With many of the NBA's best players not getting any younger, it's time for the new generation of players to step up and take over the game. Kobe Bryant announced his retirement prior to this season at the age of 38. Bryant is one of the best players in NBA history and now has decided to hang it up after 20 seasons. Bryant will finish his career as a five-time NBA Champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP, NBA MVP, 18-time All-Star, four-time All-Star game MVP, selected to 15 All-NBA teams, 12 All-Defensive teams, and a 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist. Bryant's resume will be a hard one to follow, which makes him one of the best, but there are current players that can take over games like Bryant did.
Tim Duncan is one of the oldest players in the league at age 39 and will be retiring soon as well. Duncan is a five-time NBA Champion, three-time NBA Finals MVP, two-time NBA MVP, 15-time All-Star, selected to 15 All-NBA teams and 15 All-Defensive teams. Duncan is arguably the best power forward to lace up a pair of basketball shoes and has left his mark on the game as well.
Although Bryant and Duncan are two of the best players in NBA history, there are current players who are having the same impact on the game that they did. Current MVP Stephen Curry is already being declared as the best shooter in history at the age of 28. Kevin Durant is being named one of the best shooters and small forwards in history at the age of 27. These are some of the young and upcoming superstars in the NBA.
In the past five years, there are some players that have made a name for themselves already. When a team is giving a top three pick in the draft, they draft a player that they expect to make an immediate impact on their respective teams. In the past five NBA drafts, some teams made the right decisions with their picks and others not so much.
15 15. Joel Embiid: Third Overall - Philadelphia 76ers (2014)
In college, Joel Embiid drew comparisons to the great Hakeem Olajuwon because of the combination of his post game and defense, which is why he was drafted so high despite being injured at the time of the draft. Nobody has gotten to see how Embiid will fair in the NBA because he has not played in a single game to date. His rookie season, Embiid had surgery on a broken navicular bone in his right foot, which forced him out for the season. After his rookie season, Embiid had a setback and had to have more surgeries on his right foot, which caused him to miss this current season as well.
14 14. Anthony Bennett: First Overall - Cleveland Cavaliers (2013)
13 13. Otto Porter: Third Overall - Washington Wizards (2013)
12 12. Derrick Williams: Second Overall - Minnesota Timberwolves (2011)
11 11. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: Second Overall - Charlotte Bobcats (2013)
10 10. D'Angelo Russell: Second Overall - Los Angeles Lakers (2015)
9 9. Enes Kanter: Third Overall - Utah Jazz (2011)
8 8. Jabari Parker: Second Overall - Milwaukee Bucks (2014)
7 7. Bradley Beal: Third Overall - Washington Wizards (2012)
6 6. Victor Oladipo: Second Overall - Orlando Magic (2013)
5 5. Jahlil Okafor: Third Overall - Philadelphia 76ers (2015)
4 4. Andrew Wiggins: First Overall - Cleveland Cavaliers (2014)
3 3. Karl Anthony-Towns: First Overall - Minnesota Timberwolves (2015)
2 2. Kyrie Irving: First Overall - Cleveland Cavaliers (2011)
1 1. Anthony Davis: First Overall - New Orleans Pelicans (2012)
Anthony Davis is a top-five player in the league and if it wasn't for injuries, many would have noticed this sooner. In four seasons, Davis has not played a full season but has a career average of 20.8 ppg. In just four seasons, Davis is a three-time All-Star, made the All-NBA team, led the led the league in blocks twice, and is Olympic Gold Medalist. Davis seems to be getting better now, including this season when he showed he could shoot from long range. Davis is going to be a superstar in this league for a while and could be one the best ever when it's all said and done.
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