If there is one constant in the NBA, it’s the fact that the young talent of today build the powerhouses of tomorrow. This is why teams like the Philadelphia 76ers don’t mind forfeiting seasons in order to acquire these prodigies. The All-Under-25 Team is comprised of the best players younger than 25 years old based on their production and not their potential. To make this team, a candidate must be producing at least at a borderline All-Star level and special consideration will be given to players who have maintained their productivity in the postseason.
While there is an abundance of star-caliber players at the point guard position in today’s NBA, none shines brighter at such a tender age than Kyrie Irving. At only 23 years old, he has already been to the NBA Finals while dazzling us with his ball-handling and scoring ability every step of the way. He is a member of the elite class of offensive players I like to call the “Unguardables” because no one defender can slow him down on a consistent basis. Injuries have been a concern for him throughout his basketball career and have kept him from the floor so far this season. But when he gets back, we’ll all be watching because he is must-see TV. More importantly, he is vital to the Cleveland Cavaliers' championship aspirations and they will be depending on him to dominate at the highest levels.
Bradley Beal makes up half of arguably the Eastern Conference’s most dynamic backcourt. He is averaging a career high in points (22.7) and rebounds (4.8) per game while shooting at a career high 48.6% from the field and a blistering 47.1% from 3-point range. It is still early in the season, but he is already a career 40% 3-point shooter and has improved his all around game every year. He is also a bona fide playoff performer. Last season he upped his points per game from 15.3 to 23.4 from the regular season to the postseason while his field goal percentage only dropped minimally from 42.7% to 40.5%. So far this season, one can easily make a case for him as the best offensive shooting guard in league. This is high praise for someone yet to celebrate his 23rd birthday.
It’s hard to believe that this player is still only 24 years old. He plays like a veteran and his demeanor shows a level of wisdom that is rare for someone his age. Kawhi Leonard has a playoff field goal percentage of 51.5%, a Defensive Player of the Year award and has already been an NBA Finals MVP. With all that being said, he still has so much room for growth and has taken well to his increased role on the San Antonio Spurs. He leads a team that features LaMarcus Aldridge and Tony Parker in points and always guards the opposition’s best player. His offensive game is catching up to his already elite defensive game.
What more can be said about Anthony Davis? He’s one of the top-5 players in the league already and is only 22 years old! His versatility on both sides of the ball is unlike anything we’ve seen since Kevin Garnett was in his prime. Watch Davis operate and you’ll be left wondering how he can actually improve. He has added the outside shot to his already dominant, inside offensive game. He’s an elite rebounder and shot blocker, and is arguably the best pick and roll defending big we have ever seen. He got his first taste of playoff action last season and will be looking to add to an already impressive resume. He has all-time great potential, and is already well on his way to that status.
In an era that emphasizes perimeter play and the outside shot, there is a young big man putting up Bill Russell-esque performances on a nightly basis this season. This is non other than the Detroit Pistons’ Andre Drummond. His combination of power and athleticism, coupled with his high motor, has him looking like a young Dwight Howard. He’s finally got the space to operate now that Josh Smith and Greg Monroe are no longer in his way and he’s using it better than anyone could have anticipated. If he keeps this up, he’s well on his way to earning his first All-Star appearance. He’s averaging 19.1 points per game and 18.9 rebounds per game (let that sink in). To put that in perspective, the last person to average over 19 points per game and 18 rebounds per game for an entire season is Elvin Hayes (1973-74). The only others to achieve that feat are Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry Lucas, Nate Thurmond, Bob Pettit, Walt Bellamy and Elgin Baylor. Drummond’s performance so far has been the definition of dominance. In case you’ve forgotten, he’s only 22.