While the 2017 NBA draft was loaded with talent, it’s important to remember there are many other electrifying young players soon to come.
These players in the “next generation” may soon dominate in the league and will enter the NBA in the next few seasons.
Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri Tigers, 19)
While he was long expected to play for the Washington Huskies much like 2017 NBA No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz, he switched schools when the program fired Lorenzo Romar. Now he and younger brother Jontay Porter will play at Missouri next season. ESPN described him as a hybrid of Kevin Durant and Kevin Garnett and he is a nearly unanimous top-overall selection in most early mock drafts.
Mohamed Bamba (Texas Longhorns, 19)
One of the top-five prospects in his class, the 7-foot center is committed to play at Texas next season. Bamba has a 7-foot-9 wingspan and a 9-foot-6 standing reach – both longer than what Shaquille O’Neal recorded in 1992. Except he’s also much quicker on his feet. According to SB Nation, the big man considered attending Harvard and has twice attended MIT’s Sports Analytics Conference. His defensive prowess will be a huge asset for the Longhorns and whatever NBA team eventually lands him.
Luka Doncic (Real Madrid Baloncesto, 18)
Last season, the basketball star helped Real Madrid reach the Euroleague Final Four. A statistical analyst for one professional team told The Ringer that Doncic is the second-best player in the world who is not currently playing in the NBA. He has already received comparisons to Larry Bird, which is obviously nothing short of amazing.
DeAndre Ayton (Arizona Wildcats, 18)
During his senior year of high school, Ayton averaged 19.8 points per game with 12.0 rebounds as one of the most efficient players in the country. Born in the Bahamas, the 7-foot-1 basketball star is considered by Scout to be the top player in the nation. Along with rising junior Allonzo Trier, Ayton could make Arizona one of the most exciting college basketball teams in the nation next season.
Marvin Bagley III (Sierra Canyon High School, 18)
Even though he is considered the top prospect in the Class of 2019, it now seems possible Bagley may reclassify as an incoming freshman to instead play college basketball next season. Once high school teammates with Ayton, the 6-foot-10 power forward is now considered likely to attend Duke next year. With 32 points and 11 rebounds, he recently outscored NBA All-Star DeMar DeRozan in a Drew League game.
Bol Bol (California’s Mater Dei High School, 17)
As the son of Sudanese-born, 7-foot-7 former NBA player Manute Bol (who passed away in 2010), he is a naturally gifted high-school stud. He is 7-foot-2 and an impressive shooter, even from long distance. He also plays for the Cal Supreme Elite AAU team with Shareef O’Neal, the son of Shaquille O’Neal. With offers from major collegiate programs including Kentucky, there is a bright future for the developing young talent.
RJ Barrett (Florida’s Montverde Academy, 17)
The Canadian-born Barrett, like Australian-born Ben Simmons, is another international prospect to play high school basketball at Montverde. Barrett led his country to defeat the United States at the FIBA U19 World Cup. The left-handed young star took home tournament MVP and at 6-foot-7, he is a near-prototype of wing players the NBA. His godfather is (literally) Steve Nash, who is a longtime friend of the family. Expect him, like Bagley to eventually reclassify and graduate a year early from high school.
Zion Williamson (South Carolina’s Spartanburg Day School, 17)
Williamson is arguably the product of a generation obsessed with highlight mixtapes on websites like Ballislife. Obviously known for his incredible dunking ability, he is also an unbelievable shot blocker and scorer. In fact, last year he broke the Chick-Fil-A Classic scoring record with 53 points and only missed three shots. Williamson also scored 51 points in his state title game.
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