This season, we ranked our top 25 under 25 based not on who they are now, but who they can become. It's not solely based on potential as much as the projection on how much of that full potential can be reached. In a sense, this ranking represents how these players would be drafted if each were available in the draft right now.
To be clear: This is a ranking of how we would order these players if we were starting a franchise and would have them for the next several years, not just this season. The overall rankings are based on an aggregate average of the individual rankings of our trio of NBA experts, Amin Elhassan, Kevin Pelton and David Thorpe. Players must be 24 or younger as of today to be eligible for these rankings.
1. Anthony Davis | Age: 21 | Pelicans
Projected 3-year WARP: 44.0
Kevin Pelton: Davis' 33.2 PER not only leads the league, but it would be the best ever, per Basketball-Reference.com. Wilt Chamberlain had an estimated 31.8 PER in 1962-63 and Michael Jordan (31.7) has the best score since player turnovers have been tracked.
David Thorpe: Simply put, he's currently the best player on Earth and is still getting better. He is a huge impact guy in three phases of the game, offense, defense and the boards. All that is left is to grow into a great leader.
Amin Elhassan: Let's not waste too much ink on this one. He'll be the best player of any age pretty soon.