• dwang16

The Future of the NBA: Top 25 Under 25

Updated: Nov 7, 2021

While superstars such as LeBron James and Chris Paul are still playing high-level basketball at age 36, a wave of young stars is beginning to take over the NBA. The league is in great hands, and fans are guaranteed an entertaining future. Today, I will attempt to rank the top-25 players under the age of 25.

To comprise the list, I will mainly consider each player's current accomplishments and skill-sets while also factoring in future potential. Beyond just each player’s general stats, we will dive into some of their advanced metrics to gain a more in-depth understanding of their performance. There is a staggering amount of young talent in the NBA, so we will do our best to weigh all the factors to generate the most accurate list possible.

Honorable Mentions

Tyler Herro

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Age: 21

DOB: January 20, 2000

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 15.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.2 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 13.3 PER (Player Efficiency Rating), 54.3 TS% (True Shooting Percentage), 23.5 USG% (Usage Rate), 0.049 WS/48 (Win Shares per 48 minutes)

Following an excellent run in the bubble, Tyler Herro had a disappointing sophomore season. Herro averaged 16.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in the 2020 Playoffs, and the rookie was a key reason why the Miami Heat made a surprising run to the NBA Finals.

However, Herro wasn’t able to replicate that same success this season. His three-point shooting dropped from 38.9 percent to 36.0 percent, and he only averaged 9.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in the 2021 Playoffs. Herro still averaged 15.1 points per game in the regular season, but his points per shot attempt dropped from the 63rd percentile to the 36th percentile, per Cleaning The Glass.

With a bigger role in the offense this year, Herro produced less. Nonetheless, a sophomore slump is typical for many players, and the 21-year-old still has plenty of time to get back on track.

Tyrese Haliburton

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Age: 21

DOB: February 29, 2000

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 13.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.5 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 16.2 PER, 58.5 TS%, 18.1 USG%, 0.096 WS/48

Tyrese Haliburton had a superb rookie season and was named to the All-Rookie First Team. While Haliburton was a potential top-5 pick in the eyes of many, he slid to #12 overall to the Sacramento Kings in the 2020 Draft. A huge question mark was whether Haliburton’s jump shot would translate into the NBA because his form is awkward and slow. Even so, Haliburton quickly silenced the doubters and he shot a fantastic 40.9 percent from three this past season.

With his 6'5 frame, Haliburton can do a little bit of everything on the floor. What stood out most from his rookie season was his high basketball IQ and efficiency for a young player. Haliburton's game has many similarities to Malcolm Brogdon, and Haliburton should be a solid player in this league for a long time.

Jaren Jackson Jr.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Age: 21

DOB: September 15, 1999

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 14.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.6 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 18.0 PER, 55.1 TS%, 25.9 USG%, 0.123 WS/48

Jaren Jackson Jr. is a huge wild card. In his second year, Jackson Jr. put up an impressive 17.4 points per game while shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from three. However, Jackson Jr. suffered a meniscus injury and ultimately missed most of the 2020/21 season. When Jackson Jr. made his long awaited return, he did not look the same. He looked lost defensively at times, and he only knocked down 28 percent of his threes. Furthermore, Jackson Jr. seemed to have a smaller offensive role and was left spotting up in the corner.

Going into next season, it will be interesting to see if Jackson Jr. can regain a larger role in the offense and produce like he did in his sophomore campaign.

The Top-25

1. Luka Doncic

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Age: 22

DOB: February 28, 1999

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 27.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 8.6 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.5 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 25.3 PER, 58.7 TS%, 36.0 USG%, 0.163 WS/48

The 22-year-old from Slovenia is already one of the best players in the NBA. Doncic made the All-NBA first-team twice in his first three seasons, the youngest player in NBA history to receive the nomination twice.

Last season, Doncic averaged 27.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 8.6 assists per game, leading the Dallas Mavericks to the five-seed in the Western Conference. In the playoffs, Doncic was simply unstoppable, averaging an absurd 35.7 and 10.3 assists per game. Then, Doncic continued his brilliant performance throughout the Tokyo Olympics with Slovenia, establishing him as one of the best players in the entire world. With a new coach in Jason Kidd, it will be fascinating to see if Doncic can continue to elevate his game.

