Is the Future of the NBA in Good Hands?

Many NBA fans who come from past generations, have fond memories of greatness. Players we cling to from our childhood, ’til this day. Arguing the value of a players legacy that played decades ago. Which probably feels like centuries to younger fans. Kids of today (everyone under 21), only know of the Steph Curry’s, the LeBron’s, The Russell Westbrook’s of the world. Fans of yesteryear are clinging to ever fading memories of M.J., Magic, Shaq, Dr. J—and now Kobe.

Who are the recipients of the torch that is now in the hands of the future? LeBron is closing in on 32, so he doesn’t count as the future. I’m talking players under 25, destined for greatness. Players that’ll keep older fans and younger fans in front of their televisions and packed in seats around the country, for the next decade plus.

Here’s who I believe is next in line to be on your kids wall:

 

 

 

Karl Anthony-Towns

kat-dunking

The Center position isn’t dead it’s being reinvented. After the emergence of the stretch 4, everyone thought the days of classic big men were dead. For the last couple of years, every big man had to have the skills and shooting touch of a guard, no more low post play. Well the man they call KAT has stretch 4 ability, and the throwback  90’s style game down low. He will be a defenders nightmare until he hangs’em up 15-20 years from now. Rookie of the year is just the first of many accolades this young man will receive.

Speaking of ROY, the next recipient of the first year player honor will be,

Denzel Valentine

young-denzel

A swiss army knife of a player. I had him ranked on my board much higher than Ben Simmons, and I’m not afraid to say it. This man is the only player on my list not to play a single NBA minute—I’m that high on the kid. Have you seen the Spartan play? No?  Here’s some clips of the future—of Chicago. With Derrick Rose gone, this squad was in need of a floor general. Although Denzel plays Small Forward and shooting guard, don’t sleep on his leadership. The ball stayed in his hands at Michigan State. By year 2 of being a Bull, I believe it to be the case again.

They will be young and talented, but not yet ready to take that leap like the Timberwolves led by third year swingman,

Andrew Wiggins

andrew-vs-jabari

This is one player I’m high on just because of his potential. He is no where near his ceiling and I think he’s starting to realize that. I’m not saying he’s the next Kobe, but he reminds me of the young Kobe in terms of movement. The length, and athleticisim, mixed with the will to get better. Year three will be a big one, not only for Andrew, but the Timberwolves franchise. They have a young core that 90% of the NBA wish they could have—if you were looking to climb the ranks of respectability. Wiggins, KAT, Zach Lavine, and rookie Chris Dunn. The NBA is on notice and Minnesota will be serving up L’s for years to come.  Much like the Bucks better do.

Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio, is a leading candidate for ballsy call of the year award, but most people forget the sure to be winner of the award: Jason Kidd. He converted a 6’11 freakish athlete into a point guard.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

giannis-stretch-armstrong

This man will be a terror on defense alone. His wing span is over 7 feet long. Where can you go? The chart below explains the nightmare to be for apposing guards:

gianns-wing-span

It’s going to be unfair. Like, little brother creating a tall ass player overall 99 on 2k unfair. Where’s the justice?? Last year was disappointing for everyone involved, this year there’s no excuses for Milwaukee. Everyone is healthy and your point guard is a great dane.

New Orleans is still in a horrible position. Yes, there is the phenom in,

Anthony Davis

anthony-davis

but in all honesty, look at that roster! The next best player after the brow is Buddy Heild, and dude hasn’t even played a minute of official NBA basketball. Listen, as a life long fan of the Warriors I can sympathize, it was a rough couple of decades. There was nobody worth calling a once in a generation talent until about 3 years ago, but you see my point. Anthony Davis is what KAT hopes to be—a game changer of the highest magnitude. Shot blocker extraordinaire, runs like a gazelle, can shoot… I should ask, what can’t the man do? Only thing he can’t do is pick his teammates. Real NBA fans probably wish he could. I don’t want it to be a situation when I start the “Free Anthony Davis” movement. Much like my “Free Boogie”  movement I’m currently the president of.

One man that lucked up and got his free, was the man smiling below,

Kyrie Irving

kyrie-trophy

Yeah, LeBron will get the majority of the accolades. Shit, he came through on a promise, for a city. He should. Besides it’s a bigger story than, “Kyrie finally wins a title.”  Trying to lead a squad to victory without a mentor to first show you—how to win.  That’s a tall order for a youngster. Giant expectations. Well after losing a for a few seasons help finally showed up. Not sure if patience payed off here, but Kyrie was thrown into the role of forming a duo  being Robin to LeBrons’ Batman, but it worked out for Irving’s resume. Now sitting at the top of the throne, if Uncle Drew could average double digit assist, or close to it—we’ll be talking about the league’s best point guard. Until then, he’s just in the conversation. With LeBron getting older, and Kyrie gearing up to be the leader of the Cavs squad in a couple of years, the have to deal with up and coming, hungry teams.

One such team is two hours away in Detroit. Led by a throwback talent, with a bright bright future. His name is,

Andre Drummond

andre-drummond

if you don’t know who he is, you probably don’t watch much basketball. And if that’s the case I’m not mad. But if you claim to be a fan of the NBA and not appreciate the game of Andre Drummond, your bias is showing. And you need to tuck that shit back in! Rebounding skill of Dennis Rodman with the power and grace of young Shaq. Hence the throwback reference. If Drummond ever develops a mid range jumper, the Association is in trouble. Already equipped with exceptional talent individually, the big man has a well built team with him. I fully expect the Pistons to make it to the Eastern Conference finals, or at the very least,  game 7 of the conference semis. Why? They have a young talented, and deep roster. Have you seen that squad? People beyond the Motor City should have high expectations for this team, and for this man. Barring injury, Drummond will dominate the East for the next decade. With the right coaching, (I’m talking to you Stan), Andre should be the Tim Duncan of the West. See  where I’m going with this? Predictable segue? Moving on!

Kawhi Leonard

 

kawhi-braids

Yeah you see him. The only man with french braids I respect in 2016. When you’re as good as he, you can do what you want. Including being finals MVP, while playing with 3 hall of famers. Who else can say that? When’s the last time someone who wasn’t a center won defensive player of the year? Well over 10 years ago. And he did it twice in a row! The game seems so effortless to Kawhi. Greg Popivich called him the future of the Spurs, but I call him the future of the league. Leonard goes about the game quietly, methodically, far from flashy—yet highly effective. Sound familiar? Seems to be a San Antonio trademark. Kawhi is surely to go unappreciated for the next 15 years, much like Tim Duncan. But when it’s all said and done, he may have more success than everyone else in this piece.

Peace

 

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10 comments

  1. Good points! I like Kyrie most out of anyone.

    The spirit from the game seems to have vanished in many regards. Do you agree? Prime example is the dunk contest. It is not so much about ability anymore – it is about the performance. I mean: we got players jumping over cars, blowing out candles inside of cupcakes, lol.

    We need to get back to that Vince Carter dunk contest feel!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Man, this list made me realize just how bright the future is for the Timberwolves. Sheesh. Wiggins and Towns? How’d they get so lucky? Great list. I’m gonna have to look more into Denzel Valentine, I’m gonna be honest, I haven’t seen too much of him but you got me interested.

    Liked by 1 person

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