As we gear up for another fun NBA regular season it is interesting to look at the talent in the league and see where the NBA could be in a few years. With guys like Kobe, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett now retired, the NBA is beginning to look a lot different, and a lot younger.
The "young guns" of years past are now becoming the grizzled veterans. Guys like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwyane Wade have become what they call "old heads." It seems like it's been forever since that 2003 draft when these big three were the young studs of the Association. The NBA is no doubt in a transitional phase right now, shifting from the great late 90s/early 2000s players to the new millennial kids. Players like Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, and Kawhi Leonard are primed to take over the league in the coming seasons.
As the NBA always has done, they will help shape the next NBA superstar, it will be interesting to see who they chose to take the thrown and how they will guide that player to stardom. With this in mind, we will now take a look at the future of our favorite game as we delve into the 20 best NBA players under the age of 25.
20 D'Angelo Russell
Russell was drafted second overall by the Lakers in 2015. At only 20 years old the future is uncertain, but Russell has shown flashes of greatness already in his young career. Russell is one of the new breed of point guards, who has a keen understanding of how to run an offense and facilitating the ball to his teammates, yet he also has the ability to score if needed.
19 Julius Randle
From one Laker to another, it is apparent that the Lakers have a bright future. Julius Randle technically participated in his second NBA season last year, but for all intents and purposes it was actually his rookie season. Randle missed his entire rookie season after suffering an injury in the first game of the 2014-15 season.
18 Devin Booker
If LeBron James was making this list, Booker would probably be much higher. When asked what young player in the league he really likes LeBron said, "You know, what? I’m going to be honest. If it’s someone who is under the radar right now that I believe is going to be a really, really, really good, all-star player in the league – it’s Devin Booker from the Phoenix Suns.” With praise like that from the King we should all keep an eye on Booker.
17 Steven Adams
At only 23 years old, it seems like Steven Adams has been around forever, yet he has only been in the league for three seasons. During the NBA Playoffs last season, Adams had somewhat of a coming out party. During the 18 games that he played in during the Thunder's playoff run, Adams nearly averaged a double double with 10.1 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
16 Jabari Parker
In his rookie season two years ago, Parker started extremely well for the Bucks. After being selected second overall in 2014 Parker quickly established his place among the elite young players. Within the first two months of his career Parker managed to become the starting small forward for his team, a position he held until being sidelined by injury. He also posted double doubles and had over twenty points on multiple occasions.
15 Derrick Favors
The 6'10" power forward/center has been in the NBA since 2010, yet he is still only twenty-five years old. Entering the league as a 19-year-old high school and college sensation, Favors was expected to do big things in the NBA. He has yet to set the league on fire the way many thought he would, but he has progressed and had his moments of greatness already.
14 C.J. McCollum
C.J. and Damian Lillard (who was months shy of being eligible for this list) make up one of the best back courts in the NBA right now. McCollum helped lead the Trail Blazers to the Western Conference Semi-Finals last season, which included an unexpected series win against the Los Angeles Clippers.
13 Kristaps Porzingis
Knicks fans booed when the Phil Jackson drafted Kristaps with the fourth overall pick in the 2015, but he vowed to change the minds of those Knicks fans. During his rookie season he certainly did turn some heads, and changed some opinions.
12 Bradley Beal
The Washington Wizards had a plan. They wanted to put together the best back court in the NBA and build through it. So far the plan has not worked out exactly how they wanted, but they do have one of the best back courts in the NBA. With John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards are set in the back court for a decade plus.
11 Tristan Thompson
The newly minted NBA champion, and one of the most underrated big men in the game today ranks in at number 11 on our list. Thompson has become the new era Dennis Rodman with his uncanny knack for finding ways to capture offensive and defensive rebounds.
10 Ben Simmons
Having never played an actual NBA game, it is kind of tough to put Simmons on this list, but when you see him play it is impossible to knock his talents. Many people, including current players, have compared Simmons' game to that of LeBron James. If he turns out to be half as good as LeBron, the Philadelphia 76ers will be ecstatic.
9 Harrison Barnes
Barnes was a great role player for the dynastic Golden State Warriors over the past few seasons, and he is now set to lead his own team in Dallas. It appears the Mavericks have seen enough out of Harrison to set the fate of their franchise on his lap and ride it out with him, Dirk and a few other complimentary pieces.
8 Andrew Wiggins
Andrew Wiggins is positioned to have an incredible season this year, as both an individual and his team as a whole. The Timberwolves are probably the brightest young team in the NBA. They not only have budding star Wiggins, but they have reigning Rookie of the Year, Karl Anthony-Towns, and star point guard Ricky Rubio. To make things even better for the Wolves, they hired Tom Thibodeau as their new coach.
7 Andre Drummond
The days of the dominant center controlling the paint on offense and defense have seemingly gone by the wayside. But, Andre Drummond seems to be determined to not let the old school center die. At only 23 years old, Drummond still has some muscle to put on his frame, but he has no problem owning the middle already.
The Pistons are a team on the rise, with coach Stan Van Gundy at the helm it appears he is attempting recreate what he had in Orlando with Dwight Howard. He is building his team with great three-point shooters, who can surround the monster in the middle while he grabs rebound after rebound.
6 Ricky Rubio
Rubio barely made the cut for this list, he will be turning 26 right as the season kicks off, but for now, he is still eligible.
Rubio is one of the greatest passers in the NBA today, and his flashy passes are something that routinely gets him into highlight packages. Now that he is teamed with players of similar caliber look for Rubio to potentially lead the NBA in assists this season. As the Timberwolves enter the 2016-17 season, they are many peoples' dark horse to have a deep run in the playoffs.
5 Giannis Antetokounmpo
The hardest name to say in the NBA, is also on his way to being the hardest player to guard in the NBA. "The Greek Freak" is a walking triple double, and combined with Jabari Parker he has the Milwaukee Bucks primed for a deep playoff run this season.
4 Karl Anthony-Towns
As a 20-year-old rookie, Karl came out last season and dominated the NBA like a grown man. Averaging 18 points, and 10 rebounds as a rookie is pretty impressive stuff, but KAT has bigger plans for himself and his team.
As he and his teammates grow and gel together, Towns believes the sky is the limit for his squad, and frankly he may be right. The Wolves have acquired Tom Thibodeau to be the team president as well as the head coach. On top of his emergence as one of the top centers in the league, Andrew Wiggins has established himself as a top small forward in the game.
3 Kyrie Irving
After the NBA Finals, Kyrie has been inserted into the "best point guard in the game" conversation. It was no secret that Kyrie had incredible ball handling skills, and a great ability to finish around the rim. But, what was discovered during last seasons playoffs was that Kyrie also has the clutch gene.
2 Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis burst onto the NBA as a rookie in 2012. In his first NBA game he was pitted against Tim Ducan and the San Antonio Spurs. Great place to start right? Well, Davis went out and led his team in scoring with 21 points.
1 Kawhi Leonard
At only 25 years old, Kawhi has pretty much done it all. He has led a team to an NBA championship, won the NBA Finals MVP, (shutting down Lebron James in the process) and been a back to back NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
This season will be a new type of challenge for Kawhi. With the departure of all-time great, Tim Ducan, the team will officially become Kawhi's team. He will be looked at as the leader, and the guy they go to in times of need. His defense is obviously at an elite level and probably the best in the game today. It is his offense, however, that has got people talking this offseason. He has reportedly been working on his three-point shooting, as well as his post game. If Kawhi Leonard becomes an elite lever scorer he will become an immediate MVP candidate, and the Spurs will keep on rolling as a championship contender.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!