The top tier players in the NBA are getting older, and the younger stars are taking advantage of this new era.
It’s an exciting time to be a basketball fan. The sport is at a strange time where some of the greatest players of all time are starting to fade away as they age. We are witnessing all of the power in the NBA sway to the younger era, and it’s pretty nuts what the next couple of years could be. Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony were all dominant players throughout the 2010s who have gotten older, and their dominance is now in the past. All of these players are above 35 years old. This change in power throughout the NBA has introduced young breakout stars on different teams, which has been difficult to get used to after growing up and watching pure dominance by well-known players. Now, they are not even in “most valuable player” conversations.
Young stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic, Jason Tatum, and Ja Morant, to name a few, are all breathtaking young talents who are already changing the history of the league right in front of our eyes. Since the 2020 season, many newly drafted players who showed high promise before the NBA have established themselves as young stars. For some, it’s exciting, but for others, it raises many questions for the next couple of basketball seasons. The sport is at an all-time high in player talent, and high-scoring games have brought the excitement back to regular season games, which makes it exciting to watch basketball as someone who loves the game. This season will be incredibly important because this year has shown a complete shift in the powerhouse teams that have dominated for years. For example, the Warriors just won their first away game after ten away games. The Lakers are averaging 22% from three-point range, finally giving the league a new opening to teams with younger players who could also be in the conversation for a championship this year.
So, what teams and players could realistically take the chip this season? In the Eastern conference, the Bucks continue to dominate as well as the Celtics. As of November 27th, they are at the top of the conference, which isn’t surprising. However, the Cavaliers have taken massive strides since last season due to a trade for Donovan Mitchell. He has been balling to start the season, averaging 29 points a game while carrying a young, talented team that arguably could be seen in the Finals this year. Also, the Indiana Pacers, who were considered a bottom-five team before this season, have skyrocketed up to the fourth seed with younger players who all show potential to grow over the next few years. These two teams playing with house money are now surpassing everyone’s expectations.
In the Western conference, the Utah Jazz, thought to be tanking before this season, at one point had a record of 10-2 and were the best team in the league, which was shocking because they were expected to be one of the worst. And Lauri Markkanen, who before this year was labeled a massive draft bust, has proved many people wrong. This Jazz team has been surprising, but the Lakers, Mavericks, and Warriors are all outside the top eight teams after the first 20 games, which has been the talk of the year. The idea of James or Curry potentially winning another championship sounds foolish at this point into the season. But the reality is that the older players aren’t capable of carrying teams on their backs anymore, and it’s up to the new generation of hoopers in the NBA to write their history. The NBA is an exciting place right now because it’s anybody’s game to become the next dynasty, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.