LeBron James is the best basketball player of this generation. Yes I said it! You can argue Kobe Bryant is better but we will save that for another day. The impact LeBron has on the game is impeccable. His skill set is phenomenal. His ability to use his size and speed along with his handles and jumpshot is something we haven’t seen. He is the face of the NBA.
Recently we have seen some young talent escalating their game to assert their place in the league. One day LeBron will retire and we are going to need someone else to be the new face, and start a new era of basketball dominance.
These are the top 10 players in the NBA who I think can take over as the face of the Association.
10. Dennis Smith Jr. – Dallas Mavericks
Coming out of N.C State, Dennis Smith Jr. was seen as the sleeper of the NBA draft. A high energy point guard selected in the first round by the Mavericks can develop to be a star in Dallas. With the reign of Dirk Nowitzki coming to an end, the Mavs are looking to rebuild and are doing so around Smith. Playing with Nerlens Noel and Harrison Barnes, the Mavs are trying to get back on the right track to becoming a playoff team once again. They still have a long ways to go but I am hopeful they can make a turn around. Smith Jr.’s stats are looking like 14 points a game on 39% shooting with 4.2 rebound and 4.5 assists a night. With his explosiveness he can bring a lot of highlight plays and energy to Dallas. He’s young and a work in progress but keep an eye out for Dennis Smith Jr. in the future.
9. Myles Turner – Indiana Pacers
People may not agree with this one but I believe Myles Turner can be a problem in this league. Myles Turner is a young center who ince Paul George departed Indiana is now slowly becoming the face of the franchise. He is putting up a solid 14.2 points and 7.9 rebounds a game. His beautiful mid-range game is what leads his play. I see him after about three years being dominant in this league. We have seen growth his first two seasons and in the third and fourth years we see these types of players blast off into superstardom. Turner in his third year has shown signs of inconsistency but he is young. The Pacers are in 9th place and compete night in and night out. I don’t see them as a playoff team this year but as a competitive team growing.
8. Ben Simmons – Philadelphia 76ers
The potential Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons has been absolutely balling this year. Coming off of a foot injury that took away his 2016 season he is starting to assert his dominance in the league. His ability to control the floor and get to the basket and score is exciting to watch. On a young 76ers team Simmons along with Embiid is something to watch this season. We are all trusting the process and I am buying into Ben Simmons. Averaging 18.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 8 assists Ben Simmons is a very unique player. Once he develops a jump shot he will be deadly. We have even seen Simmons be compared to Lebron James because of the size and athleticism but I am going to hold off on that. With this season being so young I will watch Simmons closely and see how he and Embiid can elevate the 76ers.
7. Devin Booker – Phoenix Suns
One of my favorite players in this league is Devin Booker. It also pains me to see him on the Phoenix Suns of all teams. With the loss of Eric Bledsoe early this season all the pressure is put to Devin Booker. He is now the leader of this abysmal Phoenix Suns organization. This is the man who dropped 70 points in a game at just 20 years old. This season he is averaging 23 points and 4.4 assists a game. He is playing in a stacked Western Conference so it is going to be a while until we see the Suns become relevant. Devin Booker is the Phoenix Suns. That organization needs to make some serious offseason moves to be taken seriously.
6. Andrew Wiggins – Minnesota Timberwolves
Since coming in the league Andrew Wiggins has only gotten better. Wiggins is an exciting player for the Timberwolves who are starting to emerge in the Western Conference. It helps him playing alongside Karl Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler. The T-Wolves are looking to be contenders this season and to possibly dethrone the Warriors. We are seeing a new level of aggressiveness from Wiggins. Something we haven’t seen the past three years. I still would like to see him become a better rebounder and defender. Looking forward I am excited for the Timberwolves and I hope they can rise and take down the Warriors. A new matchup is needed for the NBA Finals.
5. Joel Embiid – Philadelphia 76ers
TRUST THE PROCESS! Joel Embiid is the face of this movement and one of the most entertaining young players in this league. His raw talent and ability as a big man is a thing to watch. He is going to carry the 76ers to the playoffs. Alongside Ben Simmons and Dario Saric the 76ers can be a problem in the years to come. He is currently putting up 22.8 points along with 10.9 rebounds. His great post game along with his 3 point shot will lead to 76ers prominence. Also how can you not like Embiid as a person. He has a great personality and is a fun player to watch. I’m looking forward to seeing how the season will play out. Hopefully he can stay healthy seeing he’s only played 40 games in three years.
4. Kristaps Porzingis – New York Knicks
Whew, what can I say about Kristaps Porzingis? Since the departure of Carmelo he has stepped up into the roles as the guy for the Knicks. Putting up 27 points per game he is absolutely dominating right now. On draft night he was booed and scrutinized by the Knicks and most notably Stephen A. Smith. Man they were so wrong. I am glad he is thriving right now. He has an insanely good offensive attack with a deadly three point shot shooting 41 percent from the field. At 6’11” he is also a strong influence on defense as his length leads to blocked and missed shots. He is the man in New York and is looking to bring back the prestige of New York Knick basketball.
3. Karl-Anthony Towns – Minnesota Timberwolves
KAT is a beast. All three years of him being in this league. Athletic centers that can stretch the floor is a thing of this era of NBA basketball. A 7’0” beast who dominates both sides of the floor. His ability to shoot the three pointer makes it ridiculous. As the face of the T-Wolves, he is the reason they are in that 4th place spot in the western conference. KAT, Butler, and Wiggins are going to be an elite force in the next 5 years. What we’ve seen in his first three years is outstanding from him. KAT was just named Western Conference Player of the Week averaging 20.3 points and 12.3 rebounds while shooting 55.4 percent 56.2 percent from the 3 point arc.
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks
I called this his rookie year. I said that Giannis Antetokounmpo would be a potential MVP in the NBA. He is currently averaging a beastly 30 points and 10 rebounds a game and is unstoppable. His 6’11” frame with his handle ability and attitude to get to the rim. His highlight reel dunks and energy will propel the Bucks into the playoff picture. He has grown so much since his rookie year and in the 2017-2018 season he is looking like the MVP. The Bucks are currently third in the East looking to dethrone the Cavaliers. Strong play by The Greek Freak can lead to taking them down.
1. Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans
Now this may seem weird seeing him on the list as taking over the league as Anthony Davis has already arrived and is a usual all-star. I put him here for the fact that he is prone to injury and the Pelicans have been a disappointment in terms of postseason appearances. Now do I attribute this to Anthony Davis? No, but as dominant as he is I want to see him win more. At only 24 years of age he is arguably the best big man in the league (If you want to debate that leave a comment). But he is young and invincible. Paired along with Demarcus Cousins I want to see the Pelicans in the playoffs. But once LeBron is retired, Anthony Davis will be that face of the NBA.