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What ESPN Got Wrong With Their Top 25 Under 25 List.

ESPN’s recent top 25 under 25 list has received a lot of criticism and push back, mainly because they ranked Lamelo Ball extremely high and had Devin Booker questionably low. Their top 10 goes as follows:

  1. Luka Doncic
  2. Zion Williamson
  3. Lamelo Ball
  4. Donovan Mitchell
  5. Jayson Tatum
  6. De’Aaron Fox
  7. Ben Simmons
  8. Devin Booker
  9. Bam Adebayo
  10. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

The list is based off of future value and potential so Doncic being first is a no brainer as he is the only one on this list who is already a superstar and legit MVP candidate in the league right now. He’s currently averaging 28.6 points, 8.8 assists and 8.1 rebounds while shooting 48% from the field and 37% from three (Source NBA.com). What’s so impressive about Doncic is that he is already this good and is only 22 years old. He has the potential to become the best player in the world in the future if he continues to progress at the pace he’s at.

I know a lot of people have an issue with Lamelo being ranked so high but I don’t. In fact, since we’re talking about future value I would put him at number two over Zion. Before his injury, Lamelo Ball was already showcasing why he is a star in the NBA. He has only started 21 out of the 41 games he’s played this season, but despite that, he’s averaging 15.9 points, 6.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds and had the Charlotte Hornets as the 4th seed in the East before he went down. To me, in the short amount of time Lamelo has played, he has already shown more of a complete game than Zion has. He can shoot better than Zion, play make and pass better and he’s only averaging two less rebounds than him. He’s only played half a season and I would make the argument that he has a higher ceiling than Zion.

I would also put Jayson Tatum third on the list. Although the Celtics are having a rough season, Tatum seemingly gets better every year. In his young career he has already made the conference finals two times and pushed a Lebron led Cavaliers team to a game 7 in 2018. He just has a more complete game than Zion and the rest of the candidates on this list aside from Lamelo and Doncic.

I believe putting Zion at four is the best option because even though I and many others see the potential in him, there are still some concerns about his game. Although it hasn’t necessarily translated to team wins, Zion has been having an incredible season averaging 26.5 points and 7 rebounds on 62 per cent shooting. He is one of the most unstoppable players in the league and he hasn’t even developed a consistent jump shot yet. If he can improve his rebounding numbers and get a jump shot I’d have no problem putting him second on this list or potentially even first. For someone who is mostly in the paint, he should be averaging more than 7 rebounds. Having said that, as he gains more experience, I believe he will improve his game and numbers all around.

One of the main issues I have with this list is that Devin Booker is ranked way too low. He should be fifth on this list because he is an absolute star. Unlike many of the other players on this list, Booker hasn’t always had a good supporting cast around him, however, this season is the first time in his career that he’s been given a good team and we see what the results of that are, as they have the second best record in the NBA. Chris Paul has been a tremendous help to Booker and will only help him improve his game from this point forward.

I do not feel De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo should be in the top 10 over Ja Morant and Trae Young. Young currently has the Atlanta Hawks as the 5th seed in the East while averaging 25 points and 9 assists. Young has also not had a fully healthy lineup for the majority of the season as Cam Reddish , De’Andre Hunter and Bogdan Bogdanovic have all missed an extended period of time. As for Ja Morant, he has willed the Memphis Grizzlies to the 8th seed without having their second best player in Jaren Jackson play a single game this season. Although Adebayo and Fox have shown glimpses of stardom they have not been able to sustain that level of play in the same way that the other players on this list have.

My top 10 under 25 players would ultimately be:

  1. Luka Doncic
  2. Lamelo Ball
  3. Jayson Tatum
  4. Zion Williamson
  5. Devin Booker
  6. Donovan Mitchell
  7. Ben Simmons
  8. Ja Morant
  9. Trae Young
  10. Michael Porter Jr.

Lastly, Michael Porter Jr. is special and despite playing with Jokic and Murray he has showcased just how great he is and can be. If it were not for his injury concerns he would be much higher on this list, but only time will tell if he can remain durable.

As always don’t forget to check out the rest of the Hot Sauce Family and find us on Youtube! This week on Not Sauce For Sports, Peeze, Terry and Eagle discuss the March Madness final, fireable offenses and phone wars!

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