The NBA has seen many young players flourish into stars and this season is no different with lots of standouts including Anthony Edwards, Scottie Barnes and Cade Cunningham. 

Anthony Edwards 

Edwards has made a great impact since the start of the season on a strong Minnesota Timberwolves side to help them reach the top spot in the Western Conference. 

The 22-year-old has averaged 25.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 35.1 minutes. He has also proven to be a solid shooter from beyond the arc with a 39.3 three-point percentage. 

Ant was the first pick in the 2020 NBA Draft due to his great ability and impressive stats. The former Georgia Bulldogs guard scored 19 points, 2.8 assists and 5.2 rebounds and he was one of the five finalists for the Jerry West Award

He had a good rookie year at the Timberwolves, but his season was overshadowed by the well-known LaMelo Ball who won rookie of the year. 

This season Edwards has improved his game further to establish himself as one of the best guards in the league. 

One recent improvement to his game is his versatility in the midrange which helps him score more consistently. Edwards shows more confidence in making buckets further away from the basket instead of constantly pushing for a highly contested layup. 

He is a fast player who charges into the paint to score layups against centres that are much larger than him. Ant can also launch off the ground quickly with little momentum which allows him to dunk the ball with ease. 

The 22-year-old uses his shoulder to push away larger defenders and create space to run forward or shoot from a distance. He is also unpredictable as the opposition are aware of his ability to shoot and drive for layups and dunks. 

Scottie Barnes 

Barnes has shown great promise since his arrival to the league. He has averaged 20.1 points, eight rebounds and 5.8 assists in just over 35 minutes so far this season. 

The Toronto Raptors selected him as the fourth overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft behind the likes of Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green. 

Despite being selected fourth, Barnes surprised many fans by winning the Rookie of the Year award and solidifying himself as a future star. 

His college season with Florida State saw him score ten points in 23.8 minutes. He also made four rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game. 

In his rookie year, the 22-year-old averaged 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 35.4 minutes. These stats were similar in his second season, but this year he has improved drastically. 

He reads the offence well and makes the correct passes to catch defenders off guard. Barnes uses fakes and looks in different directions when passing the ball to create an opportunity for teammates to score uncontested. 

Barnes is fast in transition which catches the opposition off guard and creates easy point-scoring opportunities. He also has a 7-foot-3 wingspan, which allows him to steal the ball and block attempts at the basket. 

Whilst attacking, his long reach also helps him make contested layups above defenders and adjust his arms in midair to get the ball in the basket. 

Cade Cunningham 

Cunningham has been a shining light in a struggling Detroit Pistons side averaging 22.4 points, four rebounds and 7.4 assists. 

The young guard was selected as the first overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft which put a lot of pressure on him to perform in a team that is unable to reach the playoff positions. 

In his college career, Cade scored 20.1 points in 35.4 minutes per game. He also averaged 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.6 steals. 

He is a versatile player due to his size and range of abilities, which allows him to impact both ends of the court. Cunningham also demonstrates a high basketball IQ with good vision to find teammates in open positions. He can change direction quickly which makes him difficult to stop. 

Cade also thrives in transition and helps the team score more by making unselfish plays and not forcing an attempt at the basket when highly contested. 

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About the author
Samual Gooch
Writer for VAVEL USA. Studying Sports Journalism BA Hons.