Over the next five years, the NBA is going to reach a transition period where most of the All-Stars we have grown to love over the past 15 years are going to be retiring. Players like Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Dwyane Wade, Jamal Crawford, Tony Parker, Carmelo Anthony, Marc Gasol, LeBron James, Chris Paul, and many others are reaching the ends of their careers.
As these perennial All-Stars continue to head down the path of retirement, the NBA is going to be ready for its next big class of superstars. It appears that most of them are going to be coming out of the next two NBA Drafts.
The college basketball season has already shown us some amazing talents, mostly from Duke and Kentucky, that should become immediate impacts in the big leagues. There are many players that are going to be taken in the top-10 over the next two years that will be the future of the sport.
So let's take a look at our projections for the Top 10 picks of the next two NBA Drafts. Keep in mind that many of the players being projected for the 2020 draft are still in high school and might not even be committed to a college yet.
20 First Overall (2019): Zion Williamson, PF, Duke
Thanks to YouTube and social media, the hype behind the incredibly athletic Zion Williamson was raging by the time he made it to Duke. How could he even live up to it?
Yet, from the first day he put on that Duke uniform, he was going to be a star. In his first ever collegiate game, Zion Williamson faced top-ranked Kentucky, in front of millions of television viewers and thousands of screaming fans. All he did was dropped 28 points, seven rebounds, two assists, one block, and one steal. He added a slew of highlight plays including a couple of dunks worthy of watching over and over again.
He is an incredibly athletic big man that is going to make a name for himself in the NBA next year and should wind up being taken first overall.
19 Second Overall (2019): R.J. Barrett, SF, Duke
When R.J. Barrett decided to commit to Duke, most Blue Devil fans were ecstatic because he was already considered to be a NBA prospect. The basketball prodigy from Canada wound up in Florida where he really established himself as one of the nation's best prospects after showcasing his elite athleticism at all the summer camps.
But what was even more impressive is his ability to finish. That is a skill that many scouts overlook because so many young prospects simply do not have it or do not have enough of it to consider it a skill. For R.J. Barrett, it is one of the things that will keep him in the NBA for many years to come.
Not only can he score, from anywhere on the floor, he does not give up on the play and is deceivingly quick when going to the basket.
18 Third Overall (2019): Cam Reddish, SF, Duke
Many of the prospects on our list have a long list of reasons why they are going to be drafted in the top ten of the NBA Draft, whichever year they decide to go pro. But we need to take a look at the weaknesses if we really want to get down to the nitty gritty.
Almost everyone has Cam Reddish ranked as a top three pick in the 2019 NBA draft but he could fall back a few spots if he continues to be inconsistent. He has already had a couple games this season at Duke where he struggled mightily on the court. Those games actually mean something when he does it more than once. It starts to become a glaring problem that could scare teams off next year. Nonetheless, he will likely go third overall anyway.
17 Fourth Overall (2019): Nassir Little, SF, UNC
As a senior, Nassir Little was widely considered one of the nation's best prospects. He was consistently ranked higher than Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish, and for good reasons, he is a naturally talented basketball star. He is already a good size for the small forward position and has shown us during his Freshman year at UNC that he is going to continue to improve his game, every single night.
With his surprisingly long arms gives him a wingspan of 7'2" and is a big reason why he is going to excel as he continues to get better on the offensive side of the ball. He is already a strong defender that is going to use that to become one of the best players in the country, both in college and in the NBA.
16 Fifth Overall (2019): Bol Bol, C, Oregon
Before the start of this season, Bol Bol was considered a mid-to-late first round draft pick because of his many weaknesses including his inconsistency scoring around the basket. But if he can improve in those areas, how high can this guy climb up the draft boards?
With his amazingly strong start to the season, it appears he spent his entire summer practicing and working on his glaring weaknesses. His height alone makes him a potential lottery pick regardless of what else he can do but when you see his game getting better each time he walks onto the floor, he could end up going into the top-3, a massive climb in just a few months.
15 Sixth Overall (2019): Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana
The list of Freshman that are putting up the kind of numbers that Romeo Langford has been this season is only four. Besides him, there are only four other players that are having better seasons, statistically speaking.
