Tempsick: Building the best starting NBA lineup 25 and younger

Amway Center, home of the Orlando Magic. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com user "rochigb"

It is pretty amazing that there are so many great players in the NBA that are only 25 years old or younger. The youth movement in the NBA is real and with it comes a lot of talent. Some guys hit the ground running a lot quicker than others, but the league is in very good hands for the future nonetheless. Building a team of guys just 25 or younger is a difficult task due to the large amount of guys to choose from. I picked a starting five and threw in four bench players that just missed the cut. Here is my team….

Center Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks

The “unicorn” has proven everyone wrong, including myself. When he was drafted, a young Knicks fan broke into tears because he was so disgusted by the pick. But the 7′ 3″ Latvian has been the sole bright spot for the Knicks in his first two seasons in the league. Porzingis posted a stat line of 18.1 PPG, 7.2 RPG, and two blocks while shooting 45 percent from the field. He also improved his 3 pt FG percentage from his rookie season by two percentage points. Watching him so far in his career, I’ve noticed Porzingis doesn’t back down from anyone. He tries to block everyone that comes in path, not afraid of being put on a poster. That’s unfortunately hard to find in the league these days. Being so tall and long, with the range he has on offense, Porzingis is a matchup nightmare and all signs point to him having a special career. He’s 22 years young. 

Power Forward- Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

Upon entering the league, Anthony Davis had sky-high expectations to be the next great power forward. The #1 overall pick from Kentucky back in 2013 has exceeded said expectations. A.D. has had an exceptional career thus far, and it’s looking like it’s going to stay on that track. 

He is coming off a season in which he averaged 28 PPG and 11.8 RPG, both career highs. His résumé consists of four All-Star game trips, two All-NBA 1st Team and NBA Defensive Team receptions and has led the league in blocks once. It’s scary to think it’s only taken him four seasons to accomplish those things. Davis also deflected the biggest scrutiny against him, being injury prone. He played 75 of 82 games this past season, the most so far in his career. The former Kentucky national champion has become one of the best players in the entire NBA at just 24 years old.

Small Forward- Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

The guy who’s name no one can pronounce, especially Marv Albert. Therefore, most people just call him “The Greek Freak.” At 6′ 11″ with a 7′ 0″ wingspan, Antetokounmpo brings the ball up for the Bucks. His length makes taller defenders attempt to guard him, and it usually doesn’t work out too well for them. On the opposite end, Antetokounmpo can guard bigger players, allowing the Bucks to play more guards and scorers while he’s on the floor. This past season, the Greek Freak made his first All-Star team, while averaging a very impressive 22.9 PPG, 8.8 RPG and 5.4 APG. He shot 52.1 percent from the field and averaged almost two blocks a night. Antetokounmpo is a special talent, and he’s starting to put everything together. His athleticism and ball handling ability for his size is beyond rare. At just 22 years of age, he is someone that can take the NBA by storm. 

Shooting Guard- Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

He might not be the most exciting player on this team, but Bradley Beal has been more than a solid NBA player thus far in his career. Beal can really shoot it from deep, making him dangerous at all times when he’s on the floor. The former Florida Gator is coming off career highs in PPG with 23.1, APG with 3.5, and field goal percentage (48.2). Him and teammate John Wall have established themselves as some of the best back courts in the league over the last few years, and both continue to improve every season. The Wizards have a bright future as long as Beal and Wall stay on the team. Beal is only 24.

Point Guard- Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics

Last but not least is Kyrie Irving. It feels very weird typing “Boston Celtics” since the trade just went final recently. The Cavaliers sent the 4-time All-Star to Boston in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and Boston’s 2018 first-round pick. No one knows what the true reason was as to why Irving wanted out, but he got his wish. However, I don’t think many people out there will doubt Kyrie. It wasn’t too long ago he made a clutch three-pointer over Steph Curry in crunch time that ultimately won the championship for the Cavs two years ago. “Uncle Drew” is an exceptional offensive talent. He’s a great shooter and is arguably the best ball handler in the league, allowing him to dance past most players that attempt to guard him. Irving is coming off a career-high season in scoring per-game with 25.2 and almost shot 91 percent from the stripe. Kyrie is a star with a fresh challenge. In Boston you are judged on one thing and that’s winning championships. In order to be a success and soar to the next level, he’s going to have to deliver on the biggest stage. 

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Karl Anthony Towns, PF/C, Minnesota Timberwolves 
  • Andrew Wiggins, SF, Minnesota Timberwolves 
  • Devin Booker, SG, Phoenix Suns
  • Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers

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