In our NBA 25 under 25 rankings that came out on Tuesday, a number of talented players missed the cut. As ESPN's David Thorpe and Kevin Pelton asserted in their story, the NBA is indeed a deep and athletic league. No wonder it was so difficult to select only 25 players.
Thus, I was asked to compile the "Next 10" players who I would rank directly after the initial top 25. They are ranked based on the same criteria, and to be eligible for this list, the player must be 24 years or younger (born on or after Jan. 22, 1988). It's an interesting mix of point guards and big men, with some obvious choices and some not-so-obvious picks.
Here are my next 10 top players under the age of 25:
Wall has missed most of this season to injury, but in the short time he has been on the floor his impact has been felt: Washington is 4-2 (including wins versus playoff contenders Atlanta, Denver and Portland) since Wall's return after starting 5-28. He is an explosive athlete at the point guard position in the same mold as Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook, although he hasn't developed at the same pace as they have.
His ability to get to the front of the rim and make plays for himself and others is astounding -- his assist percentage has been higher than 35 percent in every season of his career -- and it is easy to forget that he's had just three years of high-level basketball (one at Kentucky and two in the NBA) under his belt. Despite rumblings around the league that he might have hit his ceiling, I believe Wall will be a game-changer, not only as his jump shot improves but as his supporting cast does as well.