0 out of 10
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The NBA revolves around its stars and not just the stars currently in orbit.
Bulls can be as drunk as established stars, perhaps even more so in the right, forward-thinking markets.
There is an inherent excitement about young players given the seemingly limitless possibilities ahead of them, but some take that excitement even further with statistical dominance, viral highlights, and unique skills.
In fact, the next 10 players (two in each position) elicit this excitement better than anyone in their age group, defined for our purposes as 22 or less as of October 1. This not only celebrates gamers but also ranks them by excitement, which personally measures a combination of their performance and entertainment value.
Rookies are excluded from this exercise. While fans should feel confident that freshmen like Paulo Banchero, Chet Holmgren and Jaden Ivey can generate plenty of action, they haven’t had real competition in the NBA yet, so the referee should be kept until they do.
1 of 10
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There are many different ways to describe Garland’s game—velvet, dexterous, and prolific that come to mind—but perhaps the simplest is this: He makes things happen. For himself and his teammates.
It’s what you imagine when you think of a public floor, just less robotic and more flashy. It does simple and private readings, and can call its own number at any time and from any distance.
His creativity should be seen to be fully appreciated, but the stats paper scrutinizes his influence just fine. land in Percentage 86 on isolates and Percentage 68 As a pick-and-roll ball handler while pumping in a personal best of 21.7 points and 8.6 assists.
Just 26.1 percent Of his two-point shots and less than half of his three-pointers came from assists. Meanwhile, his help rate of 39.9 . plummeted seventh Out of 272 players who have scored more than 1,000 minutes.
Its star is already shining brightly, and it should grow even brighter in the future.
Honorable Mention: Josh Gedi, Oklahoma City Thunder; Therese Halliburton, Indiana Pacers
2 of 10
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No matter what you think you know about Ball, it should be universally accepted that he’s just a soccer player – not like a very decent and good player, but a whole franchise talent.
He’s the one who brought back the bustle of Buzz City. Gives these hornets their wings and sting.
His game isn’t always out loud according to his wayBut it has the perfect blend of taste, function, style and substance. He can start viral fires with no-look-and-beautiful feed behind his back, but he’s likely to dismantle defenses with simple on-time and on-target deliveries.
Last season was his first as a full-time rookie. By the end of the match, he had become the fourth player ever to average 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds by his 21st birthday. It’s scary to think about what his future might hold.
3 out of 10
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If you’re not convinced that Green is the second best guard in the class of 22 and under, let me remind you of two things.
First, this ranking is about excitement, not just talent. Second, if that was the debate, Green wouldn’t be buried in it. You could eventually side with a player like Cade Cunningham or Tyler Herro, but you have to at least acknowledge the incredible nature of Green’s after-all-star boom: 22.1 points per game on a 47.6/38.7/75.6 launch.
His game is very easy on the eyes. It’s a blur in the open field, an aerial tumbler over the edge and a gunshot shooter from a distance. The rebuild missile can’t offer the best defense development plan yet, but it has already shown promise as a lean, versatile, and annoying cannon.
The list of current players with more potential than Green is not long. The list of players with highlight reels may be more compelling than a barrage of drag buckets and shorter rocker wheels.
Honorable Mention: Kid Cunningham, Detroit Pistons; Tyler Hero, Miami Heat
4 out of 10
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You’d think a player with a blast like Maxey would be more impressive with his time from zero to 60, but he couldn’t hold a candle with the size, scope, and importance of his sophomore jump.
In one campaign, he went from an intriguing curiosity to a contributor to the top three in the championship contender. He scored a great deal. So did the shooting. Ditto for distribution.
“I think we should celebrate Tyrese,” Sixers captain Doc Rivers Reporters after the season. “He grew up before our very eyes.”
Maxey’s blast and energy impressed during the junior season, but his sophomore breakout was more skill-dependent. Sure, his speed and leaps still show at times, but appreciable growth was seen in his reliable long-range shot (42.7 percent) and top-notch decision-making (4.3 assists versus 1.2 turnover).
It’s fun to watch and is fundamentally crucial to the Sixers’ success.
5 out of 10
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Johnson is a scorer. It’s more than that, of course, but it’s his ability to get buckets that got him noticed first on this level.
He pumped admirably 18.4 points per 36 minutes when registering 59.6% as a freshman when he fed on close opportunities and outpaced or outpaced opponents. His scoring rate hasn’t changed much since then (19.2 per 36 minutes last season), but his responsibilities, shooting in his surroundings and pay rate are on the rise.
He’s a better player than the entertainment source, which probably makes him a perfect fit for San Antonio, but he’s got some juice around the edge. Plus, his rapid rise as a three-ball player (13 triples as a starter, 159 at 39.8 percent in 2021-22) gives him more room to work, and there are flashes of self-creation in his skill set.
