I Have a Problem With ESPN’s NBA 25 Under 25 List

ESPN put this list behind their paywall, but I’m about to show it to you for free, you’re welcome.

25. Jaren Jackson Jr.
24. Tyrese Maxey
23. John Collins

22. De’Aaron Fox

21. Jalen Green

20. Tyler Herro

19. DeAndre Ayton

18. Jarrett Allen

17. Desmond Bane
16. Miles Bridges
15. Evan Mobley
14. Tyrese Haliburton
13. Scottie Barnes

12. Brandon Ingram

11. Anthony Edwards

10. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

9. Darius Garland

8. Bam Adebayo

7. Zion Williamson

6. Cade Cunningham

5. LaMelo Ball

4. Trae Young

3. Ja Morant

2. Jayson Tatum

1. Luka Doncic

As you probably noticed, some names are in bold and others are not. The names in bold are the ones that should NOT be on this list IN FRONT OF RJ BARRETT. I need to clarify before I go any further that I do not think these players are bad, I just believe RJ Barrett is better. This is a case for RJ, not against them. 

One thing I can agree on is the top four players are correct and in the right order, no debate. LaMelo and Cade are a bit high for me, but since this list is based on potential then I guess it’s ok. Zion should not be on this list at all. He didn’t play a single game this year, therefore he should be gone. I’m 99 percent sure that if Zion had played just 10 games this year ESPN would have him one or two on this list because they can’t get enough of this guy. 

Back to my case for RJ. Is he the most efficient or consistent guy out of the bolded names? For sure not. Is he the only guy that could lead his team to victory as the number one option? Absolutely, undeniably yes. Jalen Green is probably already the best player on the Rockets, but he is just a rookie and simply can’t lift his team to his level, which can change with time, of course. Every other name (sans Zion and Jalen Green) that is in bold isn’t even the best player on their team, you can’t even make an argument for them! Julius Randle had a very disappointing campaign this season, and time and time again we had to see RJ step up as not only the number one scoring option, but the number one facilitator of the Knicks offense. He is the heart and soul of the Knicks and is their young leader on the court and in the locker room. You could easily make the case he is the best player on the Knicks. 

RJ turns 22 in June, so he has a chance to make the list for a few more seasons, but I doubt the kid gives a damn about this. Someone has to speak on his behalf though, and I will gladly go to war for him. 

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