In the world of sports we're always looking for the next big thing. Whose going to be the next MVP, whose going to get drafted No. 1 overall. It's why in every sport players are scouted from such a young age. And it's especially true for pro basketball prospects, considering that top teenage talents are evaluated as early as they reach junior high. The same holds true for current NBA players. Yes, guys like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry are still the face of the league, but we also have to keep track of the younger talent to see who has the potential to fill their shoes once those future Hall of Famers are done playing. 

It's why lists like "top players under 25" exist. While it may seem like an arbitrary number, when you're under the age of 25 in the NBA you have yet to really hit your prime. If you look at the youngest players to win league MVP, most guys didn't get those awards until their mid-20s, save for a few outliers like Derrick Rose (22), Wilt Chamberlain (23) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (23). Though some guys already appear to be hitting their primes by earning multiple All-Star and All-NBA nods, all of the guys listed below still have room for significant growth and development as their best playing days are still ahead of them.

Here are the Top 20 under 25 players in the NBA, according to the panel of writers that collectively produced CBS Sports' 2023-24 top 100 player rankings:

20. Nicolas Claxton
BKN • C • #33
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One of 2022-23's breakout players, Claxton was a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate for the Nets. Few bigs are as comfortable switching onto the perimeter and, now that he's bulked up a bit, few can bully him on the interior anymore. Claxton's free-throw shooting (54.1%) still needs to improve, but his finishing (78% at the rim, per Cleaning the Glass) is otherworldly and he's crafty with dribble-handoffs and in the short roll. -- James Herbert

19. Tyler Herro
MIA • PG • #14
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Despite taking small hits in efficiency from his breakout 2021-22 campaign, Herro once again averaged over 20 points per game while shooting 38% from 3-point range. He also notched career highs in rebounds (5.4) and assists per game (4.2), while leading the league with a 93.4% free throw percentage. Herro's defensive shortcomings tend to rear their ugly head in the playoffs, but the Heat certainly missed his scoring and shot creation at various times throughout their Finals run. -- Colin Ward-Henninger

18. Chet Holmgren
OKC • C • #7
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If you watched Holmgren in Summer League, you understand the hype around him. He's already an elite shot-blocker who can stretch the floor as a legitimate 3-point shooter. With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander being arguably the best driver in the league, Holmgren is going to feast on pick-and-pops and kick out jumpers. -- Brad Botkin

17. Jalen Williams
OKC • SF • #8
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Williams scored 27-plus points four times after the All-Star break, but the most encouraging part of his rookie season is how well he projects to fit alongside Oklahoma City's other young talent. A big, strong wing who can guard multiple positions, create for himself and play off the ball, he has the potential to be the type of star who makes other stars better. -- Herbert

16. Scottie Barnes
TOR • SF • #4
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Barnes' sophomore season certainly wasn't "bad," but it was a good reminder that development is not always linear in the NBA. After a stellar Rookie of the Year campaign, Barnes plateaued, and even regressed in some areas, at least statistically. Still, he remains a highly versatile forward and one of the league's most interesting players. Fred VanVleet's departure and new head coach Darko Rajakovic's arrival should provide more opportunities for Barnes to act as a decision-maker and show off his passing ability. But in order for him to become a star, he's going to have to improve as a scorer; last season he shot 237 of 670 (35.4%) outside of the restricted area. -- Jack Maloney

15. Josh Giddey
OKC • PG • #3
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Giddey has already become an important part of the Thunder's impressive young core. The Australian guard is one of the league's most creative passers and made a big leap as a scorer last year. Giddey's biggest weakness is his jump shot, but he converted 48.1% of his field goals last season after shooting under 42% from the field as a rookie. His outside shot is a work in progress, but his rebounding and playmaking on the break make him one of the NBA's best under-the-radar creators. -- Ameer Tyree

14. Tyrese Maxey
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A speed demon who has developed into a 43% 3-point shooter, Maxey has proven to be a dangerous third option on a championship-contending team. Can he handle more playmaking responsibility? Can he continue to improve as a point-of-attack defender? He doesn't turn 23 until November, so there's plenty of upside here, but at the moment Maxey must be ranked behind the pretty lengthy list of guards who don't have these question marks. -- Herbert

13. Victor Wembanyama
SA • C • #1
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Ranking Wembanyama before his debut is an extraordinarily difficult task not because we haven't seen him play in the NBA yet, but because we've never seen anyone like him play in the NBA before. The basketball world has never seen a 7-foot-3 isolation scorer with 3-point range as both a shooter and a shot-blocker. The range of outcomes here is so wide that Wembanyama might be No. 1 on this list before long. His combination of physical tools and tangible skills is unparalleled in basketball history. The only question is how long it will take for him to figure out how to use them on the NBA stage. -- Sam Quinn

12. Paolo Banchero
ORL • PF • #5
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Last season's No. 1 pick proved in his first year as a pro that his talent is eons ahead of his actual age. When you watch Banchero play, he just moves around the court with the knowledge of a seasoned veteran not a 20-year-old sophomore. He broke several league and Magic franchise records en route to being named Rookie of the Year, and he followed that up by becoming a standout player for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup. Banchero is a 6-foot-10 forward with the handle of a guard, the strength of a big and the scoring capability to make him an All-Star in the very near future. He needs to work on his 3-point efficiency, but that was one of very few weaknesses he displayed last season. He's in line for another big year in Orlando, and between him and Franz Wagner, it's clear the Magic have a promising young tandem to build around going forward. -- Jasmyn Wimbish

