There's nothing like the exuberance and youth of an under-25 athlete. Still too inexperienced to know better but gifted with the creativity and hunger that older players no longer possess, these basketball players are lighting up the scoreboard around the NBA and pushing the league to new heights. These are the top 25 NBA players under age 25, ranked in order of how good they are right now, combined with a little bit of a look to the future.
1. Luka Doncic – Dallas Mavericks (24 Years Old)
Luka Doncic is a nightly statistical marvel. He already has 58 triple-doubles in his career, and his combination of skills and mature guile has the Dallas Mavericks in the thick of the Western Conference playoff chase.
2. Anthony Edwards – Minnesota Timberwolves (22 Years Old)
Anthony Edwards can jump out of the gym, but he also developed a wicked mid-range shot to make the defense uncomfortable. The Minnesota Timberwolves are lucky to have Edwards lead their team, and they've paired him with dominant big men such as Rudy Gobert and Karl Anthony-Towns.
3. Tyrese Haliburton – Indiana Pacers (23 Years Old)
Tyrese Haliburton's innate understanding of sets, schemes, and passing lanes makes him one of the most intuitive guards in the NBA. Playing under the tutelage of Rick Carlisle, Haliburton gets better every year, and the Pacers have a winning record so far!
4. Tyrese Maxey – Philadelphia 76ers (23 Years Old)
Tyrese Maxey has been unleashed with James Harden no longer taking possessions from him. Athletic, shifty, and aggressive with the ball, Maxey fits next to MVP Joel Embiid perfectly. He should help keep the Sixers in contention for years.
5. Victor Wembanyama – San Antonio Spurs (19 Years Old)
What hasn't been said about Wemby? The gigantic Spurs center already changes entire offensive game plans with his height and versatility, guarding out to the perimeter and locking off the paint. With an improved post-game, Wembanyama will eventually be the best player in the world.
6. Zion Williamson – New Orleans Pelicans (23 Years Old)
Zion Williamson isn't exactly a bust, but he hasn't lived up to the hype yet. Sometimes, he'll flash a 25-point, 15-rebound game, but then injuries and laziness cause him to slip up and regress. This is a big year for Zion to take the superstar leap; he still has it in him.
7. Cade Cunningham – Detroit Pistons (22 Years Old)
Cade Cunningham gets overlooked playing in Detroit, but the young combo guard gets to his spots on the court like a ten-year veteran. At 6'7”, he's the perfect size to contribute as a scorer, passer, and defender. Coach Monty Williams should help him grow even more this season and beyond.
8. Chet Holmgren – Oklahoma City Thunder (21 Years Old)
Chet Holmgren is part of a tremendous young core in OKC. He doesn't get as much publicity as Wemby, but Holmgren's shooting numbers and defensive statistics match up well with his main rival. The extra year on the bench due to injury could help Holmgren like it did for Ben Simmons and Blake Griffin.
9. Paolo Banchero – Orlando Magic (21 Years Old)
Paolo Banchero is experiencing a little bit of a second-year stagnation, but expect him to keep getting better with an Orlando Magic squad experiencing a resurgence. Banchero's skills represent the modern prototype of a 6'10”, do-everything forward.
10. Ja Morant – Memphis Grizzlies (24 Years Old)
Ja Morant probably would have ranked in the top three on this list a year ago before his off-court issues. Morant's fall from grace shows how hard it is when professional sports come at you fast, and you can lose everything in the blink of an eye. Morant will get a second chance after his 25-game suspension, and the Grizzlies need his explosive athleticism.
11. LaMelo Ball – Charlotte Hornets (22 Years Old)
LaMelo Ball possesses the magic to get people watching the Hornets excited, but until the team surrounds him with better pieces and he dedicates himself to defense, his growth will stagnate. Ball's intelligence and understanding of angles make him one of the best passers in the league.
12. Darius Garland – Cleveland Cavaliers (23 Years Old)
Darius Garland's mix of scoring and passing makes him a perfect complement to Donovan Mitchell in Cleveland. With an All-Star appearance under his belt, his confidence should shoot up and aid the Cavs in their chase for the playoffs.
13. Evan Mobley – Cleveland Cavaliers (22 Years Old)
Evan Mobley gives the Cavs an embarrassment of riches regarding young talent. His shot-blocking and mobility around the basket make Cleveland a difficult team to score on, but Mobley can become a star with more offensive growth.
14. Jaren Jackson Jr. – Memphis Grizzlies (24 Years Old)
Jaren Jackson Jr. won Defensive Player of the Year in 2023, cementing his status as an elite player. With Ja Morant back soon for Memphis, Jackson should also become more comfortable in the Grizzlies' offensive attack.
15. Scottie Barnes – Toronto Raptors (22 Years Old)
Scottie Barnes won the Rookie of the Year in 2022 and improved his passing skills in his second season. Toronto may have to decide if it's better to move on from Pascal Siakim and let Barnes take over the team.
16. Jalen Green – Houston Rockets (21 Years Old)
Jalen Green's scoring numbers are slightly lower this season, but he's become more efficient and learned to contribute to the flow of an offense. With Ime Udoka coaching and Fred VanVleet taking some of the offensive load away, Green has evolved tremendously.
17. Josh Giddey – Oklahoma City Thunder (21 Years Old)
Josh Giddey is the perfect slasher and finisher for the OKC Thunder. Giddey's style might give him a low ceiling, but he should be a perennial contender for Sixth Man of the Year, and he'll be a great role player for many years to come.
18. Franz Wagner – Orlando Magic (22 Years Old)
Franz Wagner gives the Orlando Magic a solid second option behind Paolo Banchero. With two young players ready to grow next to one another, the organic development of the downtrodden Eastern Conference team should become much brighter.
19. Tyler Herro- Miami Heat (23 Years Old)
It feels like Tyler Herro has been in the NBA for a long time, considering his playoff contributions to the Miami Heat, but the quick-scoring combo guard remains only 23 years old. Herro was used as trade bait for the franchise to get Damian Lillard, but he's been a huge boon for the Heat in 2023-2024.
20. Keegan Murray – Sacramento Kings (23 Years Old)
Keegan Murray surprised a lot of folks with his quick ascension within the Sacramento Kings' starting lineup last year. With a good performance against the Warriors in the playoffs last spring, Murray now has a taste of what it's like to be in a serious environment playing meaningful basketball that other young players often miss out on.
21. Alperen Sengun – Houston Rockets (21 Years Old)
Alperen Sengun might be the most underrated young player in sports. His production has been vital for the Houston Rockets this season, and his intuition will help them in games that matter in March and April.
22. Jalen Williams – Oklahoma City Thunder (22 Years Old)
Jalen Williams is a big-bodied shooting guard with an old-school flair. His athleticism and high-flying dunks often hit the highlight packages each night, but his fundamentals ground him and help the Thunder even more.
23. Cam Thomas – Brooklyn Nets (22 Years Old)
Cam Thomas's scoring numbers almost don't make sense this year. Improving from 10 to 27 points per game puts him in the running for Most Improved Player, but we need a bigger sample size.
24. Jordan Poole – Washington Wizards (24 Years Old)
Jordan Poole got his ring and contract, and now he has a team. His maturity looks like it might be an issue. Poole needs to take smarter shots and focus on leading rather than hotdogging every time down the floor.
25. Walker Kessler – Utah Jazz (22 Years Old)
The center for the Utah Jazz showed plenty of promise in his rookie season. With perhaps more offensive tricks than Rudy Gobert, the Jazz may have found a cornerstone for the future to replace their former Defensive Player of the Year.