When the thought of ornery players comes to mind, very few could reach the cold-heartedness of Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. They were the gold standard for turning the chips on their shoulders into playoff torture for others.
It showed in every inch of their demeanors.
This is an attitude you will see from certain veterans in this year’s postseason. But what about the young guns? Not the Trae Youngs. The 22-and-under crowd that will be looking to make an impact throughout the play-in games and the NBA playoffs.
After all, this is a league prone to prioritizing prospects over known commodities. So, why not focus on the youth who want all the basketball smoke regardless of if they are in front of a rookie or an established player.
With that in mind, it is only right to start with an honorable mention that fits the mold.
Young players to watch in the 2022 NBA Playoffs: HM. Bones Hyland, 20 y/o
“For me, every time I step on the court, I feel like I belong, every time,” Hyland said via the Denver Post. “I feel I’m a superstar.”
Words have never epitomized a rookie’s actions more than the above quote from Nah’Son ‘Bones’ Hyland. He went from tearing his patellar tendon four years ago while escaping a house fire that took the lives of his grandmother and cousin to trash-talking Russell Westbrook and the Phoenix Suns while pulling threes from 30-to-34 feet (41 percent) with no hesitation.
Hyland’s confidence did more than put attention on him. His tendency to have outbursts well above his 10.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists averages has given the Denver Nuggets an added asset with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. out.
Hyland is a name to look out for, however, the next three players are well known. What do they all have in common? They refuse to back down and have games to complement their stubbornness.