This past season, we witnessed some of the best players in the league dominate their respective positions. A lot of them happened to be at the ripe age of 23 and under.
These players showcased the special talent and were often the best players on their teams. At the same time, some of these players were even rookies, who managed to excite the league with their spectacular play. There might be a particular rookie that is yet to play an NBA game that might make this list, and excite the fans for many years to come.
Here are the top 10 best NBA players aged 23-and-under.
Kuzma was kept by the Lakers, as the majority of the roster was shipped to New Orleans as part of the trade deal for Anthony Davis at the end of the season. Kuzma is a natural talent, with an ability to become an All-Star thanks to athleticism for his position and his ability to score in a variety of ways.
Kuzma is part of the core of the Lakers and will be responsible for being the third option behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
We knew what Ayton was coming out of college, and he has not disappointed. He averaged 16 and 10 with almost 60% FG shooting. Ayton is simply a fantastic scorer and rebounder in the paint as he showcased with his back-to-the-basket ability and a nice mid-range jumper.
Ayton will likely be a 20-10 guy for the rest of his career and is one of the best young big men in the league. If he can improve and manage to garner some more wins for his struggling Suns team, he might be fighting for a position in the Top 10.
Markkanen is a perfect NBA big, with his ability to block shots and shoot from the perimeter. It is no wonder why he is so highly rated by the Bulls, who have to seem to make him their building block for the future.
Markkanen averaged 19 and 9 this past season, and it might be this season where he becomes the 20-10 star for Chicago.
10. Aaron Gordon
Aaron Gordon had a fantastic season for the Magic last year, averaging 16 points and 7 assists per game. His team managed to make the Playoffs, but they fell short and Gordon has a chance to continue to improve his game.
Gordon is a dunk explosion waiting to happen, with his ability to attack the rim with force and dunk over any poor defender. Gordon is also very effective in playing the power forward position, and it is only a matter of time before he improves his offensive game by improving his jump shooting and adding some more strength to his body.
9. De’Aaron Fox
De’Aaron Fox is a special type of point guard. He is built very well and is lightning quick. Fox is a player that has explosive quickness similar to a young Dwyane Wade and is unstoppable on the break.
Fox continues to improve his game, and will soon sport an efficient jump shot that will make him very difficult to stop. He already possessed a very strong playmaking game and can handle most point guards defensively.
8. Jayson Tatum
Tatum is becoming a more reliable offensive option, and he might be the type of player to be your number one option someday. He has all the tools to dominate offensively, from his sweet shooter’s touch to his footwork and knowledge of spacing.
Tatum has been working extensively with Kobe Bryant this summer, so it is very exciting to see what he will showcase this season with the Celtics. Tatum will continue to improve each and every season, and he will soon be an All-Star player in the league.
7. Brandon Ingram
Ingram was supposed to lead the Lakers into the future, but the signing of LeBron James quickly shortened his stint as a Laker. He now has to find his feet on a young Pelicans team that is dripping with talent.
Out of all the players in New Orleans, Ingram might be the most polished. He can score very well and has excellent handles and playmaking skills. Brandon Ingram will only continue to get better, and it might not take long before he is recognized as a player that a team can build around.
6. Devin Booker
Booker is an offensive machine, thanks to his sharpshooting. Booker is a great shooter from the perimeter and is now able to make shots under pressure. Due to his supreme offensive talent, he makes the list at third place despite being very raw in other aspects of his game.
Booker still has a ways to go defensively and must be able to find open guys when he starts getting double-teamed more often. Booker is simply too much to handle one-on-one, and he was one of the very few shining lights for the Phoenix Suns. Booker must get the right pieces around him if the Suns want to hold onto him.
5. Luka Doncic
Doncic was a monster last season. As a rookie, he showed that he can perform in big moments and has all the skills to be a franchise player for the Mavericks. As good as Trae Young is, and can be, Doncic might be on another level. Luka has natural talent, and his hard work will make him a superstar player someday.
He is also a fan-favorite and might be voted into an All-Star game this coming season. Doncic is scary good, and it is even scarier what he can be in the near future.
4. Donovan Mitchell
With so many great players 23 and under, Mitchell might be the most NBA-ready to become an All-Star. Mitchell has the best all-around game for his age and just needs to focus on maturing into his NBA frame.
Mitchell can score with the best players in the league and has made the playoffs each season since coming into the NBA. He has the tools to guard the opposing team’s best guard, take the big shots, and put on a show every night.
Mitchell is a player that you can help you win games right now, which is why he shares the cake as one of the best players aged 23 and under.
3. D’Angelo Russell
D’Angelo Russell took a massive step in this past season with the Nets, showcasing an improved scoring ability and the desire to become the leader as the star of Brooklyn. Russe; was very effective all season long, averaging 21 points and 7 assists per game.
Despite being moved in a trade to the Warriors, Russell can still be a primary ball-handler and relieve Steph Curry of his offensive duties. He will continue to get better, and playing in the Warriors system will only help his offensive game.
2. Karl-Anthony Towns
Towns has all the skills and physical tools a player needs to become a superstar. He can score the ball well from the perimeter, and especially in the paint. Towns is also a fantastic rebounder, averaging 12 rebounds per game for his career. He has everything offensively and is improving defensively as well.
It was only a few seasons ago when teams decided that Towns was the perfect player to build around. Once he matures and takes responsibility as the alpha in his team, he will finally take the step to become a superstar.
1. Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons was the final piece of the puzzle to complete the Sixers’ tanking process. He is a fantastic player, with power forward’s body and skills of a true point guard. He is similar to Magic Johnson in this regard, although Simmons is a freak athlete and can defend all five positions over a course of a game.
The future is very exciting for this man, and he might be a jump shot away from being one of the 10 best players in the entire NBA. Right now, he is the best player 23 years and under.