His individual arsenal needs further expansion, and his defensive impact leaves much to be desired, but he is a good player who pushes himself to greatness thanks to an elite drive.
Honorable Mention: Jonathan Cominga, Golden State Warriors; Franz Wagner, Orlando Magic
6 out of 10
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It has become difficult to speak of Edwards in hyperbolic terms as he continues to push his roof higher and open up a wider range of possibilities. If a time traveler from 2027 told you that Edwards was the best two-way player in the league, you might be surprised to hear that, but you certainly wouldn’t be.
“Few players in the NBA can get a bucket through massive lunge, power and rebound or hit you with skill,” said the Portland Trail Blazers’ assistant general manager. Mike Schmitz He wrote for ESPN in April. “…Edwards has proven that he can do both with the kind of space creation you rarely see from players of his age.”
Edwards is the kind of talent you want your NBA2K-created player to be. He can destroy defenders in the basket or flick them to dribble away from it. Its three-point cannon shows astonishing accuracy at such a heavy volume (215 degrees, 35.7 percent). It is indeed a threat to scoring on every level although there are many clear paths to improvement.
He could be more consistent with his defense and decision, but that’s expected to be turning 21 soon. Pointing his path straight and watching him know his potential is going to be a great basketball scene.
7 out of 10
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The easiest way to appreciate Barnes might be to see how the Raptors view him. It is, by all accounts, truly untouchable.
Not even a massive Kevin Durant deal could rock Barnes, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski described the idea as a “non-starter” for Toronto (h/t SI.com’s nick the same).
This must be annoying because Durant is an all-time talent and arguably could make the Raptors starring favorite, but that’s kind of a validation. Barnes just turned 21, he has one season under his belt and he might already be just a shy leap from offering his full arsenal.
He’s a 6’9 inch, 227 pound puzzle piece that can be shaped according to his team’s needs. He has versatility in five positions in defense, and in attack, he can function as anything from a mega-sized playmaker to an athletic playmaker. In his first NBA run, he awarded Toronto his third all-time new player of the year and just became a freshman 12th He averaged 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists and one steal.
Honorable Mention: Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers; Jaden McDaniels, Minnesota Timberwolves
8 out of 10
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If you were expecting to see anyone other than Williamson here, you missed a refresher on the big movie.
It bounces off the screen of your favorite streaming device. It jumps as if it’s not bound by the same rules of gravity as the rest of us. His jumps are quick, too—anyone, but unfairly for a 6’6″, 284-pounder—and always backed by fierce power. If that’s all he has in his arsenal, you could say he’s enough to secure this spot.
But there is more. Much more.
While he has the size and springs to play as a small ball center, he is skilled enough to start the attack and can accumulate points like the top scorers on the wing. The last time (kind only) he was healthy, he just became Thirty-fifth player He averaged 27 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Add his 60-plus percent shot to the mix, and you’ve got Unprecedented stat line.
Honestly almost there too much Excitement is all around him as you have to cherish his court proceedings without knowing when and where you will see the 22-year-old again. Hopefully, the basketball gods will give him a clean bill of health sooner rather than later. He broke the shortlist of the most exciting talent in the association, regardless of age.
9 of 10
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It would certainly be good if Wiseman fit in at all last season to give a clearer indication of whether this ranking was too high, too low or a perfect fit. Without this information, the temptation to side with Onyeka Okongwu or Isaiah Stewart here would have been real.
However, Wiseman got a nod for his excitement up to this point and his ability to deliver more in the future.
Now, that’s largely related to his size group (7’0″, 240 lbs) and athleticism, which really helped protect his end and edges. Strikes and kicks alone energize, and that’s with so much paint lost after limited injuries he’s only played 39 games In his first two seasons.
However, it’s the flashes of other things that really get the juices flowing. Wiseman already showed some vibration in the low position and touched his jumpers, and if he used them consistently, he could exit the edge running role and get closer to the center of privilege area.
Honorable Mention: Onyeka Okongwu, Atlanta Hawks; Isaiah Stewart, Detroit Pistons
10 of 10
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You know Sengun is uniquely skilled when most conversations about his game contain a copy of: “I’m not saying he’s the next Nikola Djokic, but…”
Currently, I I wouldn’t say he’s the next joker, but… the similarities are easy to spot. Seungon drops some of the best delicious coins you’ll see from a position other than his name is Jokic, and if Seungon can expand his shooting range—his 71.1 percent of his free throws as a novice has been a promising start—he can deliver the same from the inside-punch scoring.
Again, the point of this exercise is not to draw Sengun as a Jokic sequel. If so, he will notice the similarity of Sengun Rookie stats (16.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per 36 minutes) and jokic (16.5, 11.6 and 3.9, respectively).
Sengun’s pass is the most exciting thing to happen to a young midfielder at the moment, and if he can expand his game, he may have fundamental potential.
Zach Buckley covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, Tweet embed.