Ranking the Best Under-25 Players in the NBA Right Now

The definitive list of under-25 players currently dominating the NBA.

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Every year in the last half of June, there’s this buzz around the NBA about the incoming youngsters and their endless potential. This year was no different, as we saw players such as Lonzo Ball get fans talking about the future of the league. However, it goes beyond the incoming rookies, who make up only a small piece of the puzzle.

That’s why I decided to take a look at the best players under the age of 25. Many of these rising stars (or current superstars in some cases) have taken the NBA by storm, and did so at a very young age. Based on their early success, there’s only more excitement to come from these blossoming ballers in the near future.

20. PG Markelle Fultz, Philadelphia 76ers (19)
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Yes, I know Markelle Fultz hasn’t played a single minute in the NBA. Despite that, there’s a reason he was the first overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft. Now tasked with leading the Philadelphia 76ers into the future, look for the former Washington star to light the league on fire as a rookie.

19. PF Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers (22)
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We’ve seen flashes of greatness from Julius Randle over the last couple of seasons. Still, there’s more development for him to undergo before we can consider him a pick well spent for the Los Angeles Lakers. Based on the work he’s done this offseason, though, this could be the year we finally see the former No. 7 overall selection reach his true potential.

18. SG Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (22)
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This year, we are forced to hit the reset button on the Zach LaVine hype train. The uber-athletic guard was having another sensational year before an ACL tear brought it all crashing down. Now on a new team coming off a major injury, we’ll have to wait and see if he can pick up where he left off.

17. PG D'Angelo Russell, Brooklyn Nets (21)
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The Lakers may have thrown in the towel on D’Angelo Russell, but that doesn’t discount the fact that he’s a former top pick with endless amounts of untapped potential. Now with the Brooklyn Nets, he’ll be given even more opportunities to assert himself as the face of the franchise. Playing alongside Jeremy Lin, look for Russell to put a show this season as the go-to guy for this rebuild Boston lineup.

16. C Clint Capela, Houston Rockets (23)
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One of the more underrated big men in the NBA, Clint Capela has spent the last few years dominating the paint for the Houston Rockets. Although not a top-tier offensive talent, he wins on the boards and is a plus rim protector. Especially with Chris Paul now in the mix, look for Capela’s offensive game to take a step forward in 2017-18.

15. SF Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers (21)
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I know this is rather high for a player who is technically considered a rookie heading into 2017-18. However, in the case of Ben Simmons, the hype is well worth the No. 15 spot on this list. The 76ers will be relying heavily on his versatile talents as a small forward capable of running the offense. Between his natural scoring skills and surprisingly dymamic passing chops, Simmons should finally live up to the hype this season.

14. SF Otto Porter Jr., Washington Wizards (24)
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Otto Porter Jr. enjoyed a breakout season in 2016-17, quietly emerging as one of the deadliest offensive wings in the game. It’s easy to overlook him in a lineup that also boasts the scoring talents of John Wall and Bradley Beal, but he made his own impact in helping the Washington Wizards finish fourth in the East. After signing a shiny new deal this offseason, look for him to take the next step in his development as a rising star.

13. C Steven Adams, Oklahoma City Thunder (24)
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Another severely underrated center, Steven Adams has proven in a very short time that he can be a dominant force for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Now set to play alongside a dynamic lineup of scorers, Adams figures to see his touches and offensive opportunities shrink just a bit. However, if he can continue his upward trajectory, don’t think for a second that he’ll be lost in this revamped Thunder lineup. Adams is still a rising star in his own right.

12. SF Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves (22)
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It’s been three years since Andrew Wiggins was the No. 1 overall pick. Since then, he’s seen significant improvement with the Minnesota Timberwolves, particularly on the offensive end. Unfortunately, his struggles on the defensive end and the fact that he still isn’t a superstar are why he sits here at No. 12. The natural abilities are there, but Wiggins still has a long way to go before he lives up to his draft status.

11. C Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons (24)
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Despite coming off a down year with the Detroit Pistons, Andre Drummond is still one of the league’s most exciting big men. He’s a dominant force in the paint, and continues to improve as an offensive threat. Heading into 2017-18, he should be looking to enjoy a bounce-back season while serving as one of the Eastern Conference’s top rebounders and rim protectors.

