not just the numbers or even the record. Some players are signed to an NBA training camp contract and are doing the most to make a roster, while others are slowly ramping up to get ready to start the season.

Whatever the case, the preseason gives us the first glimpse of those young, hungry players who are ready to take the league by storm when things actually count. They prove that they’re up to the task and ready to take a step forward from their previous campaign.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top 10 NBA preseason players to watch in 2022, some of them because they’re poised to break out and some because they want to remind everybody that they were once considered stars for a reason.

Tyrese Maxey

Tyrese Maxey headlines the list of NBA breakout candidates, up to the point that he’s one of the frontrunners to win Most Improved Player this season. He’ll be a starter once and for all, and having James Harden by his side can only do wonders to his already-impressive game.


Even if the new-look Philadelphia 76ers give most of their starters some rest, we still expect Maxey to do most of the heavy lifting. He’ll operate on and off the ball as one of their primary scorers and playmakers, and we wouldn’t be shocked to see him average 20+ with 5+ assists per game.

James Wiseman

James Wiseman was once considered the best prospect in his class, but the lack of playing time in college and a major injury have derailed his promising career. However, he’s still pretty young and has looked quite good in limited action in the preseason.

Wiseman has the physical tools to be a dominant interior defender, and his elegant footwork makes things easy for him on the offensive end of the floor. He needs to show hunger and passion to take over Kevon Looney for the starting job.

Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons isn’t a prospect anymore, but he’s still young and with a lot to prove. He has a big chip on his shoulder after sitting out last season and forcing his way out of the Philadelphia 76ers, and it’ll take a lot to silence his critics after that unprecedented drama.

Simmons struggled with back injuries and mental distress. He’s now finally ready to set foot on the hardwood and prove why he’s one of the best defenders and playmakers the league has ever seen. Will he be up to the task? That remains to be seen.


Jabari Smith

Even though he never said such a thing, you better believe Jabari Smith is mad about not being the first-overall pick. He was arguably the best prospect in his class, and he’ll be a man on a mission from day one. That’s a scary thought, considering how well-rounded his game is.

Smith has the athletic traits and instincts to be a lockdown defender on the perimeter and inside the restricted area. He’s got a smooth shooting stroke and multiple ways to score, and he’ll hog as many shots as he can handle with the Houston Rockets.

Austin Reaves

Even though everybody’s talking about Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and even Patrick Beverley, Austin Reaves could be one of the surprise players in NBA preseason. His teammates and coach Darvin Ham have raved about him multiple times in the offseason, and he could even start for them at some point in the campaign.

Reaves beat Talen Horton-Tucker as the young, promising player on the team and has earned every single minute of playing time. ‘Hilbilly Kobe’ can score like the best of them, and he’s put on a lot of muscle and work on his craft over the past couple of months.

John Wall

John Wall finally caught a break after struggling with major injuries for years. He could barely play after signing that massive contract extension and went through hell to be back on the floor. So, even if he’s not young nor a breakout candidate, he’s still a guy to keep an eye on entering the season.

Wall has looked fantastic in offseason clips, and he looks determined to prove that he’s still one of the prime playmakers in the league when healthy. Whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, he’ll give the Los Angeles Clippers another scoring threat that will not be easy to contain.

Tyler Herro

The Miami Heat decided to put an end to months of speculation and trade rumors. Tyler Herro signed a big contract extension, so he now needs to prove that he was worth that much cash. He’ll likely be a starter after spending most of his career coming off the bench.

For years, the Heat have craved another scoring threat and a guy who can stretch the floor next to Jimmy Butler. It’s clear that they think that Herro might well be that guy. He sure has the talent to be a superstar, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can find the consistency he needs to fulfil that potential.

Devin Vassell

The San Antonio Spurs are expected to be the worst team in the NBA next season, and by a very long margin. Gregg Popovich seemingly has no intention to compete whatsoever as they look to tank and get projected first-overall pick Victor Wembanyama in the upcoming NBA Draft.

But someone still needs to do the scoring, and Devin Vassell figures to be the likeliest choice for a young Spurs squad. Vassell has the traits to become an outstanding two-way player, and Popovich will prioritize his development over winning basketball games next season.

Ziaire Williams

Don’t look now, but Ziaire Williams might well become one of the surprise players in NBA preseason. The Memphis Grizzlies will be forced to play without Jaren Jackson Jr. for the first stretch of the season, and Williams figures to be the best choice to start at the four.

He can put the ball on the floor, is great at help defense, can score and rebound, and he understands his role. The Grizzlies often reward grit and effort with touches, so don’t be shocked if Williams averages close to a double-double in the preseason and during the first months of the campaign.

Jaden Ivey

Everybody must keep an eye on Jaden Ivey from day one. He drew contrasting takes as a prospect, so he’ll need to prove that he’s more than just an athletic freak and a speedster.

His shot selection and decision-making will be a subject of debate until further notice.

But regardless of the mixed reviews, Ivey is still one of the most exciting and intriguing prospects in the league. So, if he can thrive and coexist next to another ball-dominant playmaker such as Cade Cunningham, then lookout for the new-look Detroit Pistons.

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