Young NBA Stars


Dixon Kalhar, Writer

  The last few generations of NBA stars are getting old and close to retirement, such as Lebron James, Dwight Howard, and Chris Paul, to name a few. Most NBA players retire around 34-40, meaning that many of the players drafted in the 2000s will likely retire soon. This means that a whole new generation of players will take over their spots in the league very soon

There is a lot of young talent in the NBA. A great example of young talent is Luka Doncic.  Doncic was the 3rd pick in the 2018 NBA draft.  He has led the Dallas Mavericks to 28 playoff games since he was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks and traded for Trae Young.  Over his NBA career, Doncic was rookie of the year in 2018-2019 season, and a 3 time all star.

Another example of that young talent would be 2 time all-star Trae Young who was the fifth pick in the 2018 NBA draft.  Over his 4 years for the Atlanta Hawks, he has averaged 25.3 points, 9.1 assists, and 3.9 rebounds in 280 regular-season games. He joined Dončić in a unanimous selection to the NBA Rookie First team.  Trae Young has been a top point guard in the league since he was drafted.  Young is often compared to Stephen Curry because of his shooting and scoring ability. 

Jayson Tatum is arguably a top 3 small forward.  Tatum was drafted in 2017 by the Celtics as the 3rd pick. For the first 2 years, he was stuck in a secondary role under Kyrie Irving, until his departure in 2019 after a disappointing season, and chemistry issues. Right after Kyrie, left Tatum showed his talent by leading the Celtics to the playoffs. He is a three-time NBA All-Star, and most recently, Tatum was named the NBA Eastern Conference Finals Most Valuable Player in 2022, when he helped the Celtics reach the NBA Finals, losing to the Golden State Warriors in six games.

Another talented young player is 2019-20 Rookie of the Year, Ja Morant.  Morant was drafted in 2019 as the 2nd pick by the Memphis Grizzlies.  Ja Morant is one of the best point guards in the league having only played 3 seasons he will likely bring some serious competition in the future. Morant was a relatively little known player up until He was accidentally discovered by mid-major program Murray State of the OVC in July 2016, when assistant coach James Kane attended a camp hoping to see a player who was joining his team.  

A well-known young star is Zion Williamson, who was the New Orleans Pelicans’ first pick in the 2019 NBA draft.  He is often referred to as a ‘’freak of nature’’ because of his incredible size and athleticism.  Williamson is 6’6”,  weighs 284 lbs, and has a 6’10” wingspan.  So far in his career, he has averaged 25.6 points a game 6.9 Rebounds, 3.2 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.6 blocked shots.  Zion Williamson was very well known throughout his high school career because of his size and athleticism, and was one of the most hyped prospects in any NBA Draft we’ve seen since probably LeBron James.  While recently he has been on and off injured, New Orleans has been able to begin to build the team around him and his unique skillset.

Many sports analysts can see this era of players being the future of the NBA.  There are many middle aged players that are getting outshined by the younger stars.  Great players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, and Kevin Durant.  These older players still are playing great, but the younger players are more athletic, flexible, and flashy, so they draw more attention to a newer, younger, generation of fans.   

In a league where a single player can change so much about how the game is played, like Stephen Curry bringing a whole new face to the three point game within the last decade,  who knows what these young talented players will bring to the NBA and basketball as a whole.  Seeing how youth players in basketball pickup moves and play styles from mostly current NBA stars.  Young talent in the NBA will shape the next generation of basketball players.