The young talent in the NBA is extremely vast, but these are the 10 most promising young nba players that could be legends of future.
The 10 Most Promising Young NBA Players.
If there is one thing that we have learned about the NBA over the last year or so, it is that the youthful, high-level talent across the league is at an all-time high.
So many players either on rookie-scale contracts or freshly on a new contracts have made a name for themselves not only as the leaders of their respective teams, but as superstars across the NBA.
From college to international basketball to new avenues being created via new leagues and opportunities in the G-League, the expansion of basketball globally has become vast and as a result, the talent and new faces entering the NBA continues to grow.
While the stars of the past decade in LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and others still reign supreme, the top of the league is beginning to change with plenty of young talents submitting their name as the new faces of the NBA.
1. Luka Doncic, G, Dallas Mavericks
While this list is littered with current and future All-Stars, Luka Doncic is the only current MVP candidate. Others may eventually reach that level, but he’s here now.
And considering he’s all of 20 years old, he should be nowhere near his full potential.
“The only thing that surprises me [about Doncic’s ascension] is that it’s so quick,” fellow Slovenian and national teammate Goran Dragic told NBA.com’s Sekou Smith. “I was thinking third, fourth, fifth year [in the NBA]. But not in his second year.
He’s already showing he’s one of the best and he’s only 20 years old and he’s putting up the numbers like, it seems crazy to say it, but the next Michael Jordan.”
2. Ben Simmons, G, Philadelphia 76ers
Don’t let Ben Simmons’ lack of a three-ball or his imperfect fit with Joel Embiid distort your view of his worth.
Simmons is a walking triple-double threat who defends all five positions. He’s on a short list of all-caps STARS, and he’s clearly one of the league’s elite young ballers.
Sure, he could be more accurate from the charity stripe (career-high 62.7 percent), and maybe his turnovers could come down a touch (3.6 per game).
But on any given night, he can go for some combination of 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Oh, and he’ll do that while often locking up the other team’s top scorer, too.
3. Jayson Tatum, F, Boston Celtics
Boasting both a deep roster and a head coach who knows how to use it, the Boston Celtics can make just about every five-man combination become bad news for the opposition.
But there’s one thing the Shamrocks can’t figure out: treading water without Jayson Tatum.
Their third-year forward has snatched the title of Boston’s best player, and there are zero reasons to think the 21-year-old will relinquish it.
He’s the only Celtic with an off-court net rating in the red (minus-0.8); the next closest is Gordon Hayward’s plus-5.4.
Tatum is surging through a breakout month. Over his last dozen outings, he’s been good for 26.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per night. He’s shooting 50 percent from the field and 47.3 percent from distance during this stretch.
4. Trae Young, G, Atlanta Hawks
Trae Young evaluations are tricky. They almost force you into a discussion about what really matters in this sport.
If ESPN’s real plus-minus metric can be taken as gospel, then you’re looking at this season’s best offensive player and worst defender. What’s a player like that even worth? Clearly, we think quite a bit.
The name of the game is scoring, and Young is incredible at both converting scoring chances and finding them for his teammates. He’s on course to become only the fifth player to average 29 points and nine assists and just the second to do so in one of his first two NBA seasons.
He’s also a unique sniper with the second-most makes on shots from 28-plus feet and an unbelievable 39.4 percent success rate on threes launched after at least seven dribbles.
5. Donovan Mitchell, G, Utah Jazz
Ever since Donovan Mitchell debuted as an All-Rookie first-teamer in 2017-18, his All-Star arrival seemed a matter of when not if.
Well, the when is now. He’ll soon be off to the Windy City to represent the Utah Jazz in the world’s greatest pickup game.
It’s the result of challenging the notion that player development isn’t linear. Each season, he comes back a bit more productive and a touch more efficient than the prior year.
As a 23-year-old who seems like he’s settled into the role of primary scorer and secondary distributor, he might be closer to his ceiling than others on this list. But when your floor reaches an All-Star level, that’s not a bad thing.
6. Ja Morant, G, Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant looks old. His fashion and ferocity fit the modern league well enough, but watching him requires constant personal reminders that you’re witnessing a 20-year-old rookie in action.
“That guy is young, but he plays like a five-year All-Star,” Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks recently told reporters. “He just controls the game. … He’s a problem.”
Morant’s mastery shines through the Memphis Grizzlies’ ahead-of-schedule success. The Association’s youngest squad would be a playoff participant if the curtains closed today.
That’s not all about Morant, but as the team’s leader and top scorer and distributor, he’s the most obvious catalyst of Memphis’ momentum.
7. Zion Williamson, F, New Orleans Pelicans
Career arcs are tough to trace for youngsters because there’s such a limited sample size. With Zion Williamson, it’s next to impossible considering he’s laced them up all of eight times so far.
He could prove this ranking comically low. Some might even say that’s his highest-probability outcome.
He’s such an absurd athlete for his size (6’6″, 285 lbs), and he puts constant pressure on opponents. Over those eight outings (215 minutes total), he has attempted 81 shots inside three feet and finished 55 (67.9 percent). He regularly collapses defenses despite battling a loose handle and an inconsistent jumper.
8. De’Aaron Fox, G, Sacramento Kings
Even in a league littered with world-class athletes, De’Aaron Fox’s speed stands out from the rest. He has blink-and-you-missed-him burst, and he has only grown more dangerous as he’s figured out how to use it.
Players can’t spend the entire game in top gear without turning into a shot-chucking, turnover-committing mess.
Fox’s ability to downshift has helped emphasize his strengths without putting his weaknesses on blast.
His good is borderline great (19.8 points and 7.1 assists per game, 47.3 percent shooting), and his struggles aren’t too detrimental (3.3 turnovers per contest, 31.3 percent from three).
9. Bam Adebayo, F/C, Miami Heat
There are certain things Bam Adebayo can’t do on a basketball court. He rarely puts huge numbers in the scoring column, he almost never lets one fly from three, and his 6’9″ frame can only provide so much rim protection.
But the positives he brings to the hardwood are almost too numerous to mention. He’s an expert shot-creator for someone his size and at his position.
Since 2017-18, he ranks seventh among centers in total assists. Narrow the focus to this season—his first as a full-time starter—and he trails only two-time All-Star Nikola Jokic.
The Miami Heat run more dribble handoffs than anyone, and they score at the third-most efficient rate on those plays. That all ties back to their unique trigger man.
10. John Collins, F, Atlanta Hawks
John Collins wasted little time making his presence felt at this level, and he’s looked like an NBA natural ever since.
He debuted with 11 double-doubles en route to an All-Rookie second-team finish in 2017-18, and he’s basically been a lock for 20 points and 10 boards per game since.
His explosive athleticism makes him a premium close-range finisher, and he’s getting more mileage from those springs on defense than ever before (1.7 blocks per game). He’s also splashing better than one triple per night at a 35.2 percent clip.
Even before adding elements to his game, he was a magnet for easy buckets with his hops and soft hands.