This season there have been many NBA players who have taken the next step in there NBA careers. Some of the steps have been more drastic than other, but either way, it is very exciting to watch a young player transform into a star right in front of us. It is exciting knowing that these players will turn out to be the faces of the league in a couple of years and some of them we do not even expect. This season there have been many players who have emerged to be young stars.
Luka Doncic is 20 years old. Yes, he is 20. Last season, he won Rookie of The Year while averaging 21, 6, and 8. That stat line for a rookie was very impressive and many already believed he would become a star in this league. No one expected him to take the jump that he did from last year to this year. He is now averaging 29, 9.7, and 10. He is less than one assist away from averaging a triple-double in his sophomore season. On the 25th, he put up 40+ points for second time in the last 4 games, and in the other two he put up 30+ points. He is doing this while shooting 50% from the field which is very efficient. Luka is a young star, very quickly rising into a superstar in this league and will be one of the faces of it for many years to come.
One big question lingers in the Lakers heads right now. Was trading Brandon Ingram a mistake? Last season with the Lakers, he averaged 18 PPG(Points Per Game) on 49% shooting. So far this season, he is averaging 26 PPG on 51% shooting. Coming out of college, Ingram was being compared to Kevin Durant and was highly expected to produce early and become a star in this league. He did not live up to expectations, by his 3rd season he was not breaking 20 PPG and already about to be traded from the team that drafted him. Ingram is finally able to shine and have the spotlight in New Orleans, and he has been loving it this season. He is averaging a career high in every category and has improved from 33% to 46% from three this season. He is finally starting to play how everyone thought he would, and he is very fun to watch. The Lakers may regret trading him a few years down the line but that is an answer we will not get for a while.
Andrew Wiggins is widely considered a bust after coming into the league with superstar potential, being traded for Kevin Love, and then not producing but two 20+ PPG season in his previous five seasons in the NBA. The past two he has not scored 20+ PPG either. He has not been producing offensively, while shooting with horrible efficiency, and he has been lackluster on defense as well. This season, while still shooting a low percentage from three, he has improved his field goal percentage by 5% and increased his PPG from 18 to 25 this year. He is finally starting to show is upside after a very slow previous two years, and if he can keep this up all year or even just improve his efficiency, he can be a star in this league, as he still has an enormous amount of potential.
While a sophomore player rarely ever wins or receives votes for the MIP award, Shai-Gilgeous Alexander has had a excellent start to this season. Last season, he got the credit he deserved as a rookie, as many considered him to be a top 5 rookie of last season. This year, he has improved from 10 PPG to 19 PPG, which alone is incredible. This year, he has improved 4% from the three and still shoots 45% from the field. After being traded to the Thunder in the Paul George deal, he has seen a new opportunity and absorbed a new role, which he is currently thriving in. He is going to continue to improve throughout the season and throughout his career. He is bound to be a star in this league and this season is just a glimpse of the potential he holds.
The NBA has a very bright future. Once stars like Lebron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Steph Curry are gone there are many young stars who will emerge as new faces of the league. This year we have gotten glimpses of what the future of the NBA will look like and what some of the young stars can do. Even names not mentioned here such as Luke Kennard, Devonte Graham, and Malcom Brogdon are exciting young players who have taken the next step this season and shown their potential to be a star.