2. Jayson Tatum

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Age: 23

DOB: March 3, 1998

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 26.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.5 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 21.3 PER, 57.6 TS%, 30.8 USG%, 0.137 WS/48

Jayson Tatum is unquestionably a special talent, and the two-time all-star is establishing himself as a superstar in the league.

In a season where he got COVID-19, Tatum led the league in 50-point performances. Arguably the most notable performance was his 60-point game against the Spurs, where the Celtics erased a 32-point deficit to come back and win. Tatum has a silky smooth jump shot and his signature step-back is almost impossible to defend. At just 23-years-old, Tatum tied the franchise record for most points in a game and is already one of the best pure scorers in the NBA.

Moving forward, Tatum will need to improve as a play-maker and he will take on more leadership responsibility as he becomes the face of the Celtics franchise.

3. Devin Booker

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Age: 24

DOB: October 30, 1996

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 25.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.2 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 19.2 PER, 58.7 TS%, 32.7 USG%, 0.104 WS/48

The Suns reached the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993, and the emergence of Devin Booker was huge part of their success. Booker averaged 27.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game in the playoffs, including a 40-point triple-double in Game 1 of the Conference Finals.

Ever since Booker stepped foot in the NBA, he has been a prolific scorer, and he is now drawing comparisons to Kobe Bryant. In 2017, Booker scored a whopping 70 points against the Celtics as a 20 year old, the youngest player to ever score 70, or even 60, in an NBA game. In addition, Booker’s scoring talent overshadows the fact that he’s a much improved play-maker. Throughout the playoffs, Booker had a lot of success running the pick-and-roll with Deandre Ayton. Without a doubt, Devin Booker will be a star in this league for a long time.

4. Trae Young

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Age: 22

DOB: September 19, 1998

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 25.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 9.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.2 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 23.0 PER, 58.9 TS%, 33.0 USG%, 0.163 WS/48

Just 22-years-old, Trae Young embraced the villain role throughout the 2021 NBA Playoffs. First, Trae led the Hawks over the Knicks in five games before then knocking off the one-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in seven games. This past regular-season, Trae averaged 25.3 points and 9.4 assists per game. In the playoffs, Trae averaged 28.8 points and 9.5 assists per game, raising his game under the bright lights.

Trae is lethal in the pick-and-roll with his ability to shoot threes and floaters along with his flashy alley-oop passes. Trae is already a nightmare matchup for defenses and he is on his way to becoming one of the biggest offensive threats in the NBA. If Trae can improve upon his 43.8 percent shooting from the field and limit his turnovers, his offensive game will be unstoppable.

5. Donovan Mitchell

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Age: 24

DOB: September 7, 1996

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 26.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.3 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 21.3 PER, 56.9 TS%, 33.5 USG%, 0.167 WS/48

The Utah Jazz had an incredible regular-season, securing the best record in the NBA. In particular, Donovan Mitchell had a great season and he is unquestionably their star. Just 24 years old, Mitchell has already established himself as one of the best playoff performers in the NBA. Despite playing through injuries, Mitchell shined again in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, averaging 32.3 points per game. Last year, Mitchell had an unforgettable 57-point performance in Game 1 of the playoffs against the Nuggets. His 57 points were the third most points scored in NBA playoff history.

Mitchell is an elite scorer and freak athlete, but he needs to be more efficient. Because of Mitchell’s incredible talent, he often forces shots rather than letting the game come to him. Mitchell shot just 43.8 percent from the field this past season, a number he clearly needs to improve upon.

6. Zion Williamson

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Age: 21

DOB: July 6, 2000

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.6 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 27.1 PER, 64.9 TS%, 29.8 USG%, 0.205 WS/48

Zion Williamson was the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, and he had extremely high expectations entering the league. Despite drawing comparisons to LeBron James, Zion has still managed to exceed expectations and live up to the hype. Last season, Zion averaged 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game on 61.1 percent shooting from the field.

Just 20-years-old, Zion has already made the all-star team and established himself as a dominant scorer. Once Zion gets the ball in the paint, he is almost unstoppable, similar to a young Shaq. If Zion can add a consistent jump shot and improve his play-making ability, he will be even more dominant, a scary thought for the rest of the league. The ultimate key for Zion will be staying healthy, and if he does so, there’s no telling what he can do.

