This season of the NBA is shaping up to be one of the best it's been a while, and I believe we could be looking at a dramatic finish to the end of the season. It has been as competitive as ever with many potential contenders, an intense MVP race between Lebron and Giannis, and everyone learned that King James still runs this league. With that being said, the future of the NBA is extremely bright with many young up and coming superstars. I decided to rank the top 25 players under 25(This excludes players that are 25 that would obviously make this list: Giannis, Embiid, Jokic, Lavine). The actual rankings were a little tough to make as many players could be moved up or down one or a few spots, and this list is mainly about the players this season, career so far, and improvement, and some future outlook rather than who I would rather start a franchise with.
Honorable Mentions: Myles Turner, Tyler Herro, Coby White, Markelle Fultz, Miles Bridges, Jarrett Allen, Jonathon Isaac, Lauri Markkanen, Eric Paschall, Brandon Clarke, Aaron Gordon
1) Luka Doncic: Age 21
PG Dallas Mavericks- 46% FG, 28.5 Pts, 9.4 Reb, 8.7 Ast, 1.1 Stl, 0.2 Blk
It’s crazy to think Doncic just turned 21 years old as he plays like he has been in the league for 10 years. He’s as must-watch TV as there is in the league right now. Luka is a top 3 MVP candidate who is averaging almost a 30 point triple double. You don’t see that too often in general and especially not from a 21 year old. We haven’t seen anyone like Luka in a while with his patented step back and his savvy play, and he’s only going to get better which is the scary part. He’ll be in the MVP battle for years to come.
2) Trae Young: Age 21
PG Atlanta Hawks- 43.6% FG, 29.4 Pts, 4.3 Reb, 9.3 Ast, 1.1 Stl, 0.1 Blk
Trae Young has finally silenced all the critics and is having a hell of a season. He’s the closest thing we have seen since Steph curry with his insane 3 point range. He can pull it from anywhere inside half court and is also an extremely good passer, in which he is second in the league with 9.3 assists per game. Trae was a deserving first time all star and starter, and the only thing holding him back from MVP talk is the terrible Hawks. They should be better in the future, so watch out.
3) Zion Williamson: Age 19
SF- New Orleans Pelicans- 58.9 FG%, 23.6 Pts, 6.8 Reb, 2.2 Ast, 0.8 Stl, 0.5 Blk
There are almost no words to describe Zion. Zion is a freak of nature and a future face of the NBA; He’s that good. He’s certainly lived up to the hype so far being the youngest player ever to put up 20+ points in 7 straight games. He produces unhuman highlights on a nightly basis and is too big/strong for even the toughest players in the league. Zion is a perfect fit for the Pelicans fast-paced offense, and him and Lonzo have formed great chemistry so far. The Pelicans have been a winning team since Zion returned, and teams should be scared if they can sneak into that 8 spot in the playoffs. It’s scary to think he’s not even 100% yet while averaging less than 30 minutes a game, and once he’s able to start hitting the 3 consistently, the sky's the limit.
4) Karl Anthony Towns:Age 24
C- Minnesota Timberwolves- 50.8 FG%, 26.5 Pts, 10.8 Reb, 4.4 Ast, 0.9 Stl, 1.2 Blk
The same headline has overshadowed KAT’s young career so far, another great year for KAT, another disappointing year for the Timberwolves. KAT desperately needed help, and the front office finally managed to do that by trading for D’Angelo Russell. KAT has been out with an injury, but the two have great chemistry off the court and are both only 24 years old. They are too far out of the playoff race this year, but look for KAT and Russell to improve their chemistry even more over the offseason while the T-Wolves push for a playoff spot in the tough western conference next year. KAT is going to continue to feast regardless.
5) Devin Booker: Age 23
SG- Phoenix Suns- 48.9 %FG, 26.1 Pts, 4.1 Reb, 6.5 Ast, 0.7 Stl, 0.3 Blk
Another extremely slept on player, D-Book is a bucket and there’s no denying that (hence his 70 point game). He’s of the best scorers with an extremely smooth and crafty style that makes him near impossible to guard 1 on 1. Book somehow almost missed the all star game putting up 26ppg,4rpg ,and 6.5apg on a young, improved Suns team. It just doesn’t make sense; He’s one of the best shooting guards in the game and will be an all star for years to come.
6) Jayson Tatum: Age 22
SF- Boston Celtics- 44.7 FG%, 23.4 Pts, 7.1 Reb, 3.0 Ast, 1.4 Stl, 0.9 Blk
The Jayson Tatum hype train is in full effect as he has taken off this year, especially over the last month. It seems like Tatum is emerging into the superstar status the Celtics hoped he would when selecting him 3rd overall in the draft. He received an invite to his first all-star game and is a true candidate for MIP . His emergence of an up and coming superstar has caught the eyes of NBA teams as the Celtics look like an extremely dangerous team, and Tatum will look to continue on his great season in the playoffs.
