In a way, the NBA has always been a young man’s game. That seems to be true now more than ever. The league is filled with young, shining stars who are poised to dominate the league for the next decade until another crop of youngsters comes to push them aside. As we wrap up a wild and wacky 2020, let’s look at the 10 young players who will dominate the NBA throughout the 2020s.
Bam Adebayo, 23
As a big man, Adebayo has taken a little longer to develop, but he’s getting there. He averaged a double-double during the 2019-20 season, making a serious impact on both ends of the court. More importantly, it looks like the best is yet to come.
Devin Booker, 23
There’s no doubt that Booker has become a next-level player. After five seasons, he’s continuing to improve various parts of his game and looks poised to become a perennial all-star.
Ja Morant, 21
With Morant, there’s still a lot of projection after a pandemic-shortened rookie season. But it’s clear that the former Murray State star belongs in the NBA and will help elevate Memphis in the Western Conference hierarchy.
Donovan Mitchell, 24
After making the All-Star Team this year, it’s clear that Mitchell has arrived as one of the league’s top scorers. He might be close to his plateau, but 24 points per game isn’t a bad place to level out.
Jayson Tatum, 22
Tatum is coming along nicely after making the All-Star Team in 2020. He made a substantial jump between his second and third seasons, putting him on track to be an impact player for many years to come.
Karl-Anthony Towns, 24
Towns has seen his star continue to rise after winning Rookie of the Year. He’s not as young as some other guys on our list, but he’s settled into being a double-double guy every night while also improving the other parts of his game.
Zion Williamson, 20
While he didn’t play in that many games as a rookie, Williamson didn’t disappoint. While he didn’t dominate from Day 1, it’s clear that there aren’t many players with his combination of size, strength, and skill. He’ll be something special one day.
Trae Young, 21
Young was good as a rookie, but now he looks like one of the best point guards in the league. Team-wise, he needs some help, but 29.6 points and 9.3 assists per game for a 21-year-old is insane.
Ben Simmons, 24
It’s fair to say that Simmons has answered all questions about him after sitting out his rookie year with an injury. He still doesn’t have much of a jump shot, but he’s also not far from averaging a triple-double. Simmons also led the NBA in steals during the 2019-20 season and is still getting better.
Luka Dončić, 21
After winning Rookie of the Year, Dončić was an all-star in his second season. Typically, only the legends accomplish that. In his second NBA season, Dončić flirted with averaging 30 points per game and had some truly spectacular moments. He was also less than one rebound per game and 1.2 assists per game from averaging a triple-double. He figures to get there eventually and be one of the league’s premier players for many years to come.