5. Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
We like making fun of Simmons’ inability to even try to shoot as much as the next guy or gal, but he is a three-time All-Star, one of the best defenders in the game, and an elite passer. That’s not a bad resume for a point guard of his age.
4. Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee Bucks
Holiday wasn’t just along for the ride as Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee to a title, as his impeccable defense and timely clutch shooting made him the perfect tertiary scorer for that team. VanVleet should’ve watched Holiday’s run in the postseason and studied his film closely.
3. Kyle Lowry, Miami Heat
Even after all of these years, Lowry was one of the few success stories on a Raptors team that was unable to replicate their success of the last decade. We’ll miss you, Kyle. Go win a ring in Miami alongside Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and the rest of the Heat’s talented cast.
2. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
Young was a high-volume scorer on some bad Atlanta teams early in his career, but last year was when he proved that he could still put up those insane scoring numbers and lead his team to postseason success. Expect more of the same from Young this season with a revamped supporting cast.
1. Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets
While Irving and James Harden split ball-handling duties, Kyrie gets selected for this list. One of the best ball-handlers and finishers the game has ever seen, Irving will once again go for a title alongside Harden and Kevin Durant. VanVleet will be charged with locking him down, though he has his work cut out for him.