LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 18: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of Team Stephen goes for the lay up in the third quarter, during the 2018 NBA All-Star Game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on February 18, 2018. (Photo by Philip Pacheco/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

 

Over the past decade, LeBron James has been the best player in the NBA. He has been the most dominant player and his name is even in the conversation for greatest of all time. James, however, is aging and in five years likely won’t be the same dominant force he is today. The title of the leagues best player will go to someone else and they will become the face of the NBA. The question still remains who that player will be. Is it going to be a current player or one from a future generation? Let’s break it all down below:

 

Who Will Be The Best NBA Player in Five Years?

Candidates to take over:

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo is the likely favorite at this point to be the face of the NBA. His rare blend of size, speed, power, and vision paired with his defensive ability makes him a force to be reckoned with. He has had consistent improvement every year that he has been in the league and has worked to become a basketball superstar. This year he is currently averaging 27.4 points, 12.5 rebounds, and just under 6 assists per game as well as being one of the top MVP candidates. The only real negative to his case for best player is his lack of ability to shoot the ball from range. He is only shooting around 24% from beyond the arc this season and this has been an obvious weak point throughout the course of his career. When you look back on some of the best players in history such as Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and LeBron James they all have one thing in common. They were all good shooters. So while he is the current favorite there are still a couple of obstacles for him to overcome.

Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid will be a very popular choice, he is a dominant player and has a unique social media presence. He was very hyped up when he entered the league back in 2015, however, injuries held him back for the majority of his first two seasons. When he did step onto the court it was clear that he was going to be a difference maker and a star for years to come. This season however he has taken his dominance to a whole new level. He is currently averaging 27.5 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. On top of those stats, he has consistently been dominant against other top centers in the league. Unlike Antetokounmpo, he has developed a three-point shot which just adds to his already impressive skill set. The thing that might hold him back is if health becomes a factor, but overall he is incredibly dominant.

Kyrie Irving

Fans love a player who can perform incredible dribble moves, make unbelievable shots, and just put on a show every night. That is exactly what Kyrie Irving does on a night in night out basis. He is a fan favorite who consistently puts up impressive numbers and looks great while doing it. At age 26 he still has plenty of good years left ahead of him and in five years could easily be the face of the NBA. Currently, Irving is averaging 24.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game. While these numbers are impressive, they aren’t quite as dominant compared to the likes of Antetokounmpo and Embiid. Kyrie is a threat to take over games offensively and provides a much-needed spark to his team. The one area that could hinder Irving from being the face of the NBA is his defense. While there isn’t anything to complain about when it comes to his defense he isn’t known for it. Compared to the others listed he is clearly the worst defensive player. Traditionally the face of the league has been an all-around player with very few weaknesses. While Kyrie does have a chance he is not the most dominant out of the players listed.

Current or Future College Player

Right now there are several worthy candidates who could overtake LeBron as the NBA’s best player. However, there are also a lot of young talented players in college and in high school. One stands out above the rest, and that is Zion Williamson. His mix of pure athleticism with the ability to shoot has made him unstoppable at the college level. However, without seeing Zion or any other of these talented prospects at the pro level there is no real way to tell whether they can challenge LeBron for the throne.

Final Decision

At this point, Antetokounmpo should be the overall favorite to become the league’s best player. He dominates the game every time he is out on the court. His rare mix of size, speed, and athleticism make him the perfect prototypical player. He has a small weakness in shooting from range, but his strengths far outweigh his one small imperfection. This is by no means set in stone as there are many incredible players in the NBA right now with more to come.

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