The future of the NBA is in good hands

The future of the NBA is in good hands
November 16
03:00 2017

Whenever the superstars of the NBA age people always question who will be the next star that will carry the lead.  Currently LeBron James, Chris Paul, James Harden and Stephan Curry are some of the big names carrying the league right now.  Five years from now that wont be the case so people will begin to wonder who’s next.

Just in my lifetime people wondered who would carry the league following Magic Johnson and Larry Bird and then came Michael Jordan. 

Following the Jordan era there was Shaq O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan and Vince Carter.  Once Kobe began to age LeBron was clearly the best player in the world and still is to this day.

As LeBron nears the end of his career, the gap between him and the next best player narrows each year.  Players such as Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant all have their followers who have legitimate claims that they are possibly the best overall player in the game.  While they have come close to the King, LeBron remains the best player in the NBA.

LeBron will be 33 in December and let’s not forget that Father Time is undefeated, so the league will have to hitch its wagon to another star sooner than later.  Other than Leonard, Davis and Durant there are a few younger up and comers who in a few years could lay claim as the best in the business.

Players such as Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers, Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks all have star potential. 

Simmons is technically a rookie because he was injured for the entire 2016-17 season after being the Number One overall pick in last year’s draft.  The 6-foot-10-inch forward has the ball handling skills of a guard, can get to the basket at will and has an improving mid-range jump shot.  He is a solid defender that can be unguardable if he continues to improve his shooting range and on-ball defense as well as stay healthy.

Simmons is very athletic for his height, allowing him to beat most post players off the dribble while also being too tall for smaller forwards.  His passing skills are one of his better assets.  At the age of 21 he has yet to reach his peak, so five years from now who knows where his talent will take him.

For Porzingis, he gets the luxury of playing in the most historic arena of them all, Madison Square Garden.  The unfortunate part is that he has to play for the New York Knicks, who have been in a decade-long slump. 

The Latvian born big man has been the lone bright spot for a lackluster Knicks squad.  With Carmelo Anthony being traded away this off-season to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Porzingis is the go-to guy for New York. 

Porzingis is over 7 feet tall with a versatile offensive game.  He reminds me of a younger, slightly more athletic Dirk Nowitzki.  He has range to shoot the three and can also play in the post.  The young man is also not scared to give maximum effort on the defensive end, which will serve him well in the long run.  Many people doubted Porzingis when he was drafted but he has shown himself to be a future star as seen by his 30 points per game average thus far this season.

My vote is for Antetokounmpo to be the guy who carries the mantle as the next greatest player on the planet.  He has all the measurables: He’s 6 feet, 11 inches with a 7 foot, 6 inch wingspan.  He is as athletic as any guard in the league and can guard all five positions on the floor.

Giannis has continued to improve each year he has been in the league.  During the 2016-17, season he showed flashes of becoming a great player on both sides of the floor.  Thus far this year, he is averaging over 30 points per game along with being one of the best defensive players in the game.  It would not be beyond the realm of possibility for him to be the league MVP as well as the Defensive Player of the Year at year’s end.

Overall, the NBA will be in good shape once LeBron decides to call it quits.  With Golden State changing the way the game is played, I expect an influx of athletic bigs who play more like guards, such as Antetokounmpo, to continue to come into the league.  But for right now I think he is becoming one of the best in the business and has not even scratched the surface of his full potential. Once he develops a three-point shot, it may seem unfair for him against any defender.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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