7. Jaylen Brown

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Age: 24

DOB: October 24, 1996

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 24.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.6 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 19.9 PER, 58.6 TS%, 29.7 USG%, 0.115 WS/48

Jaylen Brown took a massive step forward this past season, earning his first all-star appearance. Brown’s emergence often gets overshadowed by Jayson Tatum’s greatness, but he should not be overlooked.

While scouts questioned his ability to shoot entering the league, Brown knocked down 39.7 percent of his threes this past season. Additionally, Brown is an extremely well-rounded player and has no real weaknesses on either end of the floor. Brown features a polished all-around offensive game with significantly improved ball-handling and shot creating ability. He looks much more smooth and confident on the offensive end after entering the league as a raw, athletic talent. Furthermore, Brown has always been a tremendously versatile defender who is often tasked with the most difficult defensive assignment. With the departure of Kemba Walker, Brown will take on an even bigger role alongside Tatum moving forward.

8. Ja Morant

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Age: 22

DOB: August 10, 1999

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 19.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.2 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 16.7 PER, 53.7 TS%, 27.2 USG%, 0.074 WS/48

Ja Morant is a freak athlete and elite play-maker who flourished when it mattered most for the Grizzlies. Just 21-years-old, Morant led the Grizzlies to the playoffs where his talent was on full display. Namely, Morant had a brilliant 35 point, 6 assist, 6 rebound performance in the play-in game against the Warriors for the 8th seed. Then, in Game 2 of the first round against the Jazz, Morant exploded for a career high 47 points.

Throughout his first two seasons, Morant has been slightly inconsistent, showing flashes of greatness but also having games where he makes little impact. Morant’s glaring weakness is his ability to shoot threes. As a result, many teams sag off of him and dare him to shoot. If Morant can be more consistent and improve his 30.3 percent three-point shooting, he will be an all-star point guard for many years to come.

9. Bam Adebayo

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Age: 24

DOB: July 18, 1997

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 18.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.0 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 22.7 PER, 62.6 TS%, 23.7 USG%, 0.197 WS/48

Bam Adebayo is only 24 years old, but he is already one of the most versatile players in the NBA. While Adebayo isn’t the flashiest player, he was a key reason why the Miami Heat made the NBA Finals last year. Last season, Adebayo averaged 18.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game on 57 percent shooting from the field. Adebayo also exhibits a high PER, TS%, and WS/48 which highlights his impact on the game.

For a center, Adebayo has a solid mid-range jumper and is a phenomenal passer. In fact, Adebayo is even better on defense where he can guard in space and protect the paint. One of the main areas where Adebayo can improve is his aggressiveness, because he is too talented to be passive. Last season, Adebayo rightfully earned his second straight All-Defensive second team selection.

10. De’Aaron Fox

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Age: 23

DOB: December 20, 1997

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 25.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 20.7 PER, 56.5 TS%, 31.0 USG%, 0.098 WS/48

De’Aaron Fox is most known for his incredible speed, and he is a great scorer and play-maker. Each year, Fox has steadily improved, and he looks to be on his way to becoming an all-star.

Indeed, Fox’s primary weakness is his ability to shoot threes as he shot 32.3 percent from beyond the arc this past season. However, aside from three point shooting, Fox’s offensive game features few holes. Firstly, Fox shot 76.1 percent from within three feet according to NBA Advanced Stats. Moreover, Fox has developed a consistent mid-range jumper, a lethal weapon off the pick-and-roll. Fox also averaged 7.2 free-throw attempts per game, tied for the seventh-most in the NBA.

With the Kings, Fox has a very high usage rate and carries much of the scoring and play-making load for the team. At 23-years of age, Fox has a bright future ahead of him.

11. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Age: 23

DOB: July 12, 1998

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 23.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.7 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 21.6 PER, 62.3 TS%, 27.8 USG%, 0.143 WS/48

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder as a key piece in the trade sending Paul George to the Clippers. Playing alongside Chris Paul, Gilgeous-Alexander took a major step forward and has developed into a centerpiece of the Thunder’s rebuild.

