"The best way to predict your future is to create it." Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln High School Statesman

"The best way to predict your future is to create it." Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln High School Statesman

"The best way to predict your future is to create it." Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln High School Statesman

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NBA face of the league:

Who’s up next?
“Luka Magic” shooting a tough mid-range fadeaway shot versus the Cleveland Cavaliers
Photo used with permission by Wikimedia Commons/Erik Drost.
“Luka Magic” shooting a tough mid-range fadeaway shot versus the Cleveland Cavaliers

The NBA is always looking for the new “face of the league.” LeBron James has been that since he entered the NBA in 2003, but the league has been searching for someone new for him to pass the torch to. Players such as Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid have cemented themselves at the top of the league but are not as fun to watch or as charismatic as previous superstars. So, the league has looked to the next generation, to young, talented individuals who win games, have an explosive play style and someone likable off the court. 

The most likely candidate to take over the NBA is the superstar from Slovenia, Luka Doncic. This season he is currently first in the league in scoring and third in the league in assists. All of this being done at the young age of 24 is pretty much unheard of in the NBA. On top of that, he can create electric plays that are fun to watch for the casual viewer. He can throw a no-look pass or make a 32-foot circus shot. A lot of the plays he makes look impossible to the normal American, hence the nickname, “Luka Magic”. While he has not had a ton of success in the playoffs yet, he is very young and is one of the most entertaining players in the league on and off the court. 

Next in line is the point guard of the OKC Thunder, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (SGA for short). SGA has come out of nowhere for many people who casually keep up with the NBA. But the people who watched Thunder games before last season know he has always been a hooper. He is third in the league in scoring this year while also tallying 2.3 steals per game. That is first in the NBA by a large margin for someone who is not recognized as one of the best defenders in the league. He is a lanky, 25-year-old, 3-level scorer who can use his ball-handling skills to get anywhere on the court and make incredibly difficult shots. He is below Doncic on this list because of his lack of playoff experience. This is largely due to his team being very bad and in a rebuilding stage. It finally paid off this year and the Thunder are currently the 2nd seed in the Western Conference. Fans are going to be in for a treat this year watching SGA in the playoffs.

For the last player on this list, it was very difficult to choose. There are a ton of talented young players in the league that could have made it. A few being Tyrese Haliburton, Victor Wembanyama, Jayson Tatum and Ja Morant. In the end, it was Anthony Edwards who came out on top. Edwards is the definition of “having that dog in him,” he talks trash to his opponents and can dunk over anybody in the league. He is one of the most talented scorers in the league at just 22 years old while also being able to lock up on defense when he is engaged. Edwards has had some problems off the court with his homophobic comments and recently forced someone he got pregnant to get an abortion. He has repeatedly apologized for his actions but will never fully be forgiven by some. On the flip side, his funny, charismatic personality makes him arguably the most likable guy in the league. His explosive style of play just adds on to that. Some people even say he could be Michael Jordan’s long-lost son. Like the two players ahead of him, Edwards has not won very many playoff games, but like Doncic he has had very impressive performances in the postseason when given the opportunity. While he may not be at the top of the league just yet, his personality and killer mentality on the court make him a likely candidate for the job.

Nobody knows what is going to happen, injuries and bad decisions can ruin a potential superstar’s career. But these three players have all the tools necessary to inspire the next generation of basketball players around the world and be successful for the next decade. 

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About the Contributor
Cooper Schultz, Staff Writer
Cooper Schultz is a junior, first-year staff writer for the Statesman.  He also considers himself the #1 Minnesota sports fan and an Anthony Edwards enthusiast. When he is not watching Justin Jefferson Highlights, he is playing golf or basketball. Schultz is enrolled in the Spanish Immersion program and is a proud member of the JV golf team. 
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