Draft Lead

The 10 Future Faces of the NBA

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When watching the NBA, it’s almost impossible not to feel it. Especially with the final All-Star weekend of Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade finally here you have to see it. The faces of the NBA are getting old. LeBron is 34. Curry is 30. Pretty soon these stars who embody the NBA will retire too. So that’s got us thinking about the future of the league. Below are 10 candidates who could one day be the next face of the league.

In order to qualify for this list, the player must be either in their rookie or sophomore season, in college, or in high school. The player also has to be marketable and likable– not just great at basketball.

Luka Doncic

The young Slovenian has taken the league by storm this year. A borderline all-star candidate in his rookie year, Doncic is averaging 20.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.6 assists on 43% shooting from the floor. Luka’s acrobatic drives, deep threes and incredible performance in the clutch make him fun to watch. Doncic’s already immense international following provides that marketability factor. Plus his childish nature shown in moments like these make him seem like a likable kid.

 

Jayson Tatum

Tatum’s game speaks for itself. He can score from all three levels and make you pay with either a highlight dunk or a dagger three. In his sophomore season, Tatum is averaging 16.5 points and 6.3 rebounds on 45% shooting. Even as a rookie, he refused to back down in big moments especially against The King himself. Tatum’s game screams smooth and his persona is just cool. He is already a fan favorite and his potential and personality will only help that fame grow.

Ben Simmons

The Aussie in his second year just made his first all-star appearance. Averaging 16.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game, Simmons can do it all (except shoot). Already being touted as the heir to the throne by LeBron, Simmons has been set up for stardom since he was the number one recruit in the country. If and when he develops a jump shot, it’ll be over for the rest of the league, as there will be no way of stopping Simmons from getting anywhere he wants. His competitive nature and immediate impact in the league make him a great candidate for a future face of the NBA.

Donovan Mitchell

The rookie sensation may not have the spotlight he did last year, but Donovan Mitchell is still compiling a great sophomore season. Mitchell is averaging 22.4 points, 4.0 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game– all up from last year. His shooting percentages are down by a few points but this sophomore slump is still an amazing season for such a young player. The Utah guard’s humble demeanor and electrifying dunks make the Spida both a great player and a marketable star.

Lonzo Ball

Ask anyone who remotely follows basketball, and they have probably heard of the Ball family. With three brothers who are great players and a dad who will say anything for media attention, it’s impossible not to have seen them on some form of media. Not only does Lonzo receive tons of media attention, but he is also a great basketball player. In his second year, Lonzo is putting up 9.9 points, 5.4 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. His numbers may not wow you, but Lonzo is an immediate impact player with tons of upside and media attention.

RJ Barrett

RJ Barrett is putting up incredible numbers for Duke, but is being overshadowed by a certain someone else on the roster. Barrett posts 23.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game on 45% shooting so far this season. Those numbers are insane. The Maple Mamba is the best prospect to come out of Canada and will undoubtedly have tons more in his home country watching the NBA. If his scoring prowess can transfer to the League, Barrett will be a bonafide star.

Ja Morant

Playing for Murray State, Ja Morant is not getting the same attention that our other two college players are– but that doesn’t make him any less of a star. Averaging 24.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 10.2 assists, Morant is dominating the Ohio Valley conference. Morant will undoubtedly be taken in the top 3 of the 2019 draft. His ascension story as well as his natural athleticism will lead to many highlights and jersey sales.

Zion Williamson

Probably the most famous player on this list, Zion is a generational athlete. For Duke, Zion is putting up 21.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.9 blocks per contest. You’ve all seen the dunks, but Williamson is way more than just a dunker. He affects the game in every way and is critical to his team on both sides of the floor. His ridiculous highlights every game as well as his infectious smile and established personality make Zion a future marketers dream and a potential NBA legend.

RJ Hampton

RJ Hampton may not be the most liked player, but he will be one of the most well known. Already being recruited by all the blue bloods, Hampton is an energizing scoring guard who can get to the rim at will. His game is made for highlights whether it be a flashy pass, or an athletic dunk. His competitive fire will make him a media star and his game will make him a fan favorite.

Cole Anthony

Son of former NBA player Greg Anthony, Cole has been a pro prodigy for a long time. Anthony is a great facilitator, but can also take over the game with his scoring. With a final six of UNC, Georgetown, Oregon, Notre Dame, Miami, and Wake Forest, Anthony will be the talk of college basketball next year. He’ll have an immediate impact at both the college and NBA level and become a highly popular player, especially if he becomes more open with the media.

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