But that is justification for something we already knew, that Romeo Langford is a special talent. He has already been linked to former NBA Champion Rip Hamilton because of his long frame and effortless approach to the game. He makes it look easy, running around the court, almost too easy. That gives him the ability to find open spots around the perimeter and take good shots.
14 Seventh Overall (2019): Kevin Porter Jr., SF, USC
When a kid comes out of high school with Kevin Porter's size and frame, they tend to find early success at the next level while they continue to improve their overall game. He was not a monster but his size, and talent, makes him comparable to someone like DeMar DeRozan.
But what makes him special is his playmaking. He just has it. He throws down dunks that have sent the crowds into a roar and can do it because of his size and athletic ability. He could be one of the surprise risers by next summer and we wanted to be the first to get in on the action.
13 Eighth Overall (2019): Sekou Doumbouya, SF, France
Of all the players on our list, Sekou Doumbouya has been quietly climbing the draft boards and is now widely considered a top end lottery pick. His rise has a lot to do with his upside. He is very raw and needs a lot of polishing but if there is any NBA franchise that wants to take him on as a project, they would be very happy when that returns pays off.
The part of his game that is already elite is his defense. As a 6'9" small forward, he is big enough to defend anyone on the court, which is the easiest way to a long career in the NBA. You do not have to score 20 points a game to play in the NBA. All you need to do is be able to defend and get rebounds. Ben Wallace and Dennis Rodman are proof that defense wins championships.
12 Ninth Overall (2019): Keldon Johnson, SF, Kentucky
During his first season in Kentucky, Keldon Johnson has been used much like many of us expected. He is a perimeter specialist that can make the open shots when in space. It has a lot to do with his perfectly crafted jump shot, which is going to carry him into the first round next summer, and his progress shooting from the outside.
At 6'6", however, he definitely has the height to be a skilled NBA guard or small forward but he needs to add strength, and weight. He looks every bit like a high school senior and with a small body size, he could end up getting pushed around on the court. He needs to toughen up during his Freshman year at Kentucky in order to hold onto this top-10 ranking.
11 Tenth Overall (2019): Ja Morant, PG, Murray St.
Where did Ja Morant come from? That is exactly what everyone is thinking about today after this kid who was not even considered a big enough talent in high school that he was not even ranked by the major recruiting websites. He is proof that if you are talented enough to make it in the NBA, you will eventually get your chance.
After committing to Murray State, Ja Morant wound up starting 32 games and leading them to their first NCAA tournament appearance in seven years, as a Freshman. His playing time had a lot to do with his ability to be an elite scorer but also to become a star rebounder.
As he continues to move up the draft boards, his future in the NBA will be based on how much he improves his shooting, and become a more consistent scorer.
10 First Overall (2020): James Wiseman, C, Memphis
There are plenty of talented players in the class of 2020 but only one of them is 7'1" and as athletic as James Wiseman, out of Memphis East High School.
The big man is going to be tough to control in the NBA because of his size and strength but also because of his awareness and balance. For a seven foot tall center, James Wiseman is surprisingly agile and can get up and down the court with ease. As he continues to develop, he should get stronger and smarter with the ball. He could wind up helping Memphis make a NCAA Tournament run next season as well.
9 Second Overall (2020): Anthony Edwards, SG, High School
If defense wins championships, then every single NBA franchise is going to be chasing after Anthony Edwards in 2020 because he has something that most dynamic shooting guards lack, the ability to score and transition into defense flawlessly. The ones that can, like Victor Oladipo, Jimmy Butler, Donovan Mitchell, and Dwyane Wade end up becoming perennial All-Stars.
But what makes Anthony Edwards one of the countries best high school seniors, and future NBA superstar, is his balanced game. He is not only a tough defender, he is an amazing offensive stud that has been compared to James Harden in how he is both tough, has an elite shot making ability, and is very athletic.
Do not mistake our rankings for any future potential. Anthony Edwards might climb up the rankings before his Freshman season is over.
8 Third Overall (2020): Cole Anthony, PG, High School
Cole Anthony is a winner. He has that kind of mentality. The same kind that helped turn Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant into two of the greatest players in the history of the NBA. His competitiveness shines brightest when he plays against tough competition, like when he plays in all those summer leagues against other fellow future NBA stars.
