Every now and then, a young baller surges and takes the league for assault despite not being the most suited or hyped prospect, or even overplaying their high draft stock and proving the world that they were more than ready to become top-notch players in the world’s hardest competition.
And no matter how many footages you get from those youngsters in the early going, while they walk their first steps in the basketball world and make a name for themselves, these guys still find ways to amaze and dominate the game even against all odds.
For some of them, it’s still pretty early to wonder how their careers are going to pay off, but seeing what we’ve seen and barring a catastrophe, we can definitely assure that they’re not only the best of their class but also some of the best ballers in the history of the game.
Today, we’ll let you know our top featuring the best guy in each draft, obviously excluding the 2017 class and also the 2016 prospects considering they haven’t shown enough in the hardwood to be considered elite quite yet.
Karl-Anthony Towns (2015 NBA Draft)
Karl-Anthony Towns was one of the most hyped prospects coming out of college and the guy everybody in Minnesota expected to get to play alongside another top prospect Andrew Wiggins, and so far he hasn’t missed a bit since being drafted 1st overall in the 2015 NBA Draft, leading the team despite being one of the youngest players in the Association.
Towns has shown heart, courage, hard work and improvement, combining low post old school moves with a sweet touch from mid and long range, being able to put the ball on the floor and find the open guy, averaging 21.7 points, 11.4 boards, 2.3 dimes and 1.5 blocks in over 54% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc, quite impressive numbers after just a couple of seasons in the NBA.
Andrew Wiggins (2014 NBA Draft)
Before Ben Simmons, Andrew Wiggins was perhaps the most hyped prospect in the entire nation as the second coming of LeBron James, showing vast athleticism, NBA ready defense and a very well developed body that was more than suited to make a successful adjustment from the NCAA to the majors.
So far, Wiggins has been a bit of a disappointment, as he has failed to step up when his team needs him the most, but even though he’s still a work in progress, his numbers are quite encouraging for the future as one of Minny’s young big three, averaging 20.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 dimes per contest.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (2013 NBA Draft)
Giannis Antetokounmpo has only been around the NBA for a little while and he’s already a lock to be a perennial All-Star and one of the most dominant players in the history of the Milwaukee Bucks, becoming the cornerstone of the franchise despite arriving to the league as a total misfit and a guy that might as well could’ve been drafted late in the second round.
The Greek Freak is an athletic beast that has the ability to play and guard all 5 spots in the court, a guy that’s not afraid to take the big shot and a youngster that’s way below his ceiling, improving on a yearly basis on his way to averages of 14.9 points, 6.9 boards, and 3.6 assists in almost 50% from the floor, recently achieving the Most Improved Player distinction and being challenged by Kobe Bryant to win the MVP this season.
Anthony Davis (2012 NBA Draft)
This is pretty crazy, but it seems like there have been ages since Anthony Davis first set foot on an NBA hardwood, as he’s been an incredibly dominant player on both ends of the floor with his ability to play lockdown defense against top-notch scorers while also being a very versatile and skilled scorer for his height.
Davis is a player everybody in the league would crave to get, and with the league leaning towards the perimeter and small ball, he might as well be the Golden State Warriors kryptonite, so we definitely hope he finds a way out of the New Orleans Pelicans anytime soon, as he deserves a ring as one of the league’s leading scorer and rebounder on a yearly basis, playing MVP - caliber ball but having absolutely no help alongside him.
Kawhi Leonard (2011 NBA Draft)
And last but not least, we get Kawhi Leonard, a guy not even Gregg Popovich hoped he’d become so good and especially blossom so fast, becoming the league’s best defender and improving his shooting skills to go from a really mediocre shooter with absolutely no stroke to one of the most reliable and consistent offensive options.
Leonard is a lock to be an MVP frontrunner for years while also leading the Defensive Player of the Year race, and he’s one of the main reasons why the San Antonio Spurs didn’t fall apart right after Tim Duncan’s retirement. He’s as good and hard working as it gets, and there’s no doubt there are more rings and MVPs coming Kawhi’s Way.