A lot of (older) analysts and observers of the NBA say what is wrong with the NBA is the league is too young. Too many players with only one year of college and who don’t know how to play. Their inexperience is hurting teams and the league as a whole. While not to diminish the argument that 19 year olds come into the league and look lost and are unable to compete-there is some truth to that- however there were some young players (under 25) who had a great 2016 year, creating a lot of hype for their future on All-Star teams and in conference finals.
20 Years Old. Myles Turner. How many teams passed on the versatile Turner in the 2015 NBA draft? 10 teams. The only teams that passed on Turner to grab a better player were the Timberwolves (Karl-Anthony Towns) and the Knicks (Kristaps Porzingis). Everyone else blew it, except the Pacers. The versatile big man from Univ. of Texas can score inside and outside, has good quickness and a first step and is explosive in the lane. He plays well next to superstar Paul George. 2016 Numbers: 80 games. 13.5 points. 51.3% field goals. 35.4% three ball. 6.8 rebounds. 102.4 defensive rating.
21 Years Old.Andrew Wiggins. The number one pick who was traded before his first NBA game has legitimized his pre-draft narrative as a deadly scorer. Wiggins has a an array of offensive moves to create space and get his shot off and has greatly improved from distance. He is a clutch shooter that loves to take and make the pressure shot and he can also absorb contact. 2016 Numbers. 79 games. 21.9 points.46.1% field goals. 34% 3-pointers. 108 offensive rating.
21 Years Old. Jabari Parker. Parker has rebounded nicely from ACL surgery his rookie year and is showing everyone in Milwaukee exactly why pre-draft scouts were so high on Parker as a NBA scorer. He is great in the open court, excellent on the run, can score off the dribble and take contact. His offensive versatility and unselfishness make him difficult to guard. 2016 Numbers: 76 games. 17.4 points. 50.8% field goals. 5.9 rebounds. 106.8 offensive rating.
21 Years Old. Karl-Anthony Towns. He has a beautiful game. Everything he does on the court on the offensive end is smooth. He can score in the paint, post his man up, space the floor and hit from distance. He is an excellent passer with court vision. He rebounds strong. He has the entire package. In a league that was supposed to be big man deficient Towns has dominated and may be an All-Star in 2017. 2016 Numbers: 79 games. 20.2 points. 51.6% field goals. 35.6% 3-pointers. 111.8 offensive rating.
22 Years Old. Giannis Antetokoumpo. Everyone passed on Giannis and to their peril. He was in the Anthony Bennett draft. Imagine the Cavs with Giannis, LeBron and Kyrie. His game is spectacularly extraordinary. He has the wing span of a power forward and the game of a guard and the touch of a scorer. He needs work on his perimeter shot but everything else is there. His sliding over to the point has taken his game to another level. An All-Star bid in 2017 is coming. 2016 Numbers: 76 games. 17.4 Points. 51.2% field goals. 8.5 rebounds. 5.5 assists. 112.0 offensive rating.
23 Years Old. Andre Drummond. He is a rarity in today’s NBA, a front court player with size who can clean up the glass and score in the paint. He is a rim protector in a league with dribble penetration. His very presence puts a thousand holes in the lie that big men have no place in the league. 2016 Numbers: 79 games. 14.3 points. 52.6% field goals. 14.0 rebounds. 98.1 defensive rating.
24 Years Old. Rodney Hood. The shooting guard from Duke has a perfect game to compliment big men in the paint. He is a throwback to when players could do things in the mid-range. He’s a shot maker who makes contested jumpers over and over again. 2016 NBA numbers: 75 games. 15.1 points. 42.7% field goals.37.1% 3-pointers. 105.1 offensive rating.
24 Years Old. Kyrie Irving. He had a sensational 2016 year. His game winner won the NBA Finals for Cleveland. His game winner beat the same team on Xmas day. Kyrie can score on you in multiple ways. He can iso you to death. He can drain three point jumpers. He can make mid-range shots. He is a clutch performer who has a great sense of the moment. 2016 Numbers: 76 games. 22.9 points. 46.2% field goals. 36.2% 3-pointers. 111.8 offensive rating.