He can get open shots because of his quick first step and that kind of separation gives him a chance to use his incredibly high basketball IQ to become a better player. He is starting to gain a lot of steam as he continues to impress the NBA scouts.
7 Fourth Overall (2020): Jaden McDaniels, F, High School
Jaden McDaniels has so many things that make him a solid prospect and a few of them have nothing to do with his abilities on the court. His brother, Jalen McDaniels, is also going to make a name for himself in the NBA. He is currently a Sophomore at San Diego State. Jaden is also related to former NBA player Juwan Howard.
So we know he has the genetics, but does he have the skills to make it to the NBA in 2020? After watching footage of his summer games, it appears he does. He can move around a lot better than most other 6'10" forwards and is also a good shooter, from inside and outside. He wants to score when he gets the ball and usually does.
6 Fifth Overall (2020): Isaiah Stewart, PF/C, High School
If Zion Williamson's size and athletic ability is impressive, you should wait and see what Isaiah Stewart can do next year. This kid has improved his game during the last two years to become an elite big man that is ready to play collegiate basketball next season.
Being from Rochester, New York, Isaiah Stewart has grown up tough and is becoming one of the hardest working players in the entire class. He does not mind to go after a loose ball and will give up his body to take a charge without hesitation. He does not give up and his energy is a key strength to his game. Players like him are usually monsters on the offensive boards too.
5 Sixth Overall (2020): Vernon Carey Jr., PF/C, Duke
Duke will continue to bring in some of the nation's best high school players every single season because it is an elite program that knows how to treat an athlete and prepare them for the NBA better than most of the rest of the country.
One of their next big stars is Vernon Carey Jr., a Senior in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida that has earned a reputation as a tougher, more talented version of Jahlil Okafor. That in itself is a compliment being as he also went to Duke and wound up being drafted third overall in 2015.
We should expect much of the same from Vernon Carey once he has a chance to grow over the next two years.
4 Seventh Overall (2020): Kahlil Whitney, SF, Kentucky
It's OK if you have not heard of Kahlil Whitney yet, many people haven't, but by the 2020 NBA Draft, you will.
Kahlil was ranked as a four-star athlete, ranked around 55th among all eligible class of 2019 basketball prospects in May of 2018. But over the summer, he flew to the top of the charts, was changed to a five-star prospect, and is now considered one of the top 10 players in the country.
He has also turned into a perfect SF specimen that NBA teams are just going to love in two years. Some say he looks like an unfinished Kawhi Leonard with a ton of potential.
3 Eighth Overall (2020): Matthew Hurt, PF, High School
Since the measure of success in basketball is making it to the NBA, and being great, then websites and scouts will always compare high school prospects to current NBA greats. In the case of the 6'8" power forward in Rochester, Minnesota, Matthew Hurt, his NBA comparison has been Tobias Harris, and for a good reason.
He is a great scorer and has an amazing outside shot. In fact, he just might be the best shooter of the entire Class of 2020. He gets the ball out quickly and has elite passing skills for a big man.
However, he is not very strong for his size, and lacks the defensive power to be anything more than a role player in the NBA. So that means that he has another two years to hit the weight room and beef up before debuting in the big show.
2 Ninth Overall (2020): Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky
When Tyrese Maxey gets to Kentucky, he could wind up becoming a starter from day one. That has a lot to do with both his style of play and natural ability to score, from anywhere on the court. But he does have issues that could push his NBA arrival back another year so he can get some much needed seasoning.
His shooting form, for one, is something he needs to work on. His release might work in high school because of the difference between his talent and his opponents. He also is not considered a great defender. He is just a quick, aggressive scorer that reminds us of Lou Williams or Eric Gordon when they were his age.
1 Tenth Overall (2020): Josh Green, SG, Arizona
At what point in time did Australia turn into a breeding ground for future basketball superstars in the United States?
Luc Longley was the first but he is no where near the talent level of his fellow Aussie brothers. Ben Simmons, Kyrie Irving, Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Matthew Dellavedova, and Dante Exum are all originally from Australia and now play in the NBA.
Josh Green is going to join that list in 2020 after spending next season playing for the University of Arizona Wildcats. He is going to watch his stock, and popularity, continue to rise once he steps on campus.