7) Donovan Mitchell: Age 22
SG- Utah Jazz- 45.3 % FG, 24.2 Pts, 4.4 Reb, 4.2 Ast, 1.0 Stl, 0.2 Blk
Spida, one of the biggest draft steals relative to where he was picked back in 2016, is having another great season for the Jazz with an all-star selection to show for it. With Mike Conley gone this is fully Spida’s team, and the Jazz will go as far as he can take them in the playoffs. Mitchell is one of the best young guards in the league who will be an all star regular.
8) Brandon Ingram: Age 23
SF- New Orleans Pelicans- 46.6 % FG, 24.3 Pts, 6.3 Reb, 4.3 Ast, 1.0 Stl, 0.7 Blk
It looks like the trade from the Lakers to the Pelicans really did BI well as he's having a career year and is playing with some real confidence. He was an all star for the first time of his young career and has really developed his offensive game and become a more dynamic player. He’s the front runner for MIP right now for deserving reasons. Ingram is leading the charge for the Pels, and they have one of the brightest futures as a team in the league.
9) Ja Morant:Age 20
PG- Memphis Grizzlies- 49.1 FG%, 17.5 Pts, 3.5 Reb, 6.9 Ast, 0.9 Stl, 0.3 Blk
Ja is a problem, simple as that. He’s a highlight machine with a great feel for the game. His playmaking skills are off the chart and when he improves his jump shot, it's going to get scary for opposing teams. Unlimited upside and the point guard of the future. Winning ROY is the first step into stardom for Ja.
10) Ben Simmons: Age 23
PG- Philadelphia 76ers- 58.5 FG%, 16.7 Pts, 7.8 Reb, 8.2 Ast, 2.1 Stl, 0.6 Blk
Simmons is having another really good year with another all-star nomination. He’s been working on his 3-pointer all though we really haven’t seen it too much. Like everyone says, if he can develop any kind of shot, his potential is insane, but the reason he’s at 10 in my rankings and not higher is that he really hasn’t improved that much since his rookie year, and his numbers are almost the same. Regardless Simmons is a great player with only a jump shot holding him and the 76ers back.
11) D’Angelo Russell: Age 24
PG- Minnesota Timberwolves- 42.6 FG%, 23.1 Pts, 3.9 Reb, 6.3 Ast, 1.1 Stl, 0.3 Blk
Crazy to me that D-lo is only 24 as it seems like he should be older. Maybe that’s because he has already been on four different teams. He was always going to get traded from the Warriors as he didn’t fit their system well, but now the slick lefty has landed on the T-Wolves and has partnered up with fellow young superstar KAT. This was a great move for both of their careers as they are great friends off the court and should find some success in the near future. D-lo probably has the smoothest game in the league but still gets slept on a little bit.
12) Bam Adebayo: Age 22
C- Miami Heat- 56.5 FG%, 16.1 Pts, 10.6 Reb, 5.0 Ast, 1.2 Stl, 1.3 Blk
Big Bam is having a fantastic year for a surprisingly good Heat team. He is a top MIP candidate deservingly and has become a force in the paint as well as one of the best passing big men, which can be shown by his 5.0 Assist per game average. One of the best defensive big men in the league, Bam is a future star and is going to have many fun battles with Joel Embiid in the east for years to come.
13) Kristaps Porzingis: Age 24
PF- Dallas Mavericks- 42 FG%, 19.2 Pts, 9.5 Reb, 1.7 Ast, 0.7 Stl, 2.1 Blk
The unicorn has really started to pick it up as of late. His great play is a big reason the Mavs are gonna be a tough out in the playoff, and him and Luka are one of the best duos in the NBA. Coming off an ACL tear and a trade from the pathetic Knicks, Porzingis’s numbers have been a little down, but he’s still getting adjusted and is only going to get better and more comfortable with the more games he plays. The Mavericks need a little more from KP to have a chance to take down the top western conference teams in the playoffs.
14) Jaylen Brown: Age 23
SG- Boston Celtics- 49.0 FG%, 20.4 Pts, 6.4 Reb, 2.2 Ast, 1.1 Stl, 0.3 Blk
Jaylen Brown has really proved the haters and doubters wrong after his massive contract. He’s averaging 20.4 points a game and is having his best year to date. The trio of him, Kemba, and Jaylen Tatum is as good as they get, and Brown needs to keep his play up for the Celtics to have a shot at the NBA finals. Looks like that contract was a good investment..
15) De'Aaron Fox: Age 22
PG- Sacramento Kings- 47.5 FG%, 20.4 Pts, 4.0 Reb, 6.8 Ast, 1.4 Stl, 0.5 Blk
Swipa, in my opinion, is still one of the most underrated players in the league, and to be fair it is probably because the Kings suck yet again. The front office is still a mess even though the team is loaded with young talent. Fox has improved his numbers again this year and is now scoring at all levels. Not to mention he’s probably the fastest player in the league, but The Kings need some help for Fox’s career.
