The NBA is loaded with talented young stars that will take this game to new heights when the elder statesmen have retired. LeBron James has been the face of the league for a decade now, while players such as Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and James Harden may not be around much longer. The tide is slowly turning in the NBA, and it could be the young stars hoisting the trophy sooner rather than later. But if you were in an organization’s front office, which of these young stars are worth building around for the future?
The new crop of talent will bring in many new fans, along with exhilarating highlight reels. Narrowing this list to only five players is a daunting task, and every fan has their own preference of what they value from a basketball player. The list will not be based on their current situation, but if you were to start a franchise today, which player under 25 would you begin the journey with?
Here is the list of the best NBA stars under 25 to begin a franchise with.
Top 5 NBA Stars Under 25 to Start a Franchise Around
5. Donovan Mitchell (24)
Donovan Mitchell led his team to the best record in the NBA at only 24 years old this season. He has an great supporting cast, but he is undoubtedly the go-to scorer on the team. Mitchell still has a lot of room for improvement in terms of efficiency and passing the ball, which is terrifying for the Western Conference. But when Mitchell is on fire, there is simply no one that can stop him. He was part of one of the most epic playoff series in NBA history last season, going seven games with the Denver Nuggets. He averaged 36.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game, with ridiculous shooting splits of 53-52-95. Mitchell put himself on the map as an elite player in the NBA after that postseason.
He has the “it” factor, and Mitchell is on his way to being a dominant guard for years to come.
4. Devin Booker (24)
Devin Booker is a scoring machine, and he still seems to be underrated. He is finally getting his first taste of the postseason and proved that he belongs. Booker can score in a variety of ways and is continuing to grow as a defender and passer. The knowledge and leadership skills that he is soaking up from Chris Paul joining the Suns will prove to be an enormous help to Booker’s career. Once Paul leaves or retires, Booker will carry the mantle of being the leader. He seems to be up to the challenge and could easily win multiple scoring titles throughout his career. Booker has already scored 70 points in a game, and it would not be out of the realm of possibility for him to achieve that again. Opposing teams double him all game long and it still does not deter him from scoring.
3. Zion Williamson (20)
Zion Williamson is the youngest of the five, and he could arguably be the second-best player to start a franchise with under the age of 25. His physicality and athleticism are unlike anything that the NBA has ever seen. His strength is unparalleled, and it allows him to score at the rim at will. Durability remains an issue for Williamson, as he has played in only 85 of 164 potential games. The scary aspect for opposing teams is they already do not know how to defend him, and once he works on his shooting, he could win multiple MVP awards .
If Williamson can stay healthy and add to his repertoire, he could lead the Pelicans to the promise land. The Pelicans are not a great organization, and the team around him does not suit his abilities, so they need to make changes before they upset Williamson like they did Anthony Davis.
2. Jayson Tatum (23)
Jayson Tatum takes his game to the next level every single season, and he is already battle tested in the playoffs. Tatum and the Celtics took LeBron James and the Cavaliers to a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2018, with a chance to go to the NBA Finals. Tatum is an elite scorer and shooter and, standing at 6-8, it is nearly impossible to contest his jump shot. He continues to build strength and improve his driving ability. Once he develops the ability to create for others and make his teammates better, there is no limit on how great he can be. Not to mention he is an elite defender with the ability to guard multiple positions.
1. Luka Doncic (22)
Luka Doncic has already proved that he can carry a team single handedly. His knack for drawing contact and finding the open man is uncanny. He is an elite rebounder for his size, and there is simply no player that can stop him. He showed that in the 2020 postseason, when he was facing off against some of the most elite perimeter defenders in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Doncic averaged 31 points, 9.8 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game in the 4-2 series loss against the Clippers. He was delivering every single game, while dealing with nagging injuries. His resume already consists of Rookie of the Year, 2x time All-Star and All-NBA First Team. There is no question that Doncic is the premier NBA star under 25 to begin a franchise with.