Next Generation: Predicting the 5 future faces of the NBA 

San Antonio Spurs v Minnesota Timberwolves
San Antonio Spurs v Minnesota Timberwolves / David Berding/GettyImages
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1. Victor Wembanyama, Center, San Antonio Spurs

Perhaps the best rookie of this century, which is saying something considering the hype he received before his arrival to the NBA, and a century that has seen the likes of LeBron James is Spurs young star Victor Wembanyama.

Wembanyama has somehow even exceeded all of the lofty expectations many pundits had for him in his rookie season as he leads all rookies in points (20.7), rebounds (10.4), steals (1.3), and the entire league in blocks (3.4) as a rookie!

He has been so good defensively that he currently is second in odds to take home Defensive Player of the Year behind Minnesota Timberwolves defensive anchor and three-time winner at that, Rudy Gobert, who's favored at -649.

Wembanyama leaves us rethinking our brains about what is possible on the basketball court with his freakish size at 7-foot-4 and length (8-foot wingspan) to go along with his guard-like skillset.
It's not only Wembanyama's size and skill that make about him an enticing option to become the clear-cut face of the league, but also his ultra-competitive nature, as he's a killer who wants to win at all costs.

The passion and genuine love for the game is there, his speech after a great performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 132-118 victory over MVP candidate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and another 7-foot unicorn in Chet Holmgren, in which he recorded 28-13-7 along with two steals and five blocks.

It's one thing to be a great basketball player; there are plenty of them, but to be the face of a brand in the NBA, you need to be able to resonate with the fans and the public and Wembanyama has that in his bag of tricks as well.

Wembanyama has written himself into the NBA record books this season by accomplishing the following:

- Youngest player to record a 5x5 game (points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks)

- Became the first rookie in NBA history to have back-to-back games of at least 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and five blocks.

-Joined fellow Spurs legends Tim Duncan and David Robinson as the only rookies in NBA history to put up at least 30 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and five blocks in a game

- 1 of 2 players in NBA history to record 200+ blocks and 100+ three-pointers in a season (Raef LaFrentz)

- First rookie since Tim Duncan to record 200+ blocks

The list could go on but that's just a few of his otherworldly achievements at just 20 years old. Wembanyama is also fearless going against the league's best, whether it was blocking Giannis Antetokounmpo coming at him with a full head of steam in their matchup in January.

Or what about his classic performance against the Los Angeles Lakers in February, right after the All-Star break against superstars Anthony Davis and LeBron James, where he stole the show, recording a whopping 27 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, five steals, and five blocks!

With Wembanyama's combination of size, skill, ability to connect with fans as a media darling (his dunk against the Celtics from the foul line was the most viewed across NBA social media platforms ever), and killer mindset to go along with the hype entering the league like one LeBron had strengthens his case as "The Next Face of the NBA."


Adam Silver and NBA fans can't help but to be grateful for the influx of a great new generation of stars leading the way currently in the league and that are on the way in the next few years. With longtime luminaries who carried the league the last 10-15 years, such as LeBron James (39), Stephen Curry (36), and Kevin Durant (35) on their way out the next few seasons, it's time for the next generation to take the mantle from their predecessors and take the game to another level.

That's the beauty of sports and time; all good things must come to an end at some point, whether that's a career, a movie, etc. But as one good thing comes to an end, there's always more great things brewing on the way. The future is now.