The Future of the NBA: Top Ten Prospects In The Next Three NBA Drafts

The NBA Draft is next week and features some key prospects that will help many struggling teams improve for the 2020-21 season. With that said though, this is one of the weaker drafts in recent memories.

Outside the top ten, it’s hard to see any player in this year’s draft making a big impact in year one in the league. On top of that, there are currently multiple players about to begin college or even still in high school that many general managers would likely take in the top five over some of the prospects eligible that will be selected in this year’s draft.

The future of the NBA is extremely bright though with many players having superstar potential entering the league over the next three seasons and while I only see two players with that high of a ceiling in the 2020 NBA Draft, I want to look at my favorite ten prospects over the next three NBA Drafts.

First, here’s a few players that didn’t quite make the cut, but that I feel could be very good down the line. Starting with one of the top projected picks in the 2020 Draft: Anthony Edwards. Explosive with potential to be a top ten scorer in the NBA, but at Georgia, Edwards didn’t blow people away each and every night. Worries about his drive and discipline concern many including myself keeping him outside my top ten.

Jalen Johnson and Jonathan Kuminga are both projected top ten picks in the 2021 NBA Draft and I feel both are going to very good, but still stuck outside my top ten. Same with 2021 prospects Patrick Baldwin Jr and international sensation Victor Wembanyama.

Now, to the actual list of players:

10) Brandon Boston Jr, College Freshman (Kentucky) – 2021 NBA Draft
Top tier scorer who’s draw comparisons to Brandon Ingram due to his smooth style of play, Boston will be a go-to player almost immediately once he hits the league. Working on defense and putting on some size at Kentucky this season will likely lead to him shooting up draft boards for 2021.

9) Evan Mobley, College Freshman (USC) – 2021 NBA Draft
A fast, agile big man with an advanced skill set. Mobley is a coordinated athlete with great length and a lot of upside. Very good back-to-the-basket defender who can average 3-5 shot blocks a game at any level. Can handle the ball well in the open court and can score both inside as well as outside. High IQ player with a chance to impress as the “man” at USC this season as long as his body holds up.

8) Paolo Banchero, High School Senior (Committed to Duke) – 2022 NBA Draft
Like many Duke big men before him, Coach K’s offense will likely be ran through Banchero once he arrives next season. With his powerful frame, there’s times currently Banchero seems unguardable. With his high motor and ability to score underneath, off the dribble, or even stretching the floor from three, Banchero will wow many once he arrives at Duke.

7) James Wiseman, One & Done (Memphis) – 2020 NBA Draft
Outstanding big man with a great frame, long arms and excellent agility for a 7-0 center. His face-up game is as good as they come with the ability to score under the basket but also with a great mid-range game with the ability to gain the ability to shoot the three once in the league. Although will be a top pick, he’s still underrated as a defender and passer. Can disappear at times and is left-hand dominant, but those are things that will be fixed once he hits the NBA.

6) Jaden Hardy, High School Senior – 2022 NBA Draft
Hardy is a scoring machine who can fill it up against anyone at any time. He’s got too much size and quickness for most guards to handle. He can get to the rim, dominate from mid range and get streaky-hot from downtown. A guard who one day will likely lead the NBA in scoring. Hardy may go the G-League route following his senior year of high school and be a high draft pick in 2022.

5) Chet Holmgren, High School Senior – 2022 NBA Draft
Nicknamed “The Unicorn” due to his size and ability, Chet Holmgren is impressive to watch, but will without a doubt need to add some size before he’s an NBA superstar. Currently, he’s a triple threat machine with his scoring ability, rebounding over the top of his opposition, and, of course, his shot blocking ability. Holmgren is still undecided on his college, but with his unique blend of size and ability, he’ll be a top ten pick in a couple years as long as he stays healthy.

4) Cade Cunningham, College Freshman (Oklahoma State) – 2021 NBA Draft
Think of a smaller, more well-rounded, better shooting version of Ben Simmons. That is Cade Cunningham’s potential. He does everything on the court including scoring, assisting, defending, and he completely controls the pace of the game. Will be a “keys to the car” style player and will be a franchise-changer to whoever drafts him. Will likely be a triple-double machine one day in the NBA and likely the top pick in next year’s draft.

3) LaMelo Ball, International-American – 2020 NBA Draft
The star of the class of 2020, but still has may question marks around him. In the limelight since he was a high school freshman, LaMelo Ball impressed many with his play and growth at the international level the last couple seasons. Without question an outstanding scorer, but his true position has yet to be determined whether he’ll be able to play at the point or have the size to be a true shooting guard. Still worth the top pick though this season especially if it’s to Minnesota where he won’t have to be option one immediately.

2) Jalen Green, G-League – 2021 NBA Draft
All around star who has drawn comparisons to Kobe Bryant with his scoring ability. Ideal slashing-style shooting guard with a quick first step and the quickness to blow past even elite defenders. Also an outstanding shooter with a deadly step back. Not just a scorer as he’s an underrated defender and rebounder and will likely improve in those categories with time as he plays top tier talent in the G-League. Green will likely be an NBA Scoring Champion somewhere down the line.

1) Emoni Bates, High School Junior – 2022/2023 NBA Draft
If you don’t know by now, you’ve not been paying attention. There’s nobody that’s the “next LeBron,” but Emoni Bates has potential we’ve not seen from a high school player since, well…yeah, LeBron James. To be blunt, Emoni’s floor as an NBA prospect: superstar. He’s ceiling? There isn’t one.

Bates can score from anywhere on the floor with a high-set shot similar to Kevin Durant. Bates can score off the dribble with the best guards in the nation and use his wide arsenal of offensive moves to score against taller or larger defenders. Well-rounded as well with the ability to defend one through five due to his length and basketball IQ.

The one negative? He’s not eligible for the draft yet because if he was, the 16-year-old would be the top overall pick this year…and I’m not kidding. Emoni Bates is the next big thing and there’s no way around it.

For more NBA content, check out the Shoot or Pass podcast – new episodes drop on Mondays anywhere you get your podcasts and right here on

Follow us on Instagram & Twitter – @baselinetimes