ESPN’s Top Under-25 NBA List Has Jayson Tatum Behind LaMelo Ball

Jaylen Brown also ranked behind Ball

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Would you take LaMelo Ball over Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown if you were starting your own NBA team?

The folks in charge of ESPN’s top under-25 NBA players list apparently would.

ESPN on Tuesday published the 2021 version of its ranking of the NBA’s top players under 25 years old, based on future potential. Luka Doncic, Zion Williamson and Ball earned the top three spots, respectively. Potentially to the chagrin of Boston Celtics fans, Tatum earned the fifth spot while Brown landed at No. 12.

Here’s the top 25:

1. Luka Doncic
2. Zion Williamson
3. LaMelo Ball
4. Donovan Mitchell
5. Jayson Tatum
6. De’Aaron Fox
7. Ben Simmons
8. Devin Booker
9. Bam Adebayo
10. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
11. Brandon Ingram
12. Jaylen Brown
13. Jamal Murray
14. Michael Porter Jr.
15. Ja Morant
16. Trae Young
17. Mikal Bridges
18. Domantas Sabonis
19. Anthony Edwards
20. Deandre Ayton
21. Tyrese Haliburton
22. John Collins
23. Jarrett Allen
24. Lonzo Ball
25. Collin Sexton

The list was compiled by averaging the individual rankings from three ESPN NBA analysts: Bobby Marks, Kevin Pelton and Mike Schmitz. Inexplicably, Marks put Tatum at No. 13 on his ballot.

As for Ball, the 19-year-old rookie definitely showed immense upside before going down with a potentially season-ending wrist injury. The third overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft was averaging 15.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game through 41 contests.

The Charlotte Hornets’ budding star might be better than Tatum and Brown someday, although it seems a bit premature to make that call. But hey, it’s a fun debate.

Don’t be surprised if another Celtics youngster is on this list next year.

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