5 Sleeper sophomore breakout candidates for the 2023-24 NBA season

PORTLAND, OREGON - JANUARY 30 (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)
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NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 24 (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

NBA sophomore breakout candidate – Christian Braun, Denver Nuggets

After being selected in the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft, Christian Braun saw solid minutes with the Denver Nuggets last season. His production wasn’t off the charts, but he always made his presence felt when he touched the court in some way, shape, or form, helping the Nuggets secure their very first championship last season. Now, in year two, his importance should grow.

With Denver losing Bruce Brown and Jeff Green, two key cogs on the title team, this off-season, Braun may see a bigger opportunity in his sophomore season. He’s undeniably got talent, which he flashed consistently last season when he did play. He’s a 6-foot-7 wing who can serve as an immediate do-it-all guy on both sides of the ball in Denver’s retooled rotation.

Head Coach Mike Malone recently gave some high praise to the 22-year-old, saying that Braun has been “the best player in our gym most days this summer,” per the Denver Post (subscription required). That’s quite a statement from Malone, especially on a team with starts in Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. If it’s true, Braun could be in for a breakout year as a sophomore.