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Top 10 NBA players under the age of 25

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With another NBA season nearly upon us, the discussion begins anew. Who are the best, young players and how will they affect the league? Between the new influx of talent from the 2016 NBA Draft, plus the players who put in hard work and improved their game during the offseason, we're sure to see a ton of strong athletes perform even better this season.

So who are these competitors? We have the top 10 NBA players under the age of 25. They all have promising futures ahead.

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Top 10 NBA players under the age of 25 (The Cheat Sheet)
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Top 10 NBA players under the age of 25 (The Cheat Sheet)

1. D'Angelo Russell

Age: 20

Taken with the second pick of the 2015 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, D’Angelo Russell had a nice rookie season. The left-handed shooting point guard is more of a scorer than a distributor, which makes him a modern fit for the point guard position in the mold of Damian Lillard or Stephen Curry, for example. At just 19 years old and playing for a team that just featured Kobe Bryant’s final NBA season, Russell started 48 games and averaged 13.2 points on 41% shooting in 28.2 minutes per game last season.

Now 20 years old and without the shadow of Bryant, Russell and his young counterparts will take the reins for one of the most iconic basketball franchises in the world. The Los Angeles Lakers front office signed several veterans, such as Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov. The franchise also brought in former Laker and Golden State Warriors assistant coach, Luke Walton, to be the team’s head coach. With all these great things in his future, Russell is set up for success.

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

2. Jabari Parker

Age: 21

The second overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, just the year before Russell, Jabari Parker signed on with the Milwaukee Bucks. He started in his first 25 games as a pro, averaging 29.5 minutes with a 12.3 point-per-game average on 49% shooting from the floor. An ACL tear ended Parker’s rookie year prematurely, but he returned to the court the next season. He got into 76 games, averaging 14.1 points in 31.7 minutes per game in his second NBA season.

But Parker is tremendously talented, and the fact that he spent his first offseason as an NBA player rehabbing an injury took away from the time he could’ve spent working on his game and becoming a better player. Look for more from Parker, now 21 years old, in the upcoming season. If he’s improved his outside shooting, ball-handling, and defense, he could be a rising star in Milwaukee.

(Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

3. Kristaps Porzingis

Age: 21

Kristaps Porzingis is an extremely unique player with a ton of talent. A power forward who’s thin but stands tall at 7-foot-3, he reminds us of an even taller Toni Kukoč with his outside shooting and ball-handling skills. You could even argue that Porzingis is more athletic than Kukoč, as he entered the NBA at the age of 20 while still developing his skills and frame. Kukoč, on the other hand, didn’t make it to the league until he was 25 years old.

Fans were not happy with the New York Knicks for taking Porzingis — considered to be a major project — with the fourth overall pick in last year’s draft. But to the shock of many, the young man performed remarkably well as he worked to translate his game to the NBA’s style of play. Porzingis averaged 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks in 28.4 minutes per game in his first year in the NBA last season.

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

4. Giannis Antetokounmpo

Age: 21

Giannis Antetokounmpo may have one of the most difficult names to spell in the NBA, but he’s quickly becoming a household name. “The Greek Freak,” as many fans know him, is an interesting combination of skills. Antetokounmpo is 6-foot-11, but he plays three positions: point guard, shooting guard, and small forward. It’s not what you expect from a guy his size. At 21 years old and in his third NBA last year, he averaged 16.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.4 blocks in 35.3 minutes per game.

Antetokounmpo is on the last year of his rookie contract with the Milwaukee Bucks, but he’ll only be a restricted free agent following the season; meaning that Milwaukee can match any contract another team may offer him. This means that Antetokounmpo will be a very wealthy man should he continue on his athletic path. Not too bad for a guy who fell all the way to No. 15 in the 2013 NBA Draft.

(Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

5. Andrew Wiggins

Age: 21

Andrew Wiggins’ career trajectory was heavily altered the day LeBron James announced he was returning to his home in Cleveland. The Cavaliers took Wiggins with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, but he now saw himself — as a 19-year-old — on a roster full of NBA players looking to win a championship. The Cavaliers traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for forward Kevin Love.

Since then, it’s been somewhat slow going for 21-year-old Wiggins as he’s developed in Minnesota. He has defensive head coach Tom Thibodeau on the sidelines now, and there’s no doubting Wiggins’ talent, so there’s a good chance he takes a massive leap forward this season. So far in his two years as a pro, Wiggins has averaged 18.8 points on 44.9% shooting in 35.7 minutes per game.

(Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

6. Ben Simmons

Age: 20

We don’t know a lot about Ben Simmons yet, but what we do know is positive. Taken in this summer’s draft first overall by the Philadelphia 76ers, Simmons has a chance to be a real hero on a team that’s been rebuilding for as long as most fans can remember. As a freshman at LSU last season, the 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 4.8 assists on 56% shooting from the field.

All rookies go through an adjustment period, so the expectation that Simmons will be an immediate superstar is a bit lofty. Regardless, the kid has a ton of talent, and he’ll be surrounded by plenty of other great, young NBA players. Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, and Jahlil Okafor are all extremely talented big men who are currently on the 76ers roster as well.

(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

10. Anthony Davis

Age: 23

Still just 23 years old heading into the 2016–17 season, Anthony Davis seems to have been around forever. This will be his fifth year in the league, and he’s already made three All-Star teams, raised his scoring and rebounding output each year, and become one of the best defensive players in the game. Davis will eventually be a Defensive Player of the Year. In fact, he probably should have won the award already, but he may have been overlooked because of his youth.

Known to many fans as “The Brow,” Davis averaged 24.3 points and 10.3 rebounds to go along with two blocks per game last year, becoming a more complete threat on the offensive side of the court by expanding his game out to three-point range. After hitting just 1-for-27 on threes going into the year, Davis was 35-for-108 last year — a somewhat below average 32.4%, but still good enough to draw the defender away from the basket. Davis is one of the truly special, young NBA players and a superstar for the next decade.

(Photo by Tyler Kaufman/NBAE via Getty Images

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Follow Ryan on Twitter @RyanDavisBP

Statistics courtesy of ESPN and Basketball-Reference.

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