Grant Hill sees Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren among NBA's next stars
Grant Hill sees Banchero, Holmgren among NBA's next stars originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Back in November, Grant Hill was named managing director of the USA Basketball Men's Team, which puts him at a unique vantage point to evaluate young NBA players, particularly those from the United States. After attending the Las Vegas Summer League earlier this month, Hill saw plenty of promise for the future of basketball.
In an interview with NBC Sports Washington, Hill highlighted two players that caught his eye.
"Paolo Banchero, he's my guy. He's a Duke guy, he went to the Orlando Magic with the first pick. He had some impressive moments before they shut him down. I think Chet Holmgren showed some signs of what he can do and his versatility on both ends of the floor. Summer League is another thing, I mean, it's fun, people want to watch it, they're a part of it. It's become an event and you get to see the stars of the future, which is always exciting," Hill said.
The potential he saw from those two players, the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the 2022 draft, and others spoke to a larger trend for Hill. He believes Banchero and Holmgren could be part of the next generation of NBA stars which will ultimately take the torch from contemporary legends like LeBron James and Stephen Curry.
"One thing you learn about being around sports, and particularly the NBA is, as great players retire, and we'll see in the next two, three years, five years, guys like Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard; stars of a generation, they will be fading out. They will be retiring and moving on, but there's always new stars that emerge. The league kind of replenishes itself and it's done that historically," Hill said.
Hill was once in that position when he entered the NBA in 1994 and quickly became a star, winning co-Rookie of the Year with Jason Kidd. By his first year, the 1994-95 season, the best stars at the time like Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon and others were nearing the end of their primes. Hill was part of the next generation that took the league into the 2000s, along with guys like Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Allen Iverson.
There has long been a debate about which player will take over as the face of the league once James finally exits his prime. Curry just won another ring and continues to prove he's still one of the best players in the league. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic each have two recent MVP awards to point to and Antetokounmpo also won a championship one season ago. There are also others like Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid and Ja Morant who could factor into the conversation.
There may be another generation between the James/Curry era and the Banchero/Holmgren talent wave, as those guys are just about to enter the league. But for Hill to mention them in that context is quite the compliment and it may be something worth remembering down the line when future Team USA rosters are put together.