The current NBA landscape is absolutely stacked with rising-superstar talent.
On Tuesday afternoon, Fox Sports analyst Colin Cowherd named the top-five players he would build an NBA franchise around. Mostly naming the league’s youngest stars, he released the list on the latest edition of his show, The Herd with Colin Cowherd.
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) March 30, 2021
Starting with No. 5, Cowherd went with an older option in Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler. Cowherd’s biggest rationals for this controversial placement were Butler’s elite two-way abilities and his incredible 2020 playoff run where he took “a bunch of kids” to the NBA Finals. Despite being 31 years old, the scrappy forward clearly knows how to bring a winning culture to a franchise — making the younger players around him better.
Cowherd went even older with his next pick, placing LeBron James at No. 4. Even at 36 years old, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar has shown no signs of slowing down during his 18th NBA season. Bringing eight of his last nine teams to the NBA Finals, LeBron just knows how to make a franchise successful. With James on the court this season, the Lakers are +281. Without him, they’re -61.
No. 3 marks the beginning of the new age of NBA talent. At just 26 years old, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is firmly in the conversation for 2021 league MVP. In his sixth NBA season, the skilled big man is logging career highs in points (26.9), rebounds (11.1) and assists (8.5). With the ability to score and facilitate at every level, Jokic has the capacity to make any team markedly better.
22-year-old superstar Luka Doncic slides in at No. 2. Bursting onto the league scene in 2018, Luka has already established himself as an elite scorer in the NBA. The third-year Dallas Maverick has averaged 20+ points through each of his three seasons in the league. At this rate, Cowherd believes the two-time All-Star will finish his career as a top-three scorer in NBA history.
Finally, Cowherd has international icon Zion Williamson as his total package at No. 1.
“As an owner, I get the merchandising. As a GM, I get the efficiency. As a coach, I get the relatability and likability,” the analyst explained.
At just 20 years old, Zion has already achieved NBA superstardom — and his play is only improving. Over the past 24 games, the second-year pro has scored 20+ points in each contest. This feat marks the longest streak for any player in league history under 21 years old.
With his notoriety and talent quickly reaching elite levels, Zion’s stock as a franchise centerpiece is certainly rising.
Who would you build an NBA franchise around?