The face of the NBA right now is LeBron James. The King is the most dominant player in the world, thanks to his ability to control games with his basketball IQ. But even if LeBron hangs it up, the league is in great shape.
There are a ton of young players in the NBA right now who will hold the future of professional basketball in their hands. By ranking the 10 best players in the NBA over the next 5 years, here are the new faces of the league.
LaMelo Ball (24)
LaMelo Ball is a transcendent point guard. He stands 6'6", and is extremely athletic with an above-the-rim style of play. LaMelo is clearly the best Ball brother and his all-around game is improving by the day.
Ball is averaging 15.9 PPG and 6.1 APG this season for the Hornets, and he is already the face of the franchise. By the time 5 years rolls around, LaMelo Ball will be one of the top-10 point guards in the world.
10. Ja Morant (26)
As good as LaMelo Ball will be, Morant will be even more spectacular. Morant is already like a baby Westbrook, dominating other point guards with his athleticism and playmaking. He is even adding an improved jump shot to his arsenal, making him an unstoppable force.
Averaging 19.1 PPG and 7.5 APG this season, Morant is also the face of a franchise. But in 5 years, Morant will be similar to an experienced Russell Westbrook except he has a slightly better feel for the flow of the game.
9. Zach LaVine (31)
Zach LaVine is also the face of an NBA franchise at a young age, and his growth as a player has been spectacular to watch. LaVine went from a fringe All-Star to a bonafide All-Star, and he is developing into a superstar.
LaVine is averaging 27.5 PPG this season, on 42.8% shooting from deep. The athletic phenom can score the ball among the best players in the world, and he will only improve over the next 5 years.
8. Jayson Tatum (28)
The Boston Celtics made the best move in the 2017 draft by going after Jayson Tatum. Tatum is a spectacular scorer, and his work with the late great Kobe Bryant has paid off tremendously this season.
Tatum is averaging 25.3 PPG this season, although he hasn't quite led the Celtics to enough wins this season. Still, Tatum will continue to become one of the NBA's best players, and he might go down as an all-time great scorer when all is said and done.
7. Kawhi Leonard (34)
The Claw will still be a relevant force in 5 years, and he will just miss out on a top-5 ranking among all NBA players. Leonard will still be one of the best 2-way players in the game as he ages because that's what he does best.
Leonard is averaging 25.9 PPG and 6.3 RPG this season for the Los Angeles Clippers, and he has them among the best teams in both conferences right now. Kawhi has all the skills to be a superstar and they will continue down the line.
6. Nikola Jokic (31)
The Serbian superstar will be 31 years old in 5 years, which means he will be in his prime. Jokic is already one of the smartest players in the NBA, and probably in NBA history, so one can imagine how dominant he will be in just a couple of years. As Jokic continues to get in better shape, he will be a serious force for MVP every year.
Jokic is putting up 26.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG, and 8.5 APG for the Nuggets this season and is the MVP favorite. No big man in history can pass like Jokic and he will likely be one of the best players in the league for a long time.
5. Joel Embiid (32)
Joel Embiid is arguably the most dominant center in the NBA right now. He is putting up 29.9 PPG and 11.5 RPG for the best team in the Eastern Conference this season. Embiid has gotten better every season, with last season an anomaly, and he will continue getting better over the next 5 years.
Embiid is a legitimate MVP candidate every season going forward because he has refined his scoring ability and as long as Doc Rivers is his coach, the big man will be one of the five best players in the world.
4. Luka Doncic (27)
Luka Doncic is already a top-10 player in the NBA in his second season, so imagine what will happen when he gets a few more years under his belt. Doncic affects the game in all areas on offense, and he is slowly refining his game as he matures.
In 5 years, Luka will be inching his way to being a top-3 player in the world and challenge for the MVP Award every season. Luka is averaging 28.5 PPG, 8.1 RPG, and 9.0 APG this season so he is clearly on the right track.
3. Anthony Davis (33)
Anthony Davis is the best big man in the game, even if he prefers to play power forward. No big possesses the ability to score and defend like Davis, and there is a reason he captured the NBA title last year. He is truly that good.
David has missed time this season with an unfortunate injury, but he is still averaging 22.5 PPG and 8.4 RPG in limited action. Davis will learn a lot from LeBron James over The King's remaining seasons, and that will make him a top-3 player.
2. Zion Williamson (25)
The New Orleans Pelicans athletic power forward will be challenging the top spot as the best player in the world. Williamson is a special talent, a player who comes along once in a generation. His mix of size and skill means he can impact the game on many levels.
Williamson is averaging 26.4 PPG and 7.1 RPG while making his first All-Star Team, and he will soon be the epitome of a superstar player. If Zion gets a consistent jumper, he might be the face of the NBA, but he will still be behind a two-time MVP who currently plays for the Bucks.
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo (31)
Giannis Antetokounmpo will become the face of the NBA, as an international player with proven dominance in the league. The Greek Freak has won 2 MVP Awards and a Defensive Player of the Year Award with the Bucks already, so imagine how dominant he will be in 5 years.
Giannis is averaging 28.4 PPG, 11.4 RPG, and 6.3 APG this season and he is continuing his spectacular play on both ends. Giannis is arguably the best regular-season player in the world and he needs a consistent jumper to solidify himself as one of the greats. In 5 years, he might get there.
Credit for the idea: Hoop Colony