Gilgeous-Alexander may not be the most explosive athlete, but he is an extremely well-rounded and efficient player. Although his season was cut short due to injury, Gilgeous-Alexander shot 50.8 percent from the field and 41.8 percent from three in 35 games. He is excellent at creating his own shot with the ball in his hands, and his ability to create space makes his teammates better as well. Standing 6’6 with a 7’0 wingspan, Gilgeous-Alexander is another guard with a bright future ahead of him.

12. Jamal Murray

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Age: 24

DOB: February 23, 1997

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 21.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.3 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 18.3 PER, 59.2 TS%, 24.8 USG%, 0.129 WS/48

Jamal Murray had a brilliant run during the NBA bubble, averaging 26.5 points per game during the 2020 playoffs. Against the Utah Jazz, Murray had two 50-point performances to lead the Nuggets back from a 3-1 series deficit. Because of Murray’s scoring talent, he is a great guard to pair with MVP Nikola Jokic, who carries a lot of the play-making duties for the Nuggets.

This season, Murray was having a career year in terms of efficiency before it was unfortunately cut short due to an ACL tear. Murray shot 47.7 percent from the field, 40.8 percent from three, and 86.9 percent from the free-throw line in 48 games this year. He became the first player in NBA history to score 50 points without a free-throw. When Murray got injured, the Nuggets lacked a reliable second option behind Jokic and ultimately got swept by the Suns in the Conference Semi-Finals.

13. Brandon Ingram

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Age: 23

DOB: September 2, 1997

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 23.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.6 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 19.2 PER, 58.4 TS%, 28.0 USG%, 0.120 WS/48

Brandon Ingram has proven himself to be an elite offensive talent, capable of creating his own shot and scoring from anywhere on the floor. In fact, Ingram's long wingspan and deadly mid-range game makes him draw comparisons to Kevin Durant. Similar to Durant, Ingram has reportedly grown to 6’11.

In each of the past two seasons, Ingram has averaged 23.8 points per game. Because of his scoring ability, Ingram has been asked to take on a lot of the offensive load for the Pelicans. However, it is the defensive-end where Ingram will need to improve moving forward. Last season, Ingram sported a 114.2 defensive rating, making him a below-average defender. It will be interesting to see how Ingram and Zion Williamson play together in the coming years, because the Pelicans may ultimately move on from Ingram to build around Zion.

14. LaMelo Ball

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Age: 20

DOB: August 22, 2001

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.4 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 17.5 PER, 53.9 TS%, 26.1 USG%, 0.093 WS/48

The 2020/21 Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball had a lot of hype entering the season after getting drafted third overall to the Charlotte Hornets. He started the year slow, but he quickly became accustomed to the NBA game and put together an excellent rookie campaign.

Ball is undoubtedly an exciting young player who is very well-rounded and possesses fantastic court vision. Standing 6’8, Ball has incredible height for a point guard which helps him see over the defense and score at all three levels. Despite his talent, Ball is too carefree with the ball in his hands, and he needs to be more efficient from the field. With his 6’8 frame, his defense should also continue to improve as his career progresses. Just 19-years-old, Ball has a chance to be one of the NBA’s great point guards in the next two decades.

15. Deandre Ayton

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Age: 23

DOB: July 23, 1998

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 14.4 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.2 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 20.3 PER, 65.3 TS%, 18.2 USG%, 0.191 WS/48

During the 2021 Playoffs, Deandre Ayton showed why he was the number one pick of the 2018 Draft. Although Luka Doncic and Trae Young may be more talented players, Ayton fits exactly what the Suns need, and he is a major reason why the Suns reached the NBA Finals.

Throughout the playoffs, Ayton has averaged 15.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game, and he did a fantastic job on opposing big men such as Anthony Davis and Nikola Jokic. Chris Paul has helped Deandre Ayton take a huge step forward this season, and Ayton acknowledged this by saying “he was the best thing that happened to my career”. In the playoffs, Ayton featured a much more polished offensive-game and he dominated the glass. Only 23-years-old, Ayton will be one of the league’s most reliable big men for many years to come.

