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The Top 5 NBA Players Under 23 Will Shape the Future

  • Who's on your top 5 U23 NBA players list?
  • Can Doncic elevate himself to a new level?
  • Ja and the Grizzlies are the real deal this season
  • If Anthony Edwards is staying, who's getting traded?
  • Put some respect on Darius Garland's name
Top 5 NBA Players Under 23

The world gets excited every summer as the NBA draft fills the league with new promising prospects. Some of these young athletes enter the top basketball competition straight through high school or college. In certain cases, undrafted players can make it to the NBA as well. The scouting and recruiting of young talents are some of the most important things in every sport. These people will shape the future of the sport for years to come. In this article, we’re not going to look at the 2022 draft class, but the players who came before them. We’ll list the top 5 NBA players under the age of 23 based on their current and past season performances. These are the best U23 NBA players currently, and while the future potential is important, it’s not going to be the main point of this article.

The NBA doesn’t have a separate competition or tournament for players under 23, unlike some other sport. There’s a rising stars game for rookies and sophomores during the all-star weekend but that’s pretty much it. Anyone over the age of 18 can enter the NBA, given they have the necessary talent, skills, potential, and if any team is willing to take them in. The youngest player in NBA history was Andrew Bynum who was drafted at the age of 17 years and 249 days. During his first game, however, he was 18 years and 6 days old, still the youngest NBA player ever. Currently, some NBA teams rely entirely on their young stars and try to build a future around them. Basketball is a team sport and you can be the second, third, or whatever coming of Michael Jordan, you won’t win games alone.

Luka Doncic is The Best NBA Player Under 23

The Slovenian basketball player already had an impressive resume before he even entered the NBA. He amassed a long list of achievements during his time in the EuroLeague and Liga ACB. He won the EuroLeague MVP in 2018 and declared for the NBA draft later that year. Doncic has been nothing but exceptional since then. The Dallas Mavericks are currently on a 6-game win streak and have the number five spot in the Western Conference rankings. Even though Luka was drafted as the 3rd pick in the 1st round, he had his doubters. Many people believed he couldn’t make it in the NBA. But here we are, he’s one of the best players in the league, a top 5 U23 player, and is considered the future face of the NBA by analysts and critics alike. To prove our point, even more, let’s take a look at his stats.

Luka Doncic is currently averaging 24.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 9.0 APG on 44-32-72 shooting. While he’s not as efficient as in the previous two seasons, there’s still a long way to go until the playoffs. If he continued at this level, chances are he’d make the Hall of Fame at the end of his career. But if he can improve he has the potential to become one of the greatest of all time. Dončić is only in his 4th NBA season but he was already selected as an All-Star twice, made the All-NBA First Team twice, and won Rookie of the Year in 2019. The Dallas Mavericks also entered their game against the New York Knicks on January 13 with -135 odds, according to Everygame Sportsbook. Luka is 2nd in the All-Star voting among Western guards so he will most definitely make the team again this year.

LaMelo Ball is Only 20 But Already a Top 5 NBA Player under 23

The youngest of the three Ball brothers has been in the spotlight for a long time. He was taught how to play basketball from an early age by his father. In most competitions throughout his childhood, he faced older opponents. NBA scouts have been looking at him for a long time before he entered the league in 2020. He played with his two brothers in his high school freshman year and finished the season undefeated. The massive social media popularity that surrounds him is mainly due to his father, Lavar, his oldest brother, Lonzo, and their reality show. For the past couple of years, LaMelo and the Ball family had a lot of haters but the now 20-year old guard managed to silence them all. LaMelo is the star player of the Charlotte Hornets and also won Rookie of the Year last season. 

The Charlotte Hornets are currently 7th in the Eastern Conference and LaMelo plays a big part in this. In his sophomore year, he’s currently averaging 19.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 7.6 APG on 42-37-88 shooting. He massively improved his free throw shooting, increasing his average by over 10% from last year. The Hornets missed the playoffs last year but they’re looking more like a team this time around. The competition in the East is really strong this season and many teams are inches away from changing their standings. LaMelo and co. are on a 4-game win streak as of January 13. What’s more impressive is that they recently beat Philadelphia and the Bucks twice. According to Everygame Sportsbook, the Hornets are the second favorites to win the Southeast Division with +750, just behind Miami. The youngest Ball brother is a already one of the top 5 U23 NBA players.

