There have been players that seem to enter the league in their primes already, just to keep getting better and better on their way to stardom on a yearly basis, becoming franchise-changing kind of ballers and global fan favorites.
The NBA features the greatest basketball players in the world, and this new generation of ballers seems as talented and entertaining as some of the best we’ve seen, with great scorers blossoming year in and year out to take the league for assault.
History has taught us that most players tend to peak and reach their prime at age 27, with their best years coming prior to their 31st birthday when obviously father time takes a toll on their explosiveness, quickness and athleticism.
Nevertheless, today we’re going to talk about 10 players that haven’t even turned 25 years old yet, meaning their prime is still ahead of them and letting us know that we’re going to be entertained for a very, very long time.
Honorable Mention: Devin Booker, Aaron Gordon, Donovan Mitchell, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma
10. Andrew Wiggins
Andrew Wiggins has been a major disappointment throughout his young NBA career, and not because he’s been bad, but because he entered the Association with such a high praise and overhype, that we all expected him to be something close to the next LeBron James and become the ultimate Timberwolves leader.
Still, Wiggins has been a very solid offensive player despite not developing a sweet touch from beyond the arc, posting career averages of 19.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.1 dimes a game to go along with 1 steal per contest, but the 23-year-old needs to improve a lot on his defense if he wants to become the elite two way guard/forward we all expected him to be.
9. Bradley Beal
The fact that Bradley Beal is just 24 years old seems quite impressive, as it feels as he has been on the league for ages now and has settled as one of the world’s best shooting guards as a spot up shooter, also becoming way more aggressive to try and draw contact and constantly get to the line.
Beal is a low profile kind of player and that’s why he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves, only making 1 All-Star appearance so far. Throughout the season, he’s put impressive averages of 23.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game, and he’s led the way for the Wizards through key stretches with John Wall sidelined.
8. Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic has been a huge bargain for the Denver Nuggets throughout his rookie deal, and he’s a lock to get paid big time this offseason due to his vast offensive repertoire and the impact he’s had for the resurging Nuggets team that’s finally going to end that playoff drought.
Jokic is a terrific offensive player and the best passing big man in the league, he’s capable of putting the rock on the floor and lead the fast break, rebound and score from beyond the arc with great ease, although he’s been a very bad defender to say the least. Still, his season averages of 17.1 points, 10.5 boards and 6 assists a game on 49% shooting and 36% from three have been quite impressive, and he’s just 23 years old despite his vast experience.
7. Kristaps Porzingis
Kristaps Porzingis isn’t ranked higher in this list because he’s struggled a lot with injuries throughout his young career, and his development seems kind of stalled despite being the Knicks’ go-to-guy now that Carmelo Anthony decided to join forces with Russell Westbrook and play for the Thunder.
Still, the Unicorn is a much better defender than people credit him for, and he’s already proven to have Dirk Nowitzki kind of talent in the offensive end of the floor while being way more athletic. Throughout his career, the 22-year-old Lithuanian has put averages of 17.8 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2 blocks per game on 43% from the floor and 36% from three.
6. Andre Drummond
Andre Drummond has finally become a huge defensive factor for the Detroit Pistons, and even though nobody’s talking about it, he’s perhaps the most logical candidate to win the Defensive Player of the Year accolade this campaign regardless of if the Pistons make the playoffs or not.
Drummond has always been a very dominant rebounder, especially on the offensive end of the court, but had struggled in defense prior to this campaign. Also, he’s improved as a roll man and his offensive repertoire isn’t as limited as it used to be. Moreover, he’s leading the league in boards this year with 15.8 rebounds (5.2) offensive to go along with 15.1 points and 1.5 blocks and let’s not forget that he’s only 24 years old.
5. Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons was forced to sit out his entire rookie year while recovering from an injury, but it seems like he never stopped playing basketball for a minute, becoming one of the most impressive young men the league has ever seen, running the point at 6’10 for the young Philadelphia 76ers.
His lateral quickness and wingspan give him quite a huge potential in the defensive end, and whenever he’s finally been able to become a shooter, he’s going to be the best player in the league for sure. Making a strong case for Rookie of the Year, the 21-year-old has posted averages of 16.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.6 dimes with 1.7 steals a game on over 53% shooting.
4. Karl-Anthony Towns
At age 22, Karl-Anthony Towns made an immediate impact for the young Minnesota Timberwolves, and he’s only gotten way better, consistent and fluid in the offensive end of the court as games go by, being able to play both as a stretch four, or just dominate in the low post as the team’s center.
Obviously, defense is still a major liability as he tends to get caught between screens and often gets lost and makes several mistakes while helping, but he’s got the kind of upside to become the league’s best big man at some point, posting career averages of 21.3 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game on 54% from the floor and 38% from three.
3. Joel Embiid
It has been quite a ride for Joel Embiid, as the 23-year-old has struggled a lot with injuries and has had a lot of haters doubting his true capacity of becoming a consistent and reliable NBA player, but he hasn’t missed a beat to prove all of them wrong and even get his first All-Star nod during his sophomore season after sitting out most of the prior campaign.
At just 23 years old, Embiid has already become a fan favorite for his charismatic nature and his outstanding play in both ends of the hardwood. He’s currently making a case for Defensive Player of the Year and is set to finally put an end to Philadelphia’s playoff drought. With career averages of 22.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2 blocks per game, he’s already got an elite footwork and a very consistent shooting stroke, so you better Trust The Process.
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo is arguably the most impressive player in the league right now, and he just keeps getting better and better as time goes by despite his team’s struggles, improving a lot on defense and putting a lot of work to become a consistent shooter as well.
His lack of a jump shot is his lone liability but he’s still is able to get whatever he wants as a driver, and his hustle has been a major defensive factor for the Bucks all season long. Giannis is a lock to become an MVP one day, with season averages of 27.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks per game in over 51% shooting at just 23 years old.
1. Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis barely makes this list, as the Unibrow’s just a couple of weeks away from turning 25 years old, but he’s already a proven veteran in this league and his only true issue throughout career has been his durability and how slow he seems to be to recover from injuries.
Still, Davis is a major two-way stud that has had three consecutive MVP caliber seasons, but his lack of playoff success with a mediocre Pelicans team have really taken a toll on the voting.
Furthermore, he’s put career averages of 23.2 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game on 51% from the floor with a PER of 27.