The NBA bubble was the ultimate showcase of top quality players that thrived when it mattered the most. It also exposed those that crumbled and withered during crunch time.
Those who fall in the former category are the likes of Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell, Luka Doncic, and Jayson Tatum. The latter group includes Paul George and Pascal Siakam.
One thing common to those that thrived is their young age. When NBA executives were asked to choose a player they would want to build a team around, their decision was unanimous.
The NBA executives were asked to choose a player under 25 years old to build with a team from the ground up. Their first pick overall was Luka Doncic. The young Slovenian player is proving to be too much to handle for the rest of the league.
At such a young age, he has the playing style of a veteran whose only goal is to win night in and night out. In the bubble, Luka Doncic put in easy triple-doubles just like a normal day in the office. He also broke down defenses that created beautiful and open shots for the rest of the Mavs’ team. One scout said,
“He’s a guy who can be a lead ballhandler. He’s good enough to score and create at a high level, has the right mental makeup, and is incredibly smart. Luka has been a winner everywhere and will probably be a winner in the league.”
Jayson Tatum, who’s currently battling for a spot in the Finals, came in second in the voting. He has flourished into a superstar capable of carrying a team deep into the Playoffs. Tatum is also a Mamba-trained athlete whose mentality has been honed to be vicious.
Devin Booker, another Kobe-trained professional, came in third in the voting. Booker helped the Phoenix Suns go unbeaten in the bubble. Unfortunately, even with a solid 9-0 record, they still failed to land the eighth spot in the West. His future with the Suns hangs in the balance as he may find greener pastures somewhere else to win.
Ja Morant, on the other hand, came in at the fourth place. The reigning Rookie of the Year winner is also a promising talent for the NBA’s future. He and his team were initially written off even before the season began. However, he proved doubters wrong by taking the Grizzlies to what could have been his rookie-debut in the Playoffs.
Image from Chris Smoove/ YouTube thumbnail
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