Future stars forging path in NBA


AP Photo | Jacob Kupferman

Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball passes the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Nov. 26, 2021.

By DeOndre Saunders, Sports Reporter

New upcoming talent joins the NBA every year, bringing excitement to the game. Players such as Charlotte Hornets guard Lamelo Ball, Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards and New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson have the potential to be superstars in the league.

LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets

Ball is in his second season and has shown that he is a phenomenal point guard. Ball won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award last season and proves he is a top 10 point guard. 

Ball has amazing playmaking ability, averaging 8.3 assists this season and with excellent shooting ability as well. Ball should be selected for an All-Star appearance this year based on his performance as well as that of his team. Ball will continue to turn this franchise, which hasn’t made a playoff appearance since 2016, into a possible contender and will accumulate individual accolades in the process. 

Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies

Morant has continued to show that he is an outstanding player with his determination to win for Memphis. The Grizzlies made a playoff appearance last year, and Morant showed up in the five games that they played. Morant scored at least 23 points in each of his five playoff games against the Utah Jazz.

Morant has shown that he can put points on the board and lead his team to the playoffs with particularly great finishing ability. Morant will be a future MVP and will have many All-Star selections to add to his basketball resume. 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder

Gilgeous-Alexander is a player who casual NBA fans tend to overlook. The 23-year-old point guard has experience playing alongside current Phoenix Suns guard and 11-time All-Star Chris Paul, providing him with a mentor. 

Paul’s year in Oklahoma City was suitable for Gilgeous-Alexander as he now has the opportunity to become the leader of a young Thunder team and lead them to postseason contention. Many fail to notice his game, yet they should, due to his shooting ability and terrific basketball IQ. He will likely become a household name.

Minnesota Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards, center, dunks the ball as Philadelphia 76ers’ Matisse Thybulle, from left,, Tobias Harris and Seth Curry look on during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo | Matt Slocum)

Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves

Edwards is an extraordinary player to watch because of his energy on the court. 

When you watch basketball games, a player is usually locked in and not smiling. That’s not Edwards. When he plays basketball, he looks like he has fun on the court. 

Edwards has no flaws in his game, proving to be both a great defender and a great scorer. Edwards is a slashing guard, but he can also shoot the ball well when called upon. He also has excellent playmaking. The Timberwolves secured their future by picking him number one overall in the 2020 NBA draft. Edwards will have many All-Star selections and will win an MVP award five to 10 years from now. 

Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

Williamson will be the face of the NBA in years to come because of his dominance. 

Williamson is a very efficient scorer in the paint, shooting a career 61%. He played 24 games in his rookie season but averaged 22.5 points per game. Last season, Williamson averaged 27 points per game in 61 games.

Williamson is a top-five dominant forward in this league and has shown he can score. He has one All-Star selection so far and will have many more to come and multiple MVP awards.