We’re now deep into the first round of the NBA playoffs and there’s no shortage of storylines for a league exploding with talent –but some of that star power is coming from unexpected places. LeBron James may be missing the festivities, and Kevin Durant seems to be on his way out, but there’s a strong group of new players making a name for themselves and taking their game to the next level as the intensity increases.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns, last year’s NBA Finals teams, find themselves dealing with serious injuries to star players, leaving things wide open. For now, we seem to be in a post-superteam NBA. The uncertainty of who is up for a title run adds to the drama, of course, but also gives a platform for unsung stars and up-and-comers to seize the day. Here’s a look at some of the breakout stars that are doing just that.