Ford's Ballot: Best 23-and-under players

Originally Published: April 1, 2008
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We asked our writers two questions:

Rank 1 to 5: Which players age 23 or under would you want as the foundation of your team?

Wild card: Who else has the greatest upside?

Here are NBA columnist Chad Ford's picks:

Ford's Ballot
Rank Player Comment
LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers
Small Forward
Age: 23
He's been the best player in the NBA since he was 22 years old. He's built like a power forward but plays like a point guard. If he ever becomes a deadeye from the 3-point line … there will be no stopping him.
Chris Paul
New Orleans Hornets
Point Guard
Age: 22
When he came into the league, he was billed as the best young point guard since Jason Kidd. Now? Paul's already better than Kidd was during his most dominant season.
Dwight Howard
Orlando Magic
Age: 22
With the death of the prototypical NBA center, Howard promises to take the position in a new direction not just with power, but with speed and quickness.
Kevin Durant
Seattle SuperSonics
Shooting Guard
Age: 19
He got off to a rocky start in Seattle … but when you consider his age, the fact that he inexplicably played out of position all season and his lack of physical maturity, what he's done in the month of March (21.8 ppg on 53 percent shooting) is just a forerunner of things to come. Durant will dominate the league by the time he's 22.
Andrew Bynum
Los Angeles Lakers
Age: 20
Bynum's just 20 years old and already we're having conversations about a coming dynasty in L.A. He seems to get better by the game and has the size and athleticism to dominate in the NBA for a long time.
Greg Oden
Portland Trail Blazers
Age: 20
If anyone can challenge Howard's and Bynum's place atop the best young big men in the game it will be Oden. Microfracture surgery or not, you won't find many big men with his size, athleticism and basketball IQ.

Henry Abbott | J.A. Adande | Jon Barry | Maurice Brooks | Chris Broussard | John Hollinger
Ric Bucher | Chad Ford | Chris Palmer | Jalen Rose | Chris Sheridan | Marc Stein | David Thorpe

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