Watching the Los Angeles Lakers add a 37-year old Carmelo Anthony, 35-year old Dwight Howard, and 32-year old Russell Westbrook during the offseason to a roster that already includes a 36-year old LeBron James feels like the last gasp of an era.
When Carmelo, Dwight, LeBron and Westbrook were at the height of their powers, they were among the best three players in the league. Now they’re several years from their prime and the only way that these moves will look good in the rearview is if they’re able to win an NBA Championship.
These ten got next
Whether LeBron and company wins the NBA title or not, the league is going to move on and there hasn’t been this many young players ready to help carry the mantle once King James and his generation begin to retire. This last season saw so many all-stars take that next step into superstardom, so we looked at ten players age 24 or below that look to be not just perennial NBA All-Stars but will be future Hall of Famers if they continue on their current trajectories.
Luka Dončić At just 22 years of age, Doncic already has a basketball resume the vast majority of NBA players would kill for to have at the end of their careers. A rare combination of size, skill and savvy, Doncic is not only carving himself as the best international player the league has ever seen, but a potential top ten player in NBA history.
Zion Williamson At just 21 years of age, Williamson averaged 27 points and 7 rebounds in his second year with the New Orleans Pelicans. The 6-7 explosive point forward has an efficiency and touch around the rim that only rivals Shaquille O’Neal. If Zion can stay healthy, get used to seeing the high-flying, high-scoring fullback over the next 15 years.
LaMelo Ball At just 19 years old, the youngest Ball brother somehow lived up to the expectations and is already the best Ball sibling. Shooting a surprisingly high percentage from three and making (and completing) risky passes, Melo quickly became the Hornets most-important player when it came to influencing winning. The 2021 Rookie of the Year averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 6.1 assists a game in his first season.
Trae Young The 22-year old Trae Young was been putting up numbers in Atlanta, but that wasn’t being paired with winning. That all change in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, when he looked completely unstoppable while leading the Hawks to the Eastern Conference finals for only the second time in the Franchise‘s history.
Jayson Tatum The multifaceted Tatum took his game to another level during the 2020-21 NBA season where he was the league’s 11th leading scorer at 26.4 points per game before joining Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics where the 23 year old started every game he played and led the team in scoring on several occasions.
Donovan Mitchell We were unsure how the 24 year old Mitchell would match his 2020 NBA playoff performance, but he stepped up. Not only did he average a career high 26.4 points per game during the regular season, but his play in the post season proved that Mitchell was ready to be the Jazz’s foundation and superstar for years to come.
Ja Morant The , the 22-year old dynamic point guard is the Memphis Grizzlies‘ best player for years to come. Morant’s all-around game, confidence, athleticism and performance in the 2021 NBA Playoffs shows that he’s ready to take that next step into NBA superstar.
Devin Booker The 13th overall pick in his draft year, the Phoenix Suns gamble on Booker has paid off; showing a scoring prowess that belies his age. Famously scoring 70 points in a game, Booker spent his first few seasons became the youngest player to score over 60 points in a game. He is also now a .
Michael Porter Jr. MPJ showed much more maturity and a better commitment to defense in his third year with the Denver Nuggets. Add those valuable learnings to the 23 year old’s ability for shot making and you have a player that’s ready to pair up with Nikola Jokic and take the Nuggets to the next level. Last season? He averaged 19 points on 54% from the field.
Deandre Ayton Even though Ayton is the least spectacular player on this list, don’t sleep on the 23 year old, 6-11 center who averaged a double-double (14.4 points and 10.5 rebounds) last season. His ability to finish at the rim for the Phoenix Suns was one of the big reasons they were able to advance to the NBA Finals. His demeanor and solid fundamentals reminds us of a modern Tim Duncan.
Watching these young hotshots is a fantastic way to get your season up and running. You can also bet on these player‘s performances if you’re confident of their potential and inform your decisions with . These are the players who will be the movers and shakers on the 22 season, and you will ignore them at your peril.
When LeBron, the 33-year old Steph Curry and 32-year old Kevin Durant choose to hang up their sneakers, the NBA will be in good hands with the likes of Ja, Zion, Book, Trae, MPJ, Luka, and Melo.