Finally Kobe Bryant And Lebron James Can Rest Easy…Class Of ’17 Got Next

The next several weeks will bring a level of comfort to the NBA and its fans that has not been experienced since 2003 when Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony first entered the league, and a new set of superstars were among us. The generation that gave us superstars like Jordan, Barkley, and Drexler could finally rest easy knowing that the bar on NBA talent was once again at it highest.  Fans have not been disappointed for the past 10 to 12 years because the league has added stars such as Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, and a host of others.  Kobe Bryant had already been in the league at that point and winning rings.  In a certain sense  he was the star that would usher in the next group of league superstars and show them what it was all about.   Since the 2000 NBA season we have had the “Big Three” in Boston, the “Detroit 5”, and the mighty Spurs and in the end,  the NBA collective had their go to stars in Kobe Bryant and Lebron James.  We have come to that point of needing a fresh set of NBA superstars to uphold the bar of expected all star level play that fans look forward to for the 8 month season.

We may not have wanted to admit it but when Kobe walked away from the game in 2016 there was a gasp in the NBA community.  Could Lebron and the reigning league of all stars keep up with the high caliber of entertainment that has become a part of what the 25 year old and up fans have come to expect?  A year later and fast forward to the summer league and we get our answer.  The highlights from the NBA summer league 2017 has been special.  And it’s not because of 50 point nights or eye-dazzling dunks but for something much more important.  The learning curve of these first and second year players is something that has not been seen since when Lebron and Carmelo entered the league. Rookies Lonzo Ball and Jayson Tatum proved this in their showdown in Vegas when the Lakers squared off against the Celtics.  Ball had a triple-double while Tatum managed to overcome a 20+ point deficit with fellow young star Jaylen Brown and get the win.  While Tatum has been pretty consistent in summer league play, Lonzo Ball had a bad showing in his debut.  But to ignite behind the ill words of the social media world and come back with a triple-double proves that he has the fortitude to make great things happen during the upcoming ’17-’18 season.

Now clearly understand that no one is deeming the draft class of 2017 the next set of NBA hall of famers, but it is common knowledge already that these guys bring on an old school fearlessness with a new age level of talent.  The heads of the class are Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum, and Josh Jackson.  They have a good support group with them in Jonathan Isaac, Dennis Smith Jr. and former Kentuckians Malik Monk and De’Aron Fox.   Add this group of rookies with the current crop of second and third year upper echelon players that are already making waves and we can finally say the league is ready if any of the Lebron-era heroes exit the game.  Furthermore the entire world of professional basketball can breathe a sigh of relief because there is definitely something special about the class of 2017.  Antagonists will try to say this “something special” phrase is cliche and used with every draft class.  I admit that it is used every year with certain players but hardly ever with draft classes as a whole.  At best this rookie class will bring the fans the brand of basketball that was a mainstay in the late 80’s and 90’s.  At worst we get a clash between the present and future that would be a classic master versus student battle.  Stay tuned…

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