Ja Morant is Making a Strong Case For The Best NBA Player Under 23

Morant and the Grizzlies have been on a tear lately, defeating the top teams in the league along their incredible journey. Memphis is first in the Southwest Division and fourth in the Western Conference rankings. This will most likely change soon and they’ll surely secure a higher position as it seems nothing can stop them. According to online sportsbooks in the US, the latest power rankings have the Grizzlies at the number two spot, just behind Golden State. They also have the longest win streak in the NBA currently, having won 10 straight games. While the Memphis team contains some important pieces, Ja Morant shines the brightest among them all. Everyone knew how good the 22-year old guard was but no one expected him and the Grizzlies to put on such a stellar performance. Let’s see just how good this young talent is.

This is only Ja’s third season in the NBA but it looks like he’s trying to prove that not only he is one of the best U23 players in the league, but one of the best overall players too. He constantly improved himself throughout the past seasons and this one is his best so far. Morant’s averaging 24.9 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 6.7 APG on 49-38-77 shooting. While his percentages might look a bit flat, he has a massive effect on the court. Besides assists, he improved in every major statistical category from the previous season. It also looks like he’s making a strong case for the All-Star game this year. Ja was 3rd amongst Western guards according to the latest All-Star voting news. Besides the real league, Morant is also one of the top options for DFS basketball players and among the top 5 NBA U23 players.

Anthony Edwards is The Future of the Timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves have been a bit strange in recent years but they struck gold with Anthony Edwards. The currently 20-year old guard was drafted as the 1st pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and has been great ever since. Edwards won three Rookie of the Month awards in his first year in the NBA but what he’s doing right now is much more impressive. He managed to improve in virtually almost every category. Points, rebounds, assists, shooting percentages, steals, blocks, and his plus-minus doubled too. Edwards is putting up 22.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 3.7 APG on 44-37-79 shooting. Even with teammates like Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russel, he looks like the heart and soul of the Timberwolves. The sophomore brings some much-needed fresh energy to Minnesota and the team has already improved from last season.

Top 5 NBA Players Under 23
Picture Source: Wikimedia Commons

Even though the Timberwolves are currently 20-21 and the 9th seed in the West, many people believe that they can make the playoffs. And we wholeheartedly agree with that. Minnesota has a young roster that can reward them in the future if they play their cards right. Anthony Edwards was top 10 in recent All-Star voting standings. According to online sportsbook news in the US, Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns are the only immovable pieces when it comes to trade talks. The Wolves are considering adding Ben Simmons but they will not depart from Anthony Edwards. Keeping the generational young talent of Ant should be a top priority of the team and at least they’re doing this right. He’s not only one of the top 5 U23 NBA players but one of the most exciting to watch as well.

Darius Garland Rises in Popularity Due to Recent Performances

There are many good NBA players under the age of 23 and Darius Garland he’s got to be top 5 on that list. Despite being only in his third season one could argue that the soon-to-be 22-year-old is the most important piece on the Cavaliers roster. Cleveland surprised everybody this season with their performance. From the 13th seed with a 22-50 record in 2020-2021, they are currently 6th in the East with 24-18. Not even half the season is gone and they already have a better record than last year.

There are many young talents on the Cavaliers like Jarrett Allen, Lauri Markkanen, Evan Mobley, Collin Sexton, and so on. They do a good job of balancing veteran talent and future potential. Garland is not necessarily the media superstar like some others on this list but his impact is very visible on the court.

Darius Garland has been making steady progress over the years. He’s seen improvements in almost all statistical categories. The young guard is currently averaging 19.1 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 7.6 APG on 46-37-91 shooting. He’s been extremely important for the Cavaliers this season. The unfortunate injury of Ricky Rubio could shake some things up but hopefully, the Cavs can keep it together. They have a great shot at making the playoffs if they keep up this performance. Recent online sportsbook news in the US report an increase in Garland’s popularity across the league and many are hoping to see the guard make his first All-Star appearance this year. Even Utah Jazz superstar Donovan Mitchell voiced his support for Darius, saying “what he’s doing is next-level”. He’s definitely one of the top 5 U23 NBA players.

You can discover more about Everygame Sportsbook here 

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