16. Michael Porter Jr.

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Age: 23

DOB: June 29, 1998

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 19.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.9 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 20.6 PER, 66.3 TS%, 21.7 USG%, 0.173 WS/48

Michael Porter Jr. has already blossomed into one of the most prolific scorers in the NBA, scoring 19.0 points per game on an extremely efficient 54.2 percent shooting from the field, including 44.5 percent shooting from three. Porter Jr. was a highly touted prospect out of high school, ranking second in the 2017 high school class. However, Porter Jr. ultimately slid to the Denver Nuggets at pick #14 in the 2018 Draft due to injury concerns and poor play in college.

While Porter Jr. is undeniably a talented scorer, he struggles in other aspects of the game. Porter Jr. was picked-on defensively last year, but he made considerable strides on the defensive end this year. The 23-year-old has an all-star future ahead of him if he can keep improving defensively and continue his lights-out shooting.

17. John Collins

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Age: 23

DOB: September 23, 1997

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 17.6 points, 7.4 rebounds. 1.2 assists, 0.5 steals, 1.0 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 20.6 PER, 64.5 TS%, 22.2 USG%, 0.174 WS/48

John Collins’ stats took a slight dip this past season, averaging 4.0 fewer points and 2.7 fewer rebounds than he did in the 2019/20 season, but he is a great modern day power forward. Since Collins features absurd athleticism and a much improved three-point shot, he has elite offensive tools.

Despite this, Collins has a tendency to disappear at times, and he will need to be more consistent. In addition, while Collins isn’t necessarily a poor defender, he can continue to make strides on the defensive end given his athletic gifts.

It will be interesting to see how the duo of Trae Young and Collins mesh as their careers progress. Early in the 2021 season, Collins was upset with how Trae Young ran the offense and expressed his desire to be more involved, as reported by Chris Kirschner and Sam Amick of The Athletic.

18. Mikal Bridges

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Age: 24

DOB: August 30, 1996

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 13.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.9 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 16.4 PER, 66.7 TS%, 14.9 USG%, 0.164 WS/48

Although Mikal Bridges’ numbers don’t jump off the page, he is an extremely impactful player who is a key reason why the Phoenix Suns made the NBA Finals. In college, Bridges won two national championships in 2016 and 2018 with Villanova, and he continues to win in the NBA.

Firstly, Bridges is an elite spot-up shooter and cutter, shooting an efficient 54.3 percent from the field and 42.5 percent from three this past season. Bridges is also Phoenix’s best wing defender and he narrowly missed the All-Defensive teams, receiving the 11th most votes in a 10-man field. Because of his low 14.9 USG%, Bridges is the perfect 3-and-D glue guy to play alongside ball-dominant stars.

It should be noted that Bridges is expected to command upwards of $20 million annually, so it will be interesting to monitor whether the Suns are able to re-sign him long-term.

19. Dejounte Murray

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Age: 24

DOB: September 19, 1996

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 15.7 rebounds, 7.1 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.1 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 16.5 PER, 50.9 TS%, 23.4 USG%, 0.074 WS/48

Dejounte Murray is known for his elite perimeter defense, but he has also developed into a well-rounded player who can do a little bit of everything. In just his second season, Murray made the All-Defensive Second Team, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to do so.

Despite suffering a torn ACL and not playing in the 2018/2019 season, Murray has continued to make strides each year he’s been in the league. In the future, Murray must improve as a play-maker and will need to become a more consistent jump-shooter after shooting just 31.7 percent from three this past season. Last season, DeMar Derozan was the primary ball-handler for the Spurs, but Murray has the potential to be a franchise point guard if he can be more fluid on the offensive end.

20. Collin Sexton

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Age: 22

DOB: January 4, 1999

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 24.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.2 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 18.0 PER, 57.3 TS%, 29.7 USG%, 0.080 WS/48

Collin Sexton's elite combination of speed and strength to go along with an above-average jump-shot has made him a great scorer since he stepped foot in the NBA.

However, Sexton’s numbers are deceptively good. Despite averaging 24.3 points per game this past season, Sexton had a BPM of 0.0 and a VORP of 1.0. BPM measures the impact a player makes on the team on both ends of the court, and VORP measures how many points a player will score over the average player per 100 possessions. These metrics suggest that Sexton hasn't played as well as his numbers may suggest.

