Thankfully for the NBA’s future, the upcoming youngsters are alright. For the record, it is an understatement. The young players in the NBA are amazing. Ranking the under-25 players in the league is a difficult and exhausting process that causes tears, headaches, endless self-loathing, and then more tears. In any case, here’s a rating of the top 3.Any players presently under the age of 25, including those who turn 25 later this season, are fair game.
No matter how highly you rate the Memphis Grizzlies in your preseason rankings, it was not elevated enough. The No. 1 slot doesn’t even begin to give Morant credit since he is so utterly delightful and efficient.
Every single performance from him is its own experience, from gravity-defying dunks to startling floaters to theatrical passes to the complete and total feeling of unpredictability as he leaves his feet. But what makes his flare so lovely is that it’s also necessary.
Without Morant being Morant, the Grizzlies would not win or demolish expectations almost every year. They could be strong and courageous enough to win games in the regular season without him. But, he is their savior against the greatest lineups and teams, a functioning central system who has varied his mid-range and outside shooting and touch to the point that it is thought impossible to stop him.
It’s incredible that Jayson Tatum is still just 24 years old. It seems like he should be in his early to mid-30s given how many various incarnations of the Boston Celtics he has endured and led.
There may not be any more mountains for Tatum to scale, if the beginning of this season is any indication. His off-the-dribble scoring technique is well-honed, and he is still a balanced, adaptable defender with the ability to, with strength, party-crash possessions away from the ball. His increasing playmaking development culminated in last season’s incredibly intricate passing. He is now flirting with a career-high amount of shots from the charity stripe and at the rim, where he is hitting 80% or higher.
His difficulties in the Finals were seen by many as evidence of his shortcomings. That may be the case. Yet, it’s possible that the annoying Golden State Warriors defence had more to blame for making his life difficult. And maybe Tatum and the Celtics offence are now more equipped to withstand the same kind of difficulties. The fact that Tatum has previously been the best player on a Finals team, though, means more than anything else.
The fact that the Dallas Mavericks lost their second-best player (Jalen Brunson) over the offseason for nothing and replaced him with some mixture of Spencer Dinwiddie and Christian Wood and are still regarded as potential title contenders speaks to the one-man-shows of Luka Doncic. No other player on this list is as thoroughly dominating as this one to survive that kind of defeat and maintain the attitude that “Hey, if everything breaks right, another conference finals appearance isn’t out of the question.”
Adjectives are insufficient to adequately describe Doni’s contribution to the scene. His all-around shooter abilities, vision, strength, ability to shift speeds, and unflappability are transcendent and the stuff that all-time greats are composed of.