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10 Best NBA Players Under 25

Publish Date: 26.04.2024
Fact checked by: Jackson T. Pierce

Professional basketball is always changing. Though the game is typically led by seasoned veterans and proven stars, young athletes are the lifeblood of any sport. That’s especially true in the NBA, where one player can make a huge difference.

Teams are always looking for the next great talent. There are many young players with a lot of potential in the league, but a few truly stand out from the pack. They aren’t just the future of their franchises, they’re the future of the NBA.

1. Evan Mobley (Born June 18, 2001)

Most centers rely on their weight and size to bully people down low. That’s not the case with Evan Mobley. The Cleveland Cavaliers center does a little bit of everything despite being extremely slender for his position.

He’s a big reason for the Cavaliers’ recent success, putting up more than 16 points and 9 rebounds a game. He also knows how to dish the ball and does a great job when it comes to steals and blocks as well.

He’s not a deep threat like some other modern centers, but he can still hit a long range shot here and there. That makes him a multidimensional threat who can do a little bit of everything on both sides of the ball.

2. Alperen Sengun (Born July 25, 2002)

Young European players have always garnered extra attention in the NBA, and that’s the case with Alperen Sengun. The first round pick has paid off in a big way for the Houston Rockets, giving them a strong big who can shoot and defend in a variety of different ways.

What makes him truly stand out is his court vision. The Turkish big man averages 5 assists a game to go with over 9 rebounds and more than 19 points per contest. Add on his affinity for blocks and steals and you have a truly well-rounded player.

3. Paolo Banchero (Born November 12, 2002)

Since being drafted in 2022, few young players have had as much of an impact as Paolo Banchero. The combination small/power forward has done wonders for the Orlando Magic, giving them a strong ball handler who can score all over the court.

Banchero has the size to match up with other big men (6 foot 10’, 250 pounds) but comes with the ball handling skills and 3 shooting capabilities of a much smaller player.

Despite only being in the league for two years, he’s averaged more than 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists a game this season. He’s also just 22 years old, meaning he has even more room to grow.

4. Scottie Barnes (Born August 1, 2001)

When it comes to young NBA players, few have the versatile skill set of Scottie Barnes. The springy shooting guard/power forward can play from anywhere on the court. He’s also a great two way player who’s essential on both offense and defense.

The 2022 rookie of the year, as with so many other great under 25 players, gets better with each passing season. He started out strong, but now puts up points, assists, and rebounds with ease. Team leaders need to do it all, and Barnes definitely fits that bill.

5. LaMelo Ball (Born August 22, 2001)

LaMelo Ball has spent a lot of time in the limelight thanks to his famous family. Though that could have been too much for the young point guard, the 2021 Rookie of the Year has excelled since joining the Hornets in 2020.

He’s a great scorer, putting up 20 points a game and shooting 37.4 percent from three, but also an excellent passer who averages 7.4 assists. At only 22 years old, he’s proven to be a great, athletic leader for a run-and-gun team that wants to score quickly.

Though his defense isn’t as strong as some of the other players on this list, having such a versatile offense threat with the ability to pass makes Ball an essential part of what Charlotte is trying to build.

6. Chet Holmgren (Born May 1, 2002)

Chet Holmgren is not a conventional center by any means. Not only did he miss his entire first season with a tough ankle injury, but the 7 foot 1 center clocks in at just 207 pounds. He’s extremely lean and doesn’t have the power of other big men.

Despite that, he’s one of the best under 25 year old players in the NBA due to his great basketball IQ, rebounding prowess, and his ability to stretch the floor. He can shoot from three (37.2 percent) which helps open up other opportunities for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

He hasn’t completely taken over, but he’s proven to be a key piece in a young Thunder team. They’re winning a lot of games with him on the floor, and with his diverse skill set it’s easy to see why.

7. Ja Morant (August 10, 1999)

One of the biggest names in basketball, Ja Morant has only gotten better each year in the league. He’s a strong scorer, tough defender, and a two time all-star.

On top of that, he earned the NBA comeback player of the year in 2022 and rookie of the year in 2020. He’s a lethal scorer around the basket, lights-out long range shooter, great passer, and stalwart defender.

Despite some off-court issues, as well as a nasty shoulder injury, the point guard’s court vision and scoring ability has led the Grizzlies since his draft. As long as he’s healthy, Memphis always has a chance to win.

8. Anthony Edwards (Born August 5, 2001)

Being a great athlete and strong scorer is important, but the best players can often do a bit more. That’s the case with Anthony Edwards. The 22 year old is a strong leader who single-handedly turned the Minnesota Timberwolves around.

He came into the league putting up great stats, but has only improved with each season. He’s currently averaging 26.1 points a game while shooting 36 percent from three, all while adding on 5 assists and 5 rebounds.

Edwards isn’t afraid of the limelight. He’s clutch, hits big shots, and is a great defender. That’s why he made the NBA All-Rookie First Team and has two all star appearances in his first four seasons. There’s no telling where his ceiling is, or when he’ll reach it.

9. Tyrese Haliburton (Born February 29, 2000)

Tyrese Haliburton has always been a good, young player, but the last few years with the Indiana Pacers finally put him over the edge of good to great to amazing.

The guard shoots almost 40 percent (39.5) from three, and hits 47.8 percent from the floor. He’s an incredible scorer with great hang time, a strong vertical, and a mind for the game.

He knows when to shoot, but also when to pass as well. The guard has always been a strong passer, but his 11 assists currently lead the league. There’s no telling where Indiana will end up, but it’s clear they’re in good hands for now.

10. Luka Doncic (Born February 28 1999)

There are many skilled NBA players under the age of 25, but none of them have the skill set, popularity, or abilities of Luka Doncic. Touted from when he was a teenager, the Dallas Mavericks star is one of the best players in the league and he shows no signs of slowing down.

Since being drafted third overall in 2018, Doncic has made five all star teams, four All NBA First Teams, and took home rookie of the year. He also did that while averaging an unbelievable 28.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 8.3 assists a game.

Doncic isn’t just one of the best young players in the league, he’s one of the best players in the league period.

Conclusion

The NBA has talent from top to bottom, but the newer players tend to be the most exciting because they have the ability to turn a franchise around. All of the above athletes have potential, and could lift a trophy during their career.

Each rightfully earns their spot in the top 10 best players under 25. Doncic is one of the best all around players in the game, Halliburton is a complete player and team leader, while Edwards transformed the Timberwolves into a contender.

Though the other players on the list aren’t quite at the level of those three, they could easily get there within the next few years.

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