Five years ago, the league was gifted an incredible draft class featuring the likes of Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Josh Howard, Chris Bosh, Chris Kaman and yes, LeBron James.
The year after, the league was introduced to the heir to Shaquille O'Neal's massive thrown in the form of a chiseled 18-year old, Dwight Howard.
While those players have cemented their status among the NBA's elite players, many are simply scratching the surface and for the players on this list, the best is certainly yet to come.
The players on this list are the cream of the crop of players who we'll be talking about for the next decade. This list is purely based on potential and likelyhood of reaching that potential.
Without further ado, this is a countdown of the best and brightest players in the NBA who have yet to etch their signatures on the walls of NBA superstardom. If they continue to grow, most if not all of these players will one day be all-stars. One may even challenge to be the greatest player of all time.
35. Tyreke Evans- 2009 NBADraft TBA
34. DeMar DeRozan- 2009 NBADraft TBA
33. James Harden- 2009 NBADraft TBA
33.Danilo Gallinari- New York Knicks
32. Andrew Bogut- Millwaukee Bucks
31. Kevin Love- Minnesota Timberwolves
30. Ricky Rubio - 2009 NBADraft TBA
29. Rudy Fernandez- Portland TrailBlazers
28. Anthony Randolph - Golden State Warriors
27. Blake Griffin - LA Clippers
26. Thaddeus Young- Philadelphia 76ers
David Lee might be on the move, but New York would be wise to match any offers for the talented forward. He's a tough rebounder, a solid passer and overall one of the hardest working players in the league.
Trevor Ariza played an important role for the NBA champions, and rose to the occasion as the perfect fourth player next to Bryant, Gasol and Odom.
He hit his open looks and played out of his mind defensively. At such a tender age, he's still scratching the surface.
The Lakers would be very wise to keep him around for a long time.
Brewer has truly found his place for Sloan's Jazz, and he's managed to become a very impressive young player. He's athletic, finishes well and plays well defensively.
He's also a better shooter than his awkward release would suggest. The future certainly looks good for Ronnie and the Jazz as he and Deron Williams look to become one of the more formidable backcourts in the NBA.
Joe Dumars slept easy after trading Chauncey Billips--a player some regard as the best point guard behind Chris Paul in the NBA today.
He did so because he believes that Stuckey is going to be an elite player in this league. Watching him grow over the past two seasons from game to game, it'd be hard to argue with him.
He gets to the basket, he's a winner, and he's only going to get better. Detroit will be building around Stuckey with the hope of scoring a big game in 2010 to play with him.
If the playoffs taught us five things, one of them would certainly be that J.R Smith still has the potential to be a star player in this league.
If he can do it with a little more consistency and focus on being a better defender, there is very little stopping him and Carmelo Anthony from being one of the better 1-2 combos in the league for years to come.
If the playoffs taught us something else, it is that Aaron Brooks can flat out score. At one point he was averaging close to 25 points per contest, and he was a major piece of the Houston offense after McGrady was injured.
With reports that McGrady may be headed out of town, Brooks could become the second option behind Yao Ming on offense, and considering how many games Yao will likely miss, Brooks might just shoot his way into an All-Star selection.
Rudy Gay might be taking a backseat to O.J Mayo as a second option if the two remain the key cogs of the Memphis offense this season, but he'll be one of the better complimentary players in this league.
Statistically, his impact is felt across the board. He's an active defender, a good finisher, and there is still plenty of room for growth. If the franchise wasn't so poorly run, I'd actually start to wonder if Memphis might be making some serious noise in two years.
Westbrook is a member of one of the best and most exciting young teams to watch in the NBA.
With a core of Durant, himself and Jeff Green, the Thunder could be only a few veterans away from challenging for a playoff spot next season.
Who knew? All of the hype and stardom he enjoyed in high school was actually warranted.
O.J Mayo proved to be a deadly scorer and shooter for Memphis last season and almost instantly became the leader of the team.
The future looks bright for Mayo, and if he can round out his game, he'll be an All-Star many times before he hangs up the Nike's.
Brook Lopez slipped to the New Jersey Nets and it still boggles my mind how that many teams decided they didn't need him.
He was easily the Nets' third best player behind stars Devin Harris and Vince Carter, and by quite a considerable margin.
Given the complete lack of quality centers in the NBA, one would assume that Lopez will be a max-money player when he comes up for an extension. At the tail end of the lottery, he was easily the steal of the draft in 2008.
If this year was only the beginning of Dwight Howard's Eastern conference rampage, the Celtics will be thanking their lucky stars they have Kendrick Perkins.
He stepped up to the challenge without Kevin Garnett, and considering the concerns about the big ticket's injury, the Celtics will need even more rebounding and defense Perkins in 2009-2010.
There will be a lot of heat for this pick, and it's probably warranted. Beasley afterall wasn't spectacular this past season, and he's shown himself to be an awful defender.
However, the potential is till there to be one of the very best players in the league offensively. Actually, he's already capable of putting up twenty to twenty-five points on any given night, and would likely do so if he wasn't on a playoff team with D-Wade.
If he can ever resolve his issues defensively, he'll be a superstar. As early as next season, he could be damn near unguardable. The Heat should hold tight because the future could be a lot brighter than expected for Beasley.
Everyone who had projected Green as a late lottery pick and blasted the Thunder for drafting Green with the fifth pick in the 2007 NBA draft should be hiding in a cave.
He's been a completely different player from his days in Georgetown, and he's become a much improved shooter. He's also been relentless attacking the rim.
I'd type more, but my battery is running out and electrical outlets are hard to come by in caves.
