Many people have voiced their concerns with the NBA and its changing culture. The same players and teams have been dominating the game for far too long, and sports fans everywhere have noticed. They are disappointed with the repetitive patterns of the NBA All-Star games in the past couple of years. This has been highlighted by the reign of the Golden State Warriors, Lebron James’ dominance, the drama of free agency, and the disadvantage of being a small-market team.
This year seemed to deviate from the trends that have become so pronounced in basketball today. This was showcased at the 2019 NBA All-Star weekend. Many up and coming young players earned a chance to participate, and fully took advantage of that opportunity. It was exciting to watch Joe Harris defeat the mighty Steph Curry in the 3 point shootout. It was nail-biting watching rookies Trae Young and Luka Doncic battle against each other in the Skills Challenge to take on sophomore phenom, Jayson Tatum in the final round. Jaws dropped to see Hamidou Diallo, a rookie who has only started in three games for the Oklahoma City Thunder this entire season, win the slam dunk contest.
It is refreshing to see all of these fresh faces representing the National Basketball Association. This is where the NBA is headed, and this is what we are looking forward to. It is a great time to be a basketball fan, because these young stars may very well change the game. Meet some of them:
De’Aaron Fox, PG, Sacramento Kings
The Kings have been having a season that has shocked the entire NBA. They have greatly exceeded expectations, and this is highly thanks to the great play of Fox. The guard is one of the fastest players in the league, and participated in the skills challenge at All-Star Weekend.
Luka Doncic, SG, Dallas Mavericks
Twenty years ago, the Mavericks took a chance on a player that played his position unconventionally. That player is future hall of famer, Dirk Nowitzki. In last years draft they did the same thing – and it appears as though they’ve struck gold again. The 6’7” shooting guard does things on the court that his height should certainly interfere with.
Somehow though, he has managed to bring light to the future of the Mavs, a franchise who has struggled greatly recently. Doncic’s versatility had him noticed, and earned him a spot alongside Fox in the skills challenge
John Collins, PF, Atlanta Hawks
Collins is in his second year in the NBA. He seemed to have come out of nowhere this year after a modest rookie campaign. He has filled a huge gap the Hawks had in their frontcourt. This has given much hope to a franchise that only won 24 games last year. His play certainly could have merited him a spot on the all-star roster, but this year he only represented the Hawks in the slam dunk contest.
Nikola Jokic/Nikola Vucevic, C, Denver Nuggets/Orlando Magic
We decided to pair these two because of the several comparisons that can be made between them. Both of these foreign-born 7-footers played in their first all-star game this year, and both of them also participated in the skills challenge. They are currently re-defining the position of center, and are drawing attention from all over the league.
Jokic’s Nuggets are currently playing much better than Vucevic’s Magic, but that does not take away from the fact that Vucevic’s squad is currently on a five game winning streak – and may be chasing after a playoff spot with the Nuggets.
These were just a few of the future stars of the NBA that we decided to include, but far more players like: Buddy Hield, Trae Young, Kyle Kuzma, Miles Bridges, and more are also stars that we should all look out for. Watching them blossom in programs that have been struggling over the past few years is great for the sport. These next couple years very well may be the ones that flip the NBA upside down, and bring new teams into the limelight. Stay tuned, because we are witnessing history.