The children are our future — both in the real world and the NBA.
With players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert playing out of their minds right now, we decided to peer into our crystal ball to identify the top 25 current NBA players under the age of 25 (as of today, March 19, 2017.)
Again, these are just players who are on NBA rosters at this moment. We apologize to the likes of Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Harry Giles, and Yabusele Guerschon for that decision.
As for who makes the cut as the top 25, we ranked the NBA's young players based on how big of an impact we think they'll make over the duration of their careers.
And not every impact will be positive. Some of these guys will leave lasting impressions on the Association because they sink entire franchises.
So here are the 25 NBA players we expect to define the future of professional basketball.
Getty ImagesMike Stobe
Andre Drummond, C, Detroit Pistons
Drummond has the skill, the tools and the coaching to be the NBA's very best defender. Whether he has the drive remains the question — and one Stan Van Gundy is going crazy trying to answer.
Thon Maker, C, Milwaukee Bucks
Maker probably won't grow into an All-Star, but the potential is there. Should he fail to reach that lofty ceiling, however, he'll probably go down as further evidence that project big men don't work out in the modern NBA.
Harrison Barnes, F, Dallas Mavericks
Barnes is a solid player earning a star's salary. That dichotomy could come to a head in a few years if the Mavericks are scrounging for cap space because they overpaid the former Warrior for his championship experience.
Buddy Hield, SG, New Orleans Pelicans
Hield is not a good basketball player. He'll be out of the NBA within the next five years.
That's not going to stop the Kings from treating him like the next Stephen Curry, though. And that mistake will doom Sacramento for years and years to come.
Devin Booker, G, Phoenix Suns
Booker lit up the Western Conference with a stellar rookie season, only to regress a tad in 2016-17. We're still counting on him to do his best Kobe Bryant impression into the next decade, though.
Jamal Murray, G, Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets have one of their guards of the future — it's just not Emmanuel Mudiay. While Murray got off to a slow start this season, he's picked up steam since the New Year. We have faith he'll develop into a fantastic two-way guard very soon.
Jabari Parker, F, Milwaukee Bucks
Assuming Parker is a true All-Star, the Bucks are going to be a very scary team right around the time LeBron James' body is starting to wear down.
Dale ZanineDale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Gordon, F, Orlando Magic
Now that Serge Ibaka is out of the way, Gordon has all the opportunity in the world to prove he's the rangy, defensive forward waiting to break out who we've seen in glimpses.
Julius Randle, F, Los Angeles Lakers
Randle's willingness (or reluctance) to take a backseat in Los Angeles and play a smaller role as a scorer will play no small part in how quickly the Lakers are able to rebuild moving forward.
Otto Porter Jr., F, Washington Wizards
Porter has been a huge part of the Wizards' surge to the top half of the Eastern Conference standings. His versatility allows him to continue to evolve no matter what parts Washington puts around him. He'll be a sneaky All-Star candidate sooner than later.
Brad MillsBrad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
D'Angelo Russell, G, Los Angeles Lakers
Like the Lakers, we have our doubts Russell can develop into the long-term starting point guard. That question — and how Magic Johson goes about answering it — will have a huge impact on the future of the purple and gold.
Kelvin KuoKelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers
If he can get back to full health, Embiid will become one of the best big men in NBA history.
The more realistic scenario, unfortunately, is some team will pay the broken center too much, and his injuries will end his career too soon.
Either way, Embiid will have a huge impact on the future.
Dario Saric, F, Philadelphia 76ers
Saric was worth the wait for Sixers fans. He's almost certainly the Rookie of the Year — and with Nerlens Noel gone, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons injured, and Jahlil Okafor a mediocre player, Saric might be Philly's best chance at a star.
As for Simmons? He's certainly on this list, but until we see him on the court in NBA games, it's tough to judge his value. We'll just have to revisit his status next year.
Kim KlementKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Nerlens Noel, F/C, Dallas Mavericks
The Sixers will rue the day they gave up on Noel, assuming he can grow up in Dallas.
Brandon Ingram, F, Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers need Ingram to be the superstar most anticipate if they're going to rejoin the ranks of the NBA's elite.
Jaylen Brown, G, Boston Celtics
Brown just plays the game the right way. When you're trying to win a championship, that's an invaluable skill.
Not every impact player has to be a superstar; just ask Draymond Green.
Andrew Wiggins, F, Minnesota Timberwolves
Wiggins probably won't become the all-world wing people envisioned him as he came out of college, but he's a tenacious defender who's consistently improving as a scorer.
David RichardDavid Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Myles Turner, C, Indiana Pacers
There's a whole slew of rim-protecting, high-flying, long-range-shooting big men flourishing in the NBA, and Turner is one of the best of the bunch. His potential development as an elite center might be the only thing that can keep Paul George in Indiana.
Brian SpurlockBrian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Nikola Jokic, C, Denver Nuggets
Jokic still has a long way to go as a defender, but he's the most skilled passing big man we've seen since Arvydas Sabonis. The Nuggets finally have a star in the making with the 22-year-old.
Anthony Davis, F/C, New Orleans Pelicans
The Brow is already one of the best players in the NBA, and he just turned 24 this month.
Yeah. Let that sink in.
Derick E. HingleDerick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Giannis Antetokounmpo, F, Milwaukee Bucks
He can't shoot 3s all that well, which is about all that's missing from the Greek Freak's game these days. If he manages to add the outside shot to his repertoire, it's game over for everyone else.
Kristaps Porzingis, F/C, New York Knicks
Porzingis doesn't get the credit he deserves as a defender and scorer because the Knicks are so atrociously awful. The only thing that can stop Kristaps from taking over the sport is his own franchise.
Kyrie Irving, G, Cleveland Cavaliers
Irving just barely squeezes in under the deadline — he turns 25 on March 23 — but it's true. He's one of the best 25-and-under players in the NBA.
Rudy Gobert, C, Utah Jazz
Gobert is the prototypical modern NBA center — a vicious pick-and-roll finisher and one of the best rim-protecting big men in the NBA.
Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Minnesota Timberwolves
A devastating package of speed, power and footwork, Towns is on the cusp of All-NBA-caliber play in just his second season. Anyone bemoaning the death of the center position isn't paying attention to Minnesota.