16) Deandre Ayton: Age 21
C- Phoenix Suns- 54.8 FG%, 19.0 Pts, 12.0 Reb, 1.9 Ast, 0.7 Stl, 1.7 Blk
The former #1 pick in the draft did not have a fun start to the year as he was suspended for 25 games but ever since returning, he has been doing this thing. While being one of the biggest locks for a double-double on a nightly basis, he has become more of a rim-protector also averaging 1.7 Blk per game this season compared to 0.9 last season.
17) John Collins: Age 22
PF- Atlanta Hawks- 58.8 FG%, 21.6 Pts, 10.0 Reb, 1.5 Ast, 0.7 Stl, 1.6 Blk
After serving his 25 game suspension, John Collins has been feasting. Since the beginning of February he’s averaging 25.1 ppg and shooting an insane 71.7% from the field. Like fellow teammate Trae Young, he won’t receive all the praise he deserves because the Hawks are really bad. It’s not all bad though as they have an extremely young core and are only going to get better in the future. Look for Trade and Collins to be a dynamic duo for years to come.
18) Domantas Sabonis: Age 23
PF- Indiana Pacers- 54 FG%, 18.5 Pts, 12.5 Reb, 5.0 Ast, 0.8 Stl, 0.5 Blk
The first time all-star Sabonis is having a career year. He is super efficient and a great passer for a big man averaging almost 5 assists per game this season. With the third most double-doubles in the league, Sabonis is a force in the paint and a big reason the Pacers were doing very well without star Victor Oladipo
19) Shai Gilgeous Alexander: Age 21
SG- Oklahoma City Thunder- 47.3 FG%, 19.3 Pts, 6.3 Reb, 3.3 Ast, 1.1 Stl, 0.7 Blk
SGA is a huge reason the Thunder have had so much success which was very surprising considering that they basically got rid of their whole team. SGA has improved a ton since his rookie year and is becoming one of the better young guards in the league. Look for him to keep getting better while he’s under Chris Paul’s wing.
20) Jamal Murray: Age 23
PG- Denver Nuggets- 45.5 FG%, 18.7 Pts, 3.9 Reb, 4.8 Ast, 1.2 Stl, 0.3 Blk
Jamal Murray is a really solid point guard for the young Nuggets team. He’s got a great shot and has been playing really well as of late but his play and numbers have been somewhat similar over the last two years. He still needs to take that jump into the next level to become a star and make the Nuggets a true, true contender with the Clippers and Lakers.
21) Jaren Jackson Jr: Age 20
PF- Memphis Grizzlies- 46.8 FG%, 16.9 Pts, 4.7 Reb, 1.4 Ast, 0.7 Stl, 1.6 Blk
The duo of Ja morant and JJJ is one of the brightest in the league. Jaren Jackson has enjoyed a nice sophomore season helping the Grizzlies hold onto a playoff spot at the moment. He’s putting up nice stats while only playing 28 minutes per game. Still very young, JJJ is only going to improve and develop alongside Ja. Not to mention he is still only 20 years old, younger than a lot of rookies.
22) Kelly Oubre: Age 24
SF- Phoenix Suns- 45.2 FG%, 18.7 Pts, 6.4 Reb, 1.5 Ast, 1.3 Stl, 0.7 Blk
Another young player enjoying a breakout year, Kelly Oubre, has really polished his game and become more dynamic while being alongside Devin Booker. This is the best he has looked in his young career, but sadly he’s going to be sidelined for a while with knee surgery.
23) Lonzo Ball: Age 22
PG- New Orleans Pelicans- 41.2 FG%, 12.4 Pts, 6.2 Reb, 7.0 Ast, 1.4 Stl, 0.5
Lonzo looks like he’s starting to come full circle as a player. His shot actually looks normal now and he’s been scoring really well as of late, especially from down-town. His 38.3 3pt% is better than a ton of great shooters. Add that onto his superb passing and playmaking skills, Lozno is perfect for the Pelicans fast-paced style of basketball. Him and Zion have already formed some great chemistry and this extremely young trio of Lonzo, Zion, and Brandon Ingram should not be slept on. They will be a playoff team for years to come and might even sneak in this year.
24) Colin Sexton: Age 21
SG- Cleveland Cavaliers- 47.2 FG%, 20.8 Pts, 3.1 Reb, 3.0 Ast, 1.0 Stl, 0.1 Blk
Sexton is one of the lone bright spots for the bad Cavs team and has really taken off as of late with some huge scoring nights including a 41 point game. He still needs to improve his efficiency and shot-selection, but he's only 21 and has tons of upside, and I like his tough mentality.
25) Marvin Bagley: Age 21
PF- Sacramento Kings- 46.7 FG%, 14.2 Pts, 7.5 Reb, 0.8 Ast, 0.5 Stl, 0.9 Blk
This one is tough because Bagley’s sophomore season has been plagued by injuries which has helped the Kings have another disappointing season. The #2 overall pick looked really good as a rookie last year and was primed for a big jump this season. Hopefully he gets healthy soon and can help the struggling Kings.