This article features the point guards in the NBA age 23 and younger as part of our Emerging Stars series. See who we had on the list last year for comparison.
1. Ben Simmons
All it took was 7 electric months playing in the NBA for Ben Simmons to show why he was the consensus number one pick of his draft. Mr. Australia is already making passes that few others can match. His vision combined with his athleticism make him an elite playmaker in transition. But what was even more impressive was his defensive chops in year one. Simmons held his own against some of the toughest matchups in the league, minus D-Wade that is…
Ben averaged an absurd 15/8/8 line and he could very well become the youngest player to ever to average a triple double in a season.
Simmons looks like an absolute beast this summer, so don’t be surprised if Philly takes another couple steps forward in 2019 behind their point guard of the future.
2017-18 Avgs: 15.8 PPG, 8.2 APG, 8.1 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 0.9 BPG
54.5% FG, 0.00% 3P, 56% FT
2. Jamal Murray
Jamal Murray plays beyond his years.
Jamal has a plethora of moves on the perimeter and around the cup which make him a tough cover. Considering he’s still 22 and he’s playing with one of the best playmaking bigs ever in Nicola Jokic, Murray has significant room to improve. The future is bright for Denver and if Murray takes the next step this year they have a chance to have an ELITE one-two punch in a stacked western conference.
Also, don’t let his craftiness deceive you, the kid can straight up bounce.
2017-18 Avgs: 16.7 PPG, 3.4 APG, 3.7 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 0.3 BPG
45.1% FG, 37.8% 3P, 91% FT
3. Lonzo Ball
Despite the inconsistent shooting and injury concerns we believe Lonzo can be a revolutionary player in LA.
Lonzo is already an elite passer and playmaker. In a league that likes pace, he pushes the tempo more than anyone on this list. On top of that Lonzo already has the frame and IQ to be an above-average defender and rebounder as a point guard. As a rookie, Ball averaged 7 boards to go along with nearly 2 steals and a block. These stats may not jump off the page but as a 20 year old these numbers project the two-way monster Ball can turn into.
Adding Rondo and Lebron, two of the best rebounding/passers of the past generation, gives Lonzo a wealth of experience and knowledge to pull from. Ball coupled with fellow budding star Brandon Ingram could make up a dangerous tandem for years to come.
2017-18 Avgs: 10.2 PPG, 7.2 APG, 6.9 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 0.8 BPG
36.0% FG, 30.5% 3P, 45.1% FT
4. Dennis Smith
Despite tearing his ACL not too long ago, DSJ actually looks like a more explosive athlete three short years later. Smith averaged 2.8 turnovers last year which is one point he can improve on but these missteps are natural growing pains for any rookie guard.
Smith immediately became a leader for the struggling Mavericks last season. Rick Carlisle, not known for his rapport with young guys, went on record praising Smith’s growth and development. If he can improve his jumper and tighten up his handle and passing, Smith could be a great point guard for years to come.
2017-18 Avgs: 15.2 PPG, 5.2 APG, 3.8 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 0.3 BPG
39.5% FG, 31.3% 3P, 69.4% FT
5. Markelle Fultz
Renowned trainer Drew Hanlen just went on record saying of Fultz “I think he’s immediately an All-Star.” This statement confirms rumblings of a revamped jumpshot which is the last piece of the puzzle for Fultz.
Markelle is already a very good slasher and passer, and his work in the pick-and-roll last year was promising. Philly has two players on this list which should be exciting to monitor going forward. If The Sixers continue to develop their young talent they should have three players who can initiate high-quality offense.
Simmons and Fultz are a little redundant but we have no choice but to trust the process.
2017-18 Avgs: 7.1 PPG, 3.8 APG, 3.1 RPG, 0.9 SPG, 0.3 BPG
40.5% FG, 0.00% 3P, 47.6% FT
Murray made All-NBA Second Team in his impressive sophomore campaign. After DeRozan, Murray may very well be San Antonio’s second best player next year. His combination of size, speed, and footwork make him a pesky defender and nifty transition scorer. If Murray can improve his outside shot I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the 2019 MIP argument.
After a rough year in 2017-18 D’Lo slipped a couple spots in our emerging ranks. Still, at only 22 he has upside as a scorer and playmaker. Russell was banged up last year, and after a hot start he wound up averaging less points(15.5) than he did in his last campaign with the Lakers(15.6).
With the Nets looking to move up in the Eastern ranks D’Lo could finally be primed for the breakout season we’ve been waiting for since his Ohio State days. Russell’s three-point shooting has been inconsistent as a pro but if he can get closer to his 41% shooting in college I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on his first all-star team.
Fox is as quick as anyone on this list and with new addition Marvin Bagley he should have more firepower surrounding him in 2019. Fox’s lefty runner has already translated in the NBA, and should continue to be a go-to move for him. If Fox can stay healthy an develop his outside shot don’t be surprised if he climbs a couple spots on this list.
Frank is extremely unselfish on offense and he’s already elite on defense. His length and smooth shooting mechanics are the perfect foundation for the modern point guard and a nice fit next to Porzingis. Ntilikina really needs to work on his core strength and handle in the offseason to take his game to the next level but his ceiling is definitely higher than some other guys on this list.
How does Lo Ball contribute without the ball? LBJ and Rondo are historically ball dominant players. Yet, there’s only one Spalding to go around.
I like Murray among this bunch, until Simmons ‘emerges’ from bricklayer anywhere outside the key.
Good 2-for-1 entry…Go Dubs!
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Appreciate the insight as always.
Lonzo has the athleticism to become an effective cutter, working next to two incredible passers. Everyone’s game expands next to the King, who is capable of generating open looks for anybody. Why can’t Lonzo benefit from a switch off the ball?
Were Lonzo a reliable shooter, I’d agree with your comments. Very smart player, still I believe his unorthodox release will continue to hurt his results.