We are entering a new era in the NBA. An era where young players in their first few seasons can dominate each game and carry their teams to the playoffs.
Players like Lebron James, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, and others are clearly capable of leading their teams to success while dropping crazy stats each game, but remember that these players have been in the league for many years. For example, James Harden started off his career as simply a role player scoring between 10 and 15 points a game. However, nowadays we have rookies scoring over 20 points per game.
Here are my top five young stars in the NBA this year.
No. 1 | Luka Doncic | Dallas Mavericks
Last year’s rookie of the year has stepped up his game even more. He’s averaging 28.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 8.7 assists (third-best in league). Doncic just plays with such confidence on the court, which is unbelievable considering he is only 20 years old. Doncic has become one of the biggest faces of the NBA and has taken control of the Dallas Mavericks in only his second year. Doncic can do something special every time he steps on the court needs to be considered as one of the best young players in this league.
No. 2 | Trae Young | Atlanta Hawks
Even back in college, Trae Young showed that he can take over games with his exceptional shooting and crafty finishing at the rim. But for him to continue this into the NBA was unexpected. Young is fourth in points per game with 29.7, and second in assists per game with 9.1, and it’s only his second year. Young has earned the accomplishment of being named an All-Star starter this season and rightfully so. His performance on Sunday showed just how hard it is for opposing teams to contain him as he snapped for 48 points and 13 assists.
No. 3 | Donovan Mitchell |Utah Jazz
Mitchell does not have the same eye-popping stats as Doncic or Young–except the fact that he has been over 20 points per game in all three seasons in the league–but he has the whole package to be one of the best players in the NBA.
Donovan Mitchell is as for real as it gets. He’s a dynamic scorer. He’s a quality defender. He’s a developing playmaker. He has leadership characteristics. He’s 21. Utah has a truly special player in Donovan Mitchell.
Mitchell is always calm and composed on the court and can hit the big shots under extreme pressure. He’s had an up and down year but still in my mind is one of the best young talents the NBA has to offer.
No. 4 | Jayson Tatum | Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum took another huge step this season and has established himself as one of the most talented scorers in the NBA. His ability to blow by defenders and finish with a rim-rocking dunk, or hit a Kobe-like fadeaway, or simply shoot over you with his 6 foot 9 frame is outstanding. However, his defense has improved greatly, getting blocks and steals in the biggest moments in games. Tatum has been named to his first All-Star game at age 21, and there is nothing to suggest there won’t be plenty more coming in his career.
No. 5 | Brandon Ingram | New Orleans Pelicans
Brandon Ingram was treated as just another role player by the Lakers who traded him and a bunch of other players to the Pelicans for Anthony Davis. But now he is proving the haters wrong and playing the best basketball of his career. Averaging 24.9 points per game and shooting over 47 percent from the field, Ingram has shown the league that he can score the ball with the best of them. His biggest performance of his career came last month against the Utah Jazz where he scored 49 points and carried his team to an overtime win. Ingram is one of the best young talents in the NBA and should get even better over the coming seasons.