5 NBA Players Who Exceeded Expectations This Season

The 2023-24 NBA season has been full of surprises, with several players stepping up and delivering performances that have exceeded expectations. From rookies making an immediate impact to veterans showing they still have plenty left in the tank, here are five players who have stood out this season.

5 NBA Players Who Exceeded Expectations This Season

1. Brandon Miller

Rookie Brandon Miller has been a revelation for the Charlotte Hornets this year. The 6’9″ rookie forward out of Alabama has showcased a diverse skill set, creating his own shots and playing strong defense. Miller is shooting an impressive 37.3% from beyond the arc on 7.3 attempts per 36 minutes, and he’s creating more than half of his two-point field goals unassisted.

Miller’s ability to generate offense on stagnant possessions and his defensive versatility have made him a key contributor for the Hornets. He’s outshone fellow rookie Scoot Henderson and looks poised to be a star in this league for years to come.

2. Coby White

After a few up-and-down seasons, Coby White has emerged as a potential Most Improved Player candidate for the Chicago Bulls. The fifth-year guard is averaging a career-high 19 points per game on 57.2% true shooting, a significant jump from the 9.7 points he averaged last season.

White has also improved as a pull-up three-point shooter, making him an even more complete offensive threat. His growth, combined with his team-friendly contract, has made him one of the best bargains in the league. The Bulls may have found their point guard of the future in White.

3. Jalen Williams

Oklahoma City Thunder second-year player Jalen Williams has been a pleasant surprise this season. The 12th overall pick in the 2022 draft, Williams is averaging 19.5 points per game while shooting 43.6% from three and 82.1% from the free-throw line. His scoring average has climbed by 5.3 points despite only playing about one more minute per contest.

The Thunder have trusted Williams defensively, matching him up against the likes of Karl-Anthony Towns, Lauri Markkanen, Zion Williamson, and Jaylen Brown. Williams’ two-way impact has been impressive, and he seems destined to make multiple All-Star appearances in the future.

4. James Harden

When James Harden joined the Los Angeles Clippers, there were concerns about how he would fit in alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. However, Harden has adapted his game, willingly deferring to his star teammates and posting the best three-point percentage (39.5%) of his career.

Harden’s usage rate is down to 20.6%, the lowest it’s been since he was a bench player for the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2010-11. Despite this, he’s still averaging 17.1 points and 8.6 assists per game, proving that he can be an effective contributor even when he’s not the primary option. Harden’s ability to adapt and thrive in a new role has been a pleasant surprise for the Clippers.

5. LeBron James

It may seem odd to include LeBron James on this list, but the 38-year-old superstar continues to defy expectations. In his 20th NBA season, James has somehow managed to improve his game. His true shooting percentage is the highest it’s been since his last season with the Miami Heat, and he’s already played more games this year than he has in any season since 2017-18.

James is finishing more efficiently at the rim, shooting over 40% from three for just the second time in his career, and posting higher assist and steal rates than last season. His ability to continue improving and dominating the game at this stage of his career is truly remarkable.


The 2023-24 NBA season has been full of surprises, with several players exceeding expectations and making significant contributions to their teams. From young stars like Brandon Miller and Jalen Williams to veterans like James Harden and LeBron James, these five players have showcased their talent, adaptability, and drive to succeed.

As the season progresses and the playoffs approach, it will be exciting to see how these players continue to perform and impact their teams. With the NBA rankings odds constantly shifting, the performances of these overachievers could play a significant role in determining which teams come out on top.

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