Ahhh yes. Every spring, various writing outlets put together their own subjective rankings of the NBA’s best young players. ESPN does a ‘Best 25 under 25’ list each year.
This year, there are three Suns on the list. Where do they rank compared to other teams’ top young cores?
A whopping 16 different teams are represented on ESPN’s list, which was compiled based on votes from 3 of their writers: Kevin Pelton, Mike Schmitz and Bobby Marks. Pelton is the advanced stats guy, Schmitz the draft guru and Marks the former front office exec. They all had slightly different lists.
The Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Pelicans are the only teams with 3 players listed, and the Suns are the only team with all three in the top 20. And the Suns are the only Top-5 NBA contender relying on three under-25 players in their rotation.
The list is supposedly based on “future potential” rather than current production, or I expect you’d see some names ranked differently.
Dallas Mavericks (28-21, 7th in the West)
- Luka Doncic (ranked #1 overall here)
Note: Kristaps Porzingis was a mainstay on this under-25 list but aged out
New Orleans Pelicans (22-28, 11th in West)
- Zion Williamson (2)
- Brandon Ingram (11)
- Lonzo Ball (24)
Charlotte Hornets (25-24, 5th in East)
- LaMelo Ball (3)
Utah Jazz (38-12, 1st in West)
- Donovan Mitchell (4)
Boston Celtics (25-26, 8th in East)
- Jayson Tatum (5)
- Jaylen Brown (12)
Sacramento Kings (22-29, 12th in West)
- De’Aaron Fox (6)
- Tyrese Haliburton (21)
Philadelphia 76ers (35-16, 1st in East)
- Ben Simmons (7)
Phoenix Suns (35-14, 2nd in West)
- Devin Booker (8)
- Mikal Bridges (17)
- Deandre Ayton (20)
Miami Heat (26-25, 6th in East)
- Bam Adebayo (9)
Oklahoma City Thunder (20-30, 13th in West)
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (10)
Denver Nuggets (32-18, 4th in West)
- Jamal Murray (13)
- Michael Porter (14)
Memphis Grizzlies (25-23, 8th in West)
- Ja Morant (15)
Note: Jaren Jackson Jr. was on this list a year ago, but has missed all year with a knee injury
Atlanta Hawks (27-24, 4th in West)
- Trae Young (16)
- John Collins (22)
Indiana Pacers (22-27, 9th in East)
- Domantas Sabonis (18)
Minnesota Timberwolves (13-38, 15th in West)
- Anthony Edwards (19)
Note: Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell both aged out this year
Cleveland Cavaliers (18-32, 12th in East)
- Jarrett Allen (22)
- Collin Sexton (25)
You can argue about them falling in love with the new shiny toy by listing LaMelo Ball at 3 while dropping Devin Booker all the way to 8. They had Ja Morant at #4 a year ago, but dropped him into the teens this year. Funny how players swing wildly, since this is supposed to all be about potential.
You can argue them putting Donny four spots ahead of Booker, and hope that Booker sees this before tonight’s game.
Here’s what they had to say about your favorite young Suns.
Enjoy the list while you can, Suns fans! This time next year, Booker and Bridges will both be aged out, leaving Ayton as the only under-25 guy considered for these lists unless Jalen Smith suddenly busts out in ways we can’t possibly imagine.