One of the main concerns with Sexton is his play-making ability. Joe Vardon of The Athletic wrote: “Various Cavs players still grow frustrated by the way Sexton dominates the ball, and opponents taunt them by saying during games, ‘you know he’s not going to pass you the ball’”.

21. RJ Barrett

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Age: 21

DOB: June 14, 2000

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 17.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.3 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 13.4 PER, 53.5 TS%, 23.4 USG%, 0.078 WS/48

After a shaky rookie season, RJ Barrett took a huge step forward in his second year. In his rookie year, inefficiency and poor shot selection were his most glaring issues. Last season, Barrett unquestionably showed improvement, upping his field goal percentage from 40.2 percent to 44.1 percent and his three point percentage from 32.0 percent to 40.1 percent.

Nevertheless, the 21-year-old still has a lot of room to grow. For instance, Barrett’s free-throw attempts per game decreased from 4.5 to 3.8 in his second year. Barrett could continue to elevate his offensive game if he uses his size and physicality to attack defenses rather than settle for jump-shots.

22. Anthony Edwards

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Age: 20

DOB: August 5, 2001

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 19.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.5 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 13.9 PER, 52.3 TS%, 27.0 USG%, 0.017 WS/48

The first overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft had an up-and-down rookie year, showing flashes of dominance while also experiencing growing pains.

Edwards’ elite athleticism and explosiveness makes him a great shot creator and scorer. Despite a slow start to the season, Edwards turned the corner and had some monster performances, including a 42-point game. One of the main concerns with Edwards is his inefficiency and poor shot selection. Edwards shot just 41.7 percent from the field and 32.9 percent from three in his rookie year, numbers he certainly needs to improve upon.

Another major concern with Edwards is his lackluster defense. Edwards has the physical tools to be a good defender, but he has a tendency to lack effort on defense. Edwards certainly has star potential, but he will need to build off his shaky rookie year.

23. OG Anunoby

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Age: 24

DOB: July 17, 1997

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 15.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.7 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 15.4 PER, 60.5 TS%, 19.3 USG%, 0.104 WS/48

Over the course of his four years in the league, Anunoby made significant strides and has thus become a key piece for the Toronto Raptors. Last season, Anunoby improved his scoring average from 10.6 to 15.9 points per game, and he shot a very solid 39.8 percent from three. Additionally, Anunoby is an elite, versatile wing defender.

Without a doubt, Anunoby has developed into a very valuable 3-and-D player with a well-rounded game. In today’s increasingly 3-point reliant league, many teams are searching for reliable players like Anunoby.

24. Lonzo Ball

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Age: 23

DOB: October 27, 1997

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 14.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 15.2 PER, 55.1 TS%, 20.5 USG%, 0.089 WS/48

Lonzo Ball had high expectations entering the NBA as the second overall pick to the Lakers. He didn’t quite live up to all the hype around his name, but he has developed into a solid starting-caliber point guard.

In particular, Lonzo has always been a fantastic passer with great court vision, and he has been increasingly more efficient as a shooter. Many people also overlook that Lonzo is an elite perimeter defender. One concern with Lonzo is that he tends to play passively and settle for threes or dump it off to teammates rather than looking to create. If he can be more aggressive and regain full confidence, Lonzo surely has the potential to be a top tier point guard.

At the beginning of free agency, Lonzo inked a massive four-year, $85 million deal with the Chicago Bulls, and this change of scenery could help him take a big leap.

25. Malik Beasley

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Age: 24

DOB: November 26, 1996

2020/2021 Per-Game Stats: 19.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.2 blocks

2020/2021 Advanced Stats: 14.6 PER, 57.0 TS%, 24.0 USG%, 0.053 WS/48

Since getting traded from Denver to Minnesota, Malik Beasley’s career has really taken off and he has developed into a great scorer. With more opportunities on the floor, Beasley has consequently improved his scoring average to 19.6 points per game. Also, Beasley shot an impressive 39.9 percent from three.

Beasley is a fantastic athlete and can score from anywhere on the floor. Because of his scoring talent, Beasley is a valuable complementary player but is not a primary ball handler who looks to get others involved. Similar to his teammate Anthony Edwards, Beasley is not a great defender despite his athletic gifts. To take the next step in his career, Beasley will need to become a more well-rounded player who does more than just score.

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