Nothing like a little Friday afternoon basketball debate in my opinion and today we have a choice between four pretty dominant young players. All bring something unique to the table, all took some pretty legit leaps this season, and you could argue all five are max players in today's NBA. So who would you eliminate? Well, let's look at each one individually first
Stats: 26.1/4.2/6.6/0.7 on 48/36% splits with 2.0 3PM and a 114 Ortg / 115 Drtg
Of the four, Booker is in my opinion the best pure scorer of the group. He's 12th in the NBA in scoring while being 18th in FGA. Of all the players in the league to average at least 25 points a night and shoot at least 48% from the floor, Devin Booker takes the fewest shots of them all. The other names on that list? Gianns, AD, LeBron. That's it.
But for anyone who has watched Booker recently, you'll notice he's becoming a much better passer. Back to back seasons over 6 assists, he's not just the scorer that he may have been in his first few years in the league. He's becoming more well rounded, and is just 23. That's pretty scary.
Stats: 16.2/10.5/5.1/1.2/1.3 on 56% shooting with a 117 Ortg / 106 Drtg
When it comes to Bam, he's probably the most complete player of the four. He doesn't have the offensive scoring production as the others because that's not his role, but he's a huge reason why the Heat are where they are this year. I'd argue he's the second or third best passing big man in the entire league, defensively he's a monster and he's most likely going to win this year's MIP award. The one thing he's missing right now is a three point shot, he's taken just 13 this year after only 15 last year, but he's so young you have to imagine that's coming eventually.
Stats: 23.6/7.5/3.6/1.0/0.9 on 45/35% splits with 2.2 3PM and a 108 Ortg / 105 Drtg
Spicy P broke out last year and he more than backed it up this year as the face of the Raptors. Just as devastating even without Kawhi which to me means a lot. He's also the most proven of any of these guys on the biggest stage when things matter most. Do you realize he put up 19.8/7.5/3.7 on 50% shooting in the Finals last year? He might be the oldest of everyone, but he's improved basically every season and as developed into a legit #1 option. He shows up on both ends, he's a real threat from three now, and his spin move is one of the more unstoppable moves in the league.
Stats: 24.3/6.3/4.3/1.0/0.7 on 46/38% splits with 2.4 3PM and 112 Ortg / 112 Drtg
Few players in the entire NBA made the type of leap that Ingram made this season in NO. The biggest development has to be his outside shot, essentially going form being a non factor in LA (2.0 3PA on 32%), to a real weapon with the Pelicans. Once he got htat down, it opened up everything else in his game. He's also a legit playmaker and at his size that's a real positive sign. He's playing for a max deal this summer and nothing we saw suggests the Pelicans shouldn't give it to him. He has work to do on the defensive end, but his offensive arsenal is legit as hell.
You can play him at the 3 or the 4 if you go small ball, and if he ever figures out the defensive end of the floor, Ingram is going to be a two way monster.
So, who would I eliminate? Well, there's no way I'm getting rid of Spicy P. He's a proven stud when it matters most. I'm also not cutting Bam considering he does pretty much everything well outside of shooting threes. That basically means it comes down to Ingram or Booker. Both have issues defensively, but I can't ignore the fact that Booker is the better passer, more efficient scorer. It really comes down to who I think has the higher ceiling, and for me that's Ingram. I just think there's a better chance he figures out how to play defense compared to Booker. I'm willing to sacrifice the offensive efficiency dip and play making dip for that type of two way talent.
That means I'm keeping Siakam/Bam/Ingram and cutting Booker.
So now I'll ask you. One has to go, so who you rolling with?