Some solid young prospects have entered the league before the 2022-23 NBA season. Players have developed nicely at a young age, giving them the confidence to make themselves draft-eligible.
In this article, check out the top 5 youngest players in the NBA 2022-23.
1. Jalen Duren (18 years)
Detroit Pistons rookie center Jalen Duren is the youngest player in the NBA. Duren was born on November 18, 2003. He will be the only player aged 18 when he makes his regular-season debut for the Pistons. The former Memphis Tigers prospect was selected as the 13th pick in the draft by the Charlotte Hornets.
The Pistons acquired his draft rights in a three-team trade, including the New York Knicks and Hornets. Despite being only 18 years old, Duren seems NBA-ready. Physically, he matches up well against the veteran bigs of the league.
Jalen Duren will likely come off the bench for the Pistons. He had a promising preseason, especially on the defensive end of the floor. Duren averaged 4.6 points and 12.0 rebounds across three appearances.
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2. Trevor Keels (19 years)
New York Knicks' late second-round pick Trevor Keels is next on the list. Keels is 19 years old. He was born on August 26, 2003. He is currently on a two-way deal with the franchise. NBA fans haven't gotten a glimpse of Keels at length. The former Duke point guard played around two minutes per game during his two appearances during the preseason.
The Knicks are guard-heavy at the moment, so Keels is likely to spend his time with the Westchester Knicks, New York's G-League affiliate.
3. AJ Griffin (19 years)
The Atlanta Hawks selected AJ Griffin with their 16th pick in the draft. Griffin, 19, was born on August 25, 2003. Griffin has emerged as a promising talent following his preseason performances. He played three games for the Hawks, averaging 8.0 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. He shot 60% from 3-point range.
Griffin could take time to crack at the Hawks' rotation. They have a veteran-heavy roster, so he might have to spend time consistently playing in the G-League. However, he showed his 3-and-D ability during the preseason, and if given an extended opportunity, he could shine for the team and cement his spot with the first unit.
4. Nikola Jovic (19 years)
The Miami Heat selected Nikola Jovic with the 27th pick in the draft. Jovic, 19, was born on June 9, 2003. He is one of the most talented young European players in the NBA. Jovic has gotten off to a bright start with the franchise with a remarkable run during the preseason.
He dropped a double-double on his debut and has impressed his teammates and the Heat fans. Jovic played all five games, averaging 9.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists in only 15.9 minutes per contest. Jovic is among the few teenagers who could play significant minutes for Miami this season.
5. Shaedon Sharpe (19 years)
Shaedon Sharpe is the most prominent name on this list. Sharpe was born on 30 May 2003. The Portland Trail Blazers gambled on the 19-year-old, with their #7 pick. Sharpe never played college basketball in his career. After suffering an injury blow five minutes into his Summer League debut, Sharpe made a strong comeback during the preseason.
Across five games, he averaged 11.8 points and a block per contest on 44% field goal shooting coming off the bench. Sharpe appears to be an excellent addition to the Trail Blazers on their new-look roster around Damian Lillard. He has tremendous upside, and Portland will be hoping he nears his maximum potential over the next season or two.