Predicting the NBA's biggest risers and fallers: This year's Victor Oladipo and Carmelo Anthony –

It’s wild to think that one year ago, when the Indiana Pacers traded Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, the consensus was that the Pacers got hosed, even though George was presumed to be only a one-year rental for the Thunder.

Then, suddenly in the perfect situation, Oladipo became an absolute star. He increased his scoring from 15.9 points per game to 23.1. He became an above-average three-point shooter and continued his rise as one of the NBA‘s top perimeter defenders. He was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team. He won the NBA’s award for Most Improved Player. He ascended to superstar level.

Meanwhile, the Thunder later traded for one more player who they believed would complete their puzzle: 10-time All-Star and former NBA scoring champion Carmelo Anthony. And while Oladipo ascended, Anthony descended from superstar to, well, just kind of a guy. He turned in by far the worst season of his career. He averaged 16.2 points per game, nearly five points fewer than his former career low, and he did so inefficiently, shooting the lowest field-goal percentage of his career.

Who will be the Victor Oladipos and Carmelo Anthonys of the 2018-19 NBA season?

There weren’t many who predicted the rise of Oladipo or the fall of Melo before last season. But here’s a stab at the players who could ascend or decline this coming season.

*Note: For NBA rankings of player efficiency rating (PER), I only included players who logged 1,000 minutes or more.

Ascension Candidates

Barnes is halfway through his four-year, $94 million contract with the Mavericks. While Dallas hasn’t been anywhere close to good in those two years — 33 wins one season, 24 wins the next — Barnes has been very good

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