10. C Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers (21)
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This could be a huge year for Myles Turner, who has inherited the go-to role for the Indiana Pacers following the departure of Paul George. We’ve seen flashes of his brilliance through his first couple of seasons, but this could be the year where he finally sees his stock soar. If he can take advantage of his unique athleticism on both ends of the court, Turner could be headed for an All-Star type of performance in 2017-18.

9. SG Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (20)
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The signs we’ve seen from Devin Booker so far have been exciting to say the least. The Phoenix Suns‘ young star has all the makings of an eventual All-NBA honoree, but still has plenty of ground to cover. Sure, he’s obviously got the scoring skills — we all saw the 70-point performance, right? Unfortunately, his passing, leadership and defense all need to see significant improvement before we start considering him a transcendent talent.

8. PF Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks (22)
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Coming into the league, Jabari Parker looked like one of the next great forwards. Then, two ACL tears in three years forced his stock to take quite the tumble. Still, despite his recent injury history, the former No. 2 overall selection has shown more than enough to warrant the “star” designation. He’s a dynamic offensive talent who also shines on the other end of the court. If he can get healthy and stay there, Parker will quickly become a key piece of the Milwaukee Bucks‘ future.

7. SG Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards (24)
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The second part of the Wizards’ dynamic backcourt, Bradley Beal has developed into one of the league’s most exciting shooting guards. Last season, he took the next step in his maturation, tallying career highs in points per game, field goal percentage, free throw percentage and assists per game. At only 24 years old, Beal figures to see even more progress as the Wizards continue to serve as one of the East’s top clubs.

6. C Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers (23)
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If he could stay healthy for longer than half a season, Joel Embiid would be in the top two or three players on this list. He’s an elite interior defender who also happens to be a ridiculously effective threat on the offensive end. The 76ers’ rebuild will depend largely on his ability to consistently see the floor and use that unbelievable skill set against opponents. If Embiid can reach his full potential, he’ll be a Top 10-15 player before long.

5. PF Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks (22)
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At this early stage in his career, Kristaps Porzingis only has one direction to go: up. We’ve obviously seen some exciting stuff from the New York Knicks‘ dynamic power forward, but chances are his skill set will only expand now that he’s taking on the lead role. With Carmelo Anthony out of the picture, Porzingis immediately takes over as the go-to guy who should take significant statistical leaps in 2017-18.

4. C Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets (22)
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Nikola Jokic was a revelation a season ago, quickly emerging as one of the premier big men in the NBA. Not only is he a dominant presence in the paint, but his passing for a center is almost unheard of. Jokic single-handedly makes his teammates significantly better with his ability to set them up with easy looks. Tie in his rim protection skills, and you’ve got the whole package. The Denver Nuggets figure to keep building around him for years to come.

3. C Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves (21)
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We’ve only seen Karl-Anthony Towns in the NBA for two seasons, and it’s already been mind-boggling to see a player of his size do what he does. Whether it’s sinking the three with surprising efficiency or driving his way to the rim like a slashing guard, the former No. 1 overall pick is already paying huge dividends for the Timberwolves. As he continues to add more tools to his repertoire in the coming years, we could see him emerge as one of the league’s top overall talents.

2. PF Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans (24)
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Much like Towns, Anthony Davis is a rare breed of big man who can do just about everything. Not only does he clean the glass and reject shots with the best of them, but he’s an offensive force who can put up points from anywhere on the floor. While the New Orleans Pelicans may not be a contender anytime soon, having Davis on the roster will keep fans interested and opposing big men from sleeping soundly the night before this matchup.

1. SF Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (22)
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In my opinion, Giannis Antetokounmpo is on the verge of being a Top 5 player in this league. His skill set is so unique, he simply can’t be stopped no matter what the defense throws at him. Need an example? Last year, Antetokounmpo led the Bucks in all five major statistical categories. If he can just make some improvements on his jump shot and three-point shooting, the Greek Freak will make a serious push for the MVP award.