Aldridge is quite easily the second best player on a team that could be contending for home court advantage in the playoffs as early as next season.
He possesses a silky smooth release which reminds many of Rasheed Wallace, and he's gotten better every year. He may have the label of being soft at times, but strictly speaking from talent alone, he's one of the best young big men in the league.
His ability to spread the floor is invaluable for Portland, and he runs the floor like few others at his size. The future is bright for the young Blazers, and Aldridge is one of the biggest reasons for their turn around.
He's quickly turning into one of the best centers in the league. His offense is pretty suspect but not horrible, and to expect him to get more touches with Bibby, Johnson and Smith on his team might be a little silly.
However, he's been good defensively, he works hard, and he grabs a ton of rebounds. He's the highest ranked role player on this list because he does what he does so well.
After being inserted into the starting lineup following the new year, Andrea Bargnani was impressive. He was arguably the fourth best center in the league statistically behind Dwight Howard, Yao Ming and Pau Gasol.
He gets to the line, defends much better than he's given credit for, and is the biggest match-up nightmare for opposing bigs due to his ability to create off the dribble and score from anywhere on the court at 7'0, 260 pounds.
If he can improve his rebounding to the point where he can average a respectable number, his name should move up this list very quickly.
However, considering where he plays on the court, and his knack for making opposing players defend him on the perimeter and thus hurting their own rebounding numbers, his becoming an exceptional rebounder isn't likely or needed.
Expect him to be an All-Star next year if the Raptors can win a few more games.
Martin is a crafty scorer who lives at the line. He shoots well and is certainly surprising the league with the level to which he's been able to play despite his underwhelming physical attributes.
Ideally, he isn't a primary option on a good team, but he is certainly going to be one of the best second bananas in this league if the Kings play their cards right in 2010.
Granger burst onto the scene last season in a big way for the Pacers, leading them in scoring, and becoming the face of the franchise after they moved Jermaine O'Neal to Toronto.
Statistically, he was an all-star and one of the leading scorers in the league. However, more so than Harris, Bargnani, Durant, or any of the other players who jumped on to the scene last season, he was truly able to shoot his way on to this list.
Much like Martin, or Jeff Green, he's simply not cut out to be a primary option on a good team, but much like those two, he'd make an excellent complimentary player.
With Brand out, and Andre Miller running with him, Iguodala continued to show the league that he's a force in this league. However, he isn't LeBron James and can't do it alone.
He's an excellent passer, a good defender, and is probably going to have a career statistically similar to Shawn Marion, minus a few rebounds and plus a few assists.
Overall, the Sixers are banking on his improvements, and if he expects max dollars, he'd better show up in a big way next season.
He might be remembered as the guy who the Boston Celtics traded to win their championship, but Jefferson has become a great player in his own regard in Minnesota.
He's not the greatest defender, and he might be slightly undersized for the position. However, he's truly becoming a force offensively on the low block, and he rebounds at a high rate.
The Timberwolves are rumored to be shopping him for Amare Stoudemire, and if this is the case, they'd be making one of the worst trades of the century. It'd be hard to top Memphis trading Gasol or the Raptors trading Carter, but it'll be a close third.
Rounding out the top five is a player many thought to be a weakness for the Celtics two seasons ago. However, he truly has become a great player under the guidance of the big three.
This year in the playoffs, he was averaging close to a triple double at some point and fell just short of doing it for the whole series.
His talent is unquestionable, and his place among the NBA's very best point guards has to be cemented at this point.
If the Boston Celtics are looking at life after Pierce, Allen and Garnett, it all starts and ends with the development of Rajon Rondo.
It can be argued that Rondo plays on the better team and is comparable statistically, but what Harris was able to do with the Nets last season was just as impressive.
He and Carter had little help from anyone outside of Lopez, and still managed to be nearly unstoppable some nights.
Harris had many incredible performances last season, and if he continues to build on last season, he'll be an All-Star for many years to come.
Rose's Bulls nearly took the series from the defending champs before losing in game seven, and Rose himself was a big reason why.
The first thing one has to notice about Rose is that he has the potential to be unstoppable. The second thing you notice, is that he kind of already is close to getting there at such a young age.
However, the most impressive thing about Rose is that he never backs down or wilts under pressure. He's a cool customer, and he's the reason for all the hope in the Windy City. He's got some big shoes to fill.
Many would put him first, after all he did lead his team to the playoffs, he did become one of the best leaders in the league, and I certainly can see the argument that he's one of the best shooting guards in the league today.
He's also big when it matters--becoming one of the most clutch players in the game last season. He plays three positions well, he defends well, and there really isn't much bad to say.
He's an All-Star, a superstar, and will be the face of one of the brightest young teams in the league for years to come.
Kevin Durant finds himself at number one, and without a single playoff game played, or a single All-Star Game selection, this has to be puzzling.
There is a little term in the NBA called "it" or the "it factor". Brandon Roy has "it", Andrea Bargnani has "it", and Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwayne Wade have "it" in a big way.
However, Durant might have enough "it" to become the best player this league has seen in a few decades.
What he's able to do with his frame is unexplainable. He's so talented, and so driven, he's barely scratched the surface of his potential, and he's already one of the leading scorers in the league.
He's the first guy since James, Kobe, or McGrady who can actually average 30 points per game or more comfortably and without jacking up shots on a horrible team.
At his size, and with his length, if he fills out, he becomes the biggest match up night mare in this league next to LeBron James himself.
I'm calling it now. When he's done, Kevin Durant will be one of the twenty best players to ever play the game of basketball barring some injury or early retirement in order to play baseball. Yeah, I just went there.