NBA 75

NBA 75: Active players primed to make the NBA's next anniversary team

To celebrate the league's 75th anniversary, the NBA has revealed the 75 greatest players of all time.

The list, which was shared 25 players at a time over the course of three days, was voted on by a panel of media, current and former players, coaches, general managers and team executives. It should come as no surprise that every player who made the 50th Anniversary Team made the 75th Anniversary Team. The additional 25 spots were almost entirely made up of players who have come along since, including a number of active players.

If you missed it, you can see the full list here.

Time will tell if the league does a 100th Anniversary Team in 25 years, but if they do, several players are positioning themselves to make the cut.

Note: Kyrie Irving, Paul George, Dwight Howard, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, none of whom made the NBA's 75th Anniversary Team, aren't included below because we've already looked at each of their cases in previous articles. Check out the links above to read the case for each of them!

Which active players could make the NBA's next anniversary team?

Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

Jokic had a case to make the NBA's 75th Anniversary Team. He's only in his seventh season, but he has three All-NBA and All-Star selections to his name, as well as one MVP award. In fact, Jokic and Derrick Rose are the only MVP winners that did not make the top-75 cut. He's also been a stud in the playoffs, posting averages of 25.9 points, 11.3 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game through three postseason runs, one of which resulted in a Western Conference Finals appearance.

Jokic is arguably the best passing big man the game has ever seen and the best passer in the league today. At this rate, he'll be a lock for the NBA's next anniversary team.

Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

Doncic will also be a lock for the NBA's next anniversary team at the rate he's going. He's quickly established himself as one of the best players in the league, earning All-Star and All-NBA First Team selections in each of the last two seasons. Though he's yet to make it out of the first round of the playoffs, he helped the Mavericks push the higher-seeded LA Clippers to six games in 2020 and seven games in 2021 while setting a number of records along the way. It feels like it's only a matter of time until he breaks through.

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Last season's runner-up to Jokic for MVP, Embiid is arguably the single most dominant force in the league today. He's earned three All-Defensive Second Team selections to this point of his career and was the NBA's fourth-leading scorer last season, averaging a career-best 28.5 points per game on .513/.377/.859 shooting splits. He hasn't had as much success as Jokic in the playoffs, but it's likely that we still haven't seen the best of Embiid on the big stage.

Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

Gobert is one Defensive Player of the Year award from entering a three-way tie with Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace for the most in NBA history. He's also earned five All-Defensive First Team selections, tying him with a number of players for the fifth-most all-time. Entering his age 29 season, Gobert isn't done racking up defensive honours.

Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

The little we've seen of Williamson has been incredibly impressive. In his sophomore season, he earned the first All-Star selection of his career with averages of 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists on 61.1 percent shooting from the field. There's no question that he's among the most unique players in NBA history - an undersized power forward with the skills of a guard, the strength of a center and unparalleled athleticism.

The biggest concern with Williamson is, of course, injuries. If he can stay healthy, he could have a good shot at landing on a future anniversary team.

Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns

It took Booker five seasons to make the playoffs for the first time, but he sure made the most of the opportunity when he got there. He scored a total of 601 points in Phoenix's run to the Finals, surpassing NBA legend Rick Barry for the most points scored in a player's first postseason. One of the league's best scorers, Booker is only going to continue getting better. He already has one of the highest-scoring games in NBA history, having scored 70 points in a game in his sophomore season.

Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks

Young only has one All-Star selection to his name, but he proved himself to be a big-time talent last season when he led the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals with averages of 28.8 points and 9.5 assists per game. He's already one of the league's craftiest scorers, as well as one of the league's best passers.

With Young leading the way, the Hawks, who currently have one of the deepest teams in the league, are set up for a lot of future success.

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Tatum has achieved a lot in four seasons. As a rookie, he played a leading role on a Celtics team that made a run to the Eastern Conference Finals. He didn't have the sophomore season many were hoping for, but he's responded with back-to-back All-Star appearances and another run to the Eastern Conference Finals. He's established himself as an elite scorer and continues to grow as a playmaker for others.

Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz

A two-time All-Star, Mitchell is coming off of a season in which he averaged career-highs of 26.4 points, 5.2 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game on a Jazz team that finished with the best record in the NBA. (Had he not missed 19 games due to injury, he might've gotten some more love for All-NBA). Utah has come up short in each of the last two postseasons, but Mitchell has delivered with one historic performance after another.

Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies

In 2019-20, Morant was named Rookie of the Year and almost punched the Grizzlies' ticket to the playoffs with a 35-point effort in a loss to the Trail Blazers in the Play-In Game. In 2020-21, he led the Grizzlies past the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors in the Play-In Tournament to make the playoffs where he put on a show. He's the only player on this list without an All-Star selection, but there's no questioning Morant's moxie and star potential.

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