The level of young talent in the NBA might be the highest we've ever seen. There are so many players with unique skill sets that it seems almost impossible to identify which one will become the best of the bunch.
We asked a handful of NBA players to weigh in during All-Star weekend in New Orleans, and six different players gave us six different answers -- one of which was Ben Simmons. who has yet to play his first game in the regular season.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, selected by Dominique Wilkins
Dominique Wilkins: “I would say right now, and I don’t know if he’d be the best player in the league but he’d be in the top two or three, is Giannis Antetokounmpo. He’s a freak. He’s unbelievable. [What I like most about his game] is he can do multiple things. He can pass, he can handle the ball, he’s a great open-court player, he can get to the basket, and now he’s expanded his jump shot. And he’s long! One of the dunks they showed recently, he jumped almost from the free throw line in traffic. That was pretty amazing.”
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Kristaps Porzingis, selected by Myles Turner of the Pacers
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers: “There’s a lot of guys, man, the way the league is going, there’s bigs that can do a little bit of everything. Me and [Kristaps] Porzingis is cool, man, that’s my guy. I like everything he does, so I’ll give it to him."
Karl-Anthony Towns, selected by Brandon Ingram of the Lakers
Brandon Ingram, L.A. Lakers: “It’d have to be Karl-Anthony Towns. He’s a hard worker, everything I’ve heard about him is that he has a high character. When I was around him during the draft process, just his high character. He’s well-spoken, and that goes a long way. Just the work ethic that you have outside of the game that you see on TV.”
Brace HemmelgarnBrace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Joel Embiid (and others), selected by Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets: “I think Joel Embiid, probably, if he stays healthy. Karl-Anthony Towns, probably, because he’s just like — he can do everything. Devin Booker, he’s a great shooter. Jamal Murray. It’s literally — I cannot choose just one guy."
Devin Booker, selected by Buddy Hield of the Kings
Buddy Hield, New Orleans Pelicans Sacramento Kings: “I like Devin Booker’s game. I think he’s polished at the two-guard right now. Jamal Murray’s nice, too. He’s got that confidence. I like D’Angelo Russell, too. I’d probably say Devin Booker and those guys. I see the potential. The upside is big for them.”
Ben Simmons, selected by Shaquille O'Neal
Shaquille O'Neal: "Probably Ben Simmons, because he’ll be like a LeBron. Great body, great grasp for the game, score, pass, get guys the ball. So I’m going with Ben Simmons on that one.
"I’m like Jerry West. I can look at a guy and tell whether he’s going to be something or not. So when I first saw him, even though he didn’t have the tools out of LSU,Icould see that he has the potential to be that. And plus, you know, nobody ever gives it to a big guy. It’s never been a big guy’s league, so they always give it to the little guys. Even though you’ve got Antetokounmpo and KAT, big guys, it’s always going to be a little guy’s league.
"Joel Embiid is starting to play very well; Devin Booker could take over, too. But in five years, I’m going to have to go with Ben Simmons."