6. ANDREW WIGGINS
“He’s raw, but his ceiling is high. He can be like a Hall of Famer, All-Star, for sure. He’s good.” Kevin Durant said that after watching Wiggins defeat Jabari Parker’s Blue Devils. That quote should justify how special Wiggins is.
His numbers don’t jump out at anyone from his first few games with Kansas, but his talent is undeniable. Wiggins is averaging 14.3 points and 5.6 boards in seven games so far this season on 49 percent shooting from the field. Wiggins has been considered the No. 1 draft pick in next year’s draft for some time. However, his skill-set is still very raw, which has been obvious during his first seven games with Kansas. Looking at him now, Wiggins is probably just a shell of the player he will become. It’s funny. Everyone said that before he came to college. Now everyone’s caught up in the Parker/Randle hype and they’re calling the Canadian overrated. Huh? Most insiders expected Wiggins to start slow. Talk to us in March. Hell, talk to us in a few years.
Being called a future Hall of Famer before completing a semester in college is serious. Believe the hype about Wiggins, it’s all true.
It feels undeniable that Wiggins will be one of the best players in the NBA in five years. His length and athleticism aren’t seen often, making him a once-in-a-generation player.
5. KYRIE IRVING
For a player who only played in 11 games at Duke, Kyrie Irving has established quite the reputation in his third NBA season. Famous for tucking Brandon Knight to bed on the cold hardwood during the Rising Stars Challenge last season, Irving’s insane handles are something that can’t even be recreated on the streets of Rucker Park. But, Uncle Drew’s game isn’t all about being flashy, he knows what it takes to get the job done. Irving is averaging 20.6 points and 5.9 assists this season with the fourth-highest usage rate at 31.5 percent. Even more impressive, Irving is second in the league in “clutch” points, which come during the last five minutes of the game. Irving has scored 44 clutch points this season, pacing superstars like James Harden and Kevin Durant.
The Cavs will continue to build talent around Irving in the coming years, which will only propel Kyrie Irving’s talent to another level. In a league filled with great point guards, Irving’s name is never forgotten, even at such a young juncture in his career. Imagine what it will be like in five years. Kyrie should have a stranglehold on the top point guard position in the NBA, if he can avoid the crazy injury bug. Five years from now, perhaps no one in Cleveland will be lobbying to bring LeBron back because Kyrie Irving will have Cleveland worshipping a new “King.”
4. PAUL GEORGE
The NBA’s Most Improved Player from last season might just mess around and be the MVP this season. LeBron James’ throne has been under the watchful eyes of George since his explosion in the playoffs last season. But, with the way George is playing, the crown might be in Indiana in no time.
I don’t know what took Paul George so long to breakout, but there’s no doubt he has arrived. He’s already averaging 24.9 PPG this season and just had an absurd 43-point performance (53.3 percent shooting) in a crazy 106-102 loss to Damian Lillard and company the other night. That Game 7 Eastern Conference Finals loss to LeBron James has ignited a fire in George that won’t be turned down. But, what will he look like in five years? Even better.
George’s scoring average has increased substantially since his rookie year in the league. From 7.8 to 12.1 to 17.4 and now he stands at 24.9; his scoring increased four points from his rookie to sophomore seasons, five points from his second to third year and now an astronomical 7.5 points from last year to this season. Talk about improvement. It’s terrifying to think that in five years, George will only be 28, the same age LeBron is right now. George has a cold-blooded killer instinct that can’t be taught, as well as his length, athleticism, shooting, defense and every other category in the book. It’s honestly hard to pick a flaw in his game. Seriously, think about it. Personally, I think he’s the closest thing this era will see to LeBron James.
Is it crazy to think Paul George could have a ring and an MVP in five years? Nope, not at all. He’s been playing at such a high level since the playoffs last season and continued it into this season. Paul George has officially arrived and he will continue to get better. He’s already a superstar and by the end of this season, we could be talking about one of the league’s five or six best players.