Andrew Bynum is the youngest player to have ever played in an NBA game. He was 17 years and 244 days old when he suited up for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2005-06 NBA season.
Jalen Duren, who is 18 years and 335 days, is the youngest NBA player actively playing in the 2022-23 season. He is a center for the Detroit Pistons.
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Youngest NBA player ever
Andrew Bynum was drafted with the 10th overall pick in Round 1 of the 2005 NBA Draft. He was 17 years and 244 days old on the day.
The Los Angeles Lakers were looking for a gifted big man, and Bynum seemed to their answer. He averaged 22 points, 17 rebounds and 5 blocks as a senior in high school. The Lakers franchise felt they could repeat the success they had with another high school player named Kobe Bryant.
Bynum did no play much his first season. Between battling injuries and his inexperience he played just 46 games and finished with averages of 1.6 points and 1.7 rebounds.
It wasn’t until the 2011-12 season that he played and started in 60 games and finished with career highs of 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds.
An injury sdielined him for the whole of next season and Bynum was never the same.
He retired in 2014 with career averages of 11.5 points and 7.7 rebounds.
Youngest NBA player in the 2022-23 NBA season
Jalen Duren, 18 years, was picked 13th overall in Round 1 of the 2022 NBA Draft. He was 18 years and 335 days old at the draft.
A 6’10” center, Duren attended the University of Memphis for one season before declaring for the NBA Draft.
The Pistons are looking to build a contender around their 2021 NBA Draft star – Cade Cunningham.
Duren opened the 2022-23 NBA Preseason with a 14 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks in a win against the No.1 pick Paolo Banchero and his Orlando Magic.
Youngest NBA player to start a game
The late great Kobe Bryant was the youngest NBA player to start a game.
Bryant, a 6’8″ guard, was just shy of his 18th birthday (17 years and 312 days) when he was picked 13th overall in Round 1 by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1996 NBA Draft.
On January 28, 1997, Bryant started the game against the Dallas Mavericks. He finished the game with 12 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals.
Bryant retired after the 2015-16 season after winning five championships, and finishing with a career total of 33,643 points scored.
Youngest NBA player to win MVP
Derrick Rose, a 6’2″ point guard, was the youngest NBA player to win an MVP Trophy at the age of 22 years and 191 days.
Rose was the 1st pick in the 2008 NBA Draft and was everything the Chicago Bulls hoped he would be.
In the 2010-11 season, finished with a career high 25.0 points per game, while also averaging 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game.
He led the Bulls to 62 wins – the best record in the NBA – and wins in Round 1 and Round 2 of the 2011 NBA playoffs.
Youngest NBA player to win an NBA Finals MVP
Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson is the youngest NBA player to win the NBA Finals MVP trophy. He was 20 years old.
Johnson, a 6’9″ guard, was the first pick in the 1979 NBA draft. He was believed to be way ahead of his time – a 6’9″ player running and playing point was non-existent in the NBA at the time.
In the 1980 NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers, Johnson and the Lakers were up 3-2 after Game 5. In that game, their best player – the center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – suffered a badly sprained ankle in the third quarter. While Jabbar finished the game after receiving some treatment, he was unable to travel to Philadelphia for Game 6.
Johnson, a 20-year-old rookie at the time, bravely agreed to start and the play the game at the center position.
He blew away everyone, finishing with a game high 42 points and 15 rebounds, and bringing home the NBA championship and the NBA Finals MVP Trophy.
Youngest NBA player to win an NBA championship
This may come as a shock to most NBA fans, but the youngest NBA player to win a championship is Darko Milicic.
Milicic, a 7’0″ forward, was a phenom in Europe. He was drafted with the 2nd pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. He was picked ahead of players such as Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade.
While Milicic never lived up to the hype, he was fortunate enough to be part of a Detroit Pistons team that had put together a contender with players such as Chauncey Billups, Richard ‘Rip’ Hamilton, and Ben Wallace.
The Pistons upset the three-time reigning champions, the Los Angeles Lakers in five games in the 2004 NBA Finals, making Milicic the youngest NBA champion at the age 18 years and 361 days.
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