The NBA has seen an encouraging rise of young talent over the past few years. In particular, more and more players who are 25 years old or younger are showing their ability to thrive under the rapid transition game setting.
Below, we explore the top five young players who look set to lead the league in the fast-ball style of play.
1. Lonzo Ball
The rookie year of Lonzo Ball was a flurry of hype, attention and excitement. Being selected second in the draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, playing in the most storied franchise and having a loud father, LaVar Ball, gave Lonzo Ball immense spotlight, expectations and pressure.
He did impress us with his amazing court vision, playmaking and quick passing skills. Now that Lonzo has been traded to the small market New Orleans Pelicans, the pressure and attention are much relieved from him. Much of the spotlight zoomed into his former Lakers teammate and current All-Star, Brandon Ingram during the crunch time. Most of the hype is transferred to a prodigal rookie, Zion Williamson.
With such under the radar freedom, lack of loud-mouthing from LaVar Ball, and a close-knit team, Lonzo looks comfortable and playing his best fastball game.
At six foot six inches, Lonzo is taller and has a longer wingspan than most point guards. He pushes paces, passes impeccably and always looks to set his teammates up for awesome fast plays that often catch opponents off guard. Lonzo dishes some of the most creative assists in transition, from one-tap passes, wrap-around passes, full-court quarterback passes to quick alley-oop lobs to the backboard. His defensive acumen is off the charts when the Pelicans play a blistering pace, often allowing quality interceptions, steals, blocks and restriction of opponent field goal percentages in transition plays.
2. Trae Young
Who would have guessed that a second-year sophomore player would take the league by its horns and become an All-Star starter? Who would think that Trae would be second in the NBA in terms of points per game and assists per game?
Pretty wild outcome but the college scouts would be laughing now because a few scouts were calling Trae Young the next Stephen Curry when Trae played in Oklahoma. Right now, nobody doubts this small, crafty and fast combo guard.
Trae Young operates the best when he handles the ball, pushes the pace and directs the offense at a blistering pace. His vision is superb, his repertoire of crossovers is comparable to Kyrie Irving, his snaking moves through multiple defenders are smart like Stephen Curry and his ability to pick apart defenses is second only to veterans like Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo. Hence, we can conclude that Trae Young is a perennial fast-ball floor general, no less.
3. DeAaron Fox
DeAaron Fox took the NBA by storm in his rookie season. Hailed as the fastest player and a successor to his Kentucky senior, John Wall, in leading fast-ball point guards, DeAaron is carving a niche for himself.
He was almost an All-Star in the 2018 / 2019 season with his explosive playmaking and offense. DeAaron was the single most important reason why the Sacramento Kings were able to be so exciting to watch. Since then, his potential and star quality is without a doubt.
This season, DeAaron Fox is back from injury and on the ascent. He made jumps in his scoring from scoring 11.6 in 2017 to 20.4 points per game in 2020. His playmaking is progressing from 4.4 in 2017 to 6.7 assists per game in 2020. Keeping this trajectory, we can expect to see more excellent games from this super-fast player.
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo
What else needs to be said about the reigning Most Valuable Player of the NBA?
Giannis is a freight train in transition, with his sprint down the full court with seven steps or less, before finishing with thunderous dunks.
Met with double teams or triple teams? No problem! The Greek Freak is now a nifty passer who constantly creates for sharpshooters via his drive-and-kick-out plays. Giannis alone is a one-man playbook due to his athleticism, basketball IQ and newly acquired shooting ability.
5. Zion Williamson
Possibly the most hyped rookie since LeBron James, Zion Williamson has exceeded all our expectations. Despite his initial setback and delay in debut due to injury, Zion had no problem producing right from the get-go.
Under Alvin Gentry's free-flowing offense, Zion found his groove quickly. With Lonzo Ball's brilliant playmaking, Zion flourished even more.
Surrounded by great paced shooters such as All-Star Brandon Ingram and Playoffs veteran JJ Redick, Zion has been blessed with a generous amount of floor spacing to operate.