11. Franz Wagner
ORL • SG • #22
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The versatile German swingman is fresh off a successful sophomore campaign for the Magic in which he averaged 18.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. Wagner hardly ever misses games and consistently brings effort as an on-ball scorer and slasher. His fluidity on defense makes him especially impressive, as he's mobile enough to stay with guards and bigs to make the jobs of players around him easier. Wagner has the potential to blossom into one of the NBA's best two-way wings in time. -- Tyree

10. Cade Cunningham
DET • SG • #2
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Cunningham became a forgotten man after a leg fracture brought an early end to his sophomore season. The 2021 No. 1 overall pick logged just 12 games with the Pistons before the injury, but was no slouch in that limited sample, with averages of 19.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 6.0 assists. All three of those stats were improvements from his rookie season. Cunningham impressed as a member of the Select team ahead of the 2023 FIBA World Cup and will look to assert himself as one of the NBA's best young guards going into his third season. -- Tyree

9. Evan Mobley
CLE • PF • #4
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Besides instant champions like Tim Duncan and Bill Russell, you'd be hard-pressed to find a big man who entered the NBA as polished defensively as Evan Mobley did in 2021. The do-it-all forward snuck the Cavaliers into the top five defensively as a rookie and then carried them to the No. 1 ranking in his second season. No other 21st-century big man has matched that feat so quickly, and no other 21-year-old big man has ever been named first-team All-Defense, either. Mobley still has room to improve, as his first-round bullying at the hands of the Knicks proved. But big men simply aren't this good at this young of an age. He is already perfectly capable of switching onto any perimeter player and even guarding elite wings for full games. Once he beefs up a bit, he'll have a chance to become one of the best defenders of his generation. -- Quinn

8. LaMelo Ball
CHA • PG • #1
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Ball's health issues were one of the many problems that plagued the Hornets last season. When he was healthy, he reached new highs in points and assists per game in his third NBA season, but only managed to suit up for 36 games. Ball undoubtedly has the talent to live up to the max extension he signed, but he's yet to play meaningful playoff basketball as his team's leader. He lacks discipline on the defensive end but makes up for his shortcomings by scoring, rebounding, and playmaking at such a high level. Ball simply has to stay on the court and contribute more to winning. -- Tyree

7. Darius Garland
CLE • PG • #10
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Garland got off to a slow start last season and fell short of making a second straight All-Star game last season following the arrival of Donovan Mitchell in Cleveland. However, he continued to showcase elite playmaking and efficient shotmaking while sharing the backcourt with a high-volume shooter. He nearly matched his 2021-22 scoring average with 21.6 points per game and shot a career-high 41.2% from beyond the arc. Whether he has enough room to grow with the Cavs' current personnel remains to be seen. Evan Mobley is looking to get more involved on offense and the Cavs added some much-needed wing scoring over the offseason. -- Tyree

6. Jaren Jackson Jr.
MEM • PF • #13
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One of the NBA's premier young stars, Jackson broke out on both ends of the floor last season. He led the league with three blocks per game and took home Defensive Player of the Year honors, all while averaging career highs in points, rebounds and field goal percentage with 50.6%. His 28.4 minutes per game were a talking point, and he still gets into too much foul trouble, but his impact is undeniable -- the Grizzlies' net rating improved over 10 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor. The absolute prototype of a modern NBA defensive big, Jackson protects the rim, is capable of switching onto guards, and poses a menacing threat when closing out on 3-point shooters. -- Ward-Henninger

5. Zion Williamson
NO • PF • #1
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On Dec. 7, the Pelicans defeated the Pistons to become the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. They followed that up with two quick wins over the Phoenix Suns. During this time, Williamson was getting serious MVP buzz. From that point on, he would play only eight more games the rest of the season. That's the dilemma that comes with ranking him. The NBA's best interior scorer would compete for those accolades every year if he could ever stay on the floor long enough to do so. This is the floor for a player with his gifts. The upside of having potentially the best player in the NBA is worth the reality that he may never stay healthy enough to see a postseason game. -- Quinn

4. Tyrese Haliburton
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One player averaged at least 20 points and 10 assists per game on 40% 3-point shooting last year: Haliburton. He's already an All-Star and will likely be a perennial All-NBA candidate every healthy season moving forward. He's that good. Before Haliburton went down in mid-January with an injury, he had the Pacers as a top-six seed. I have a feeling this is a guy who will forever struggle to get the actual amount of superstar respect he deserves -- think Jalen Brunson type -- but we'll look up at the end of his career and find that his teams were always consistent winners and the players around him will have had some of the best years of their careers. -- Botkin

3. Anthony Edwards
MIN • SG • #5
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It wasn't especially surprising to hear Bruce Brown call the Timberwolves the hardest opponent Denver faced en route to their first championship. He had to spend most of that series guarding Anthony Edwards, who averaged 35 points in the final four games of that series, all decided by single digits. Edwards carried that momentum into a stellar run for Team USA, one of the NBA's great star-creation vehicles. Athletically gifted, increasingly reliable from deep, steadily improving as a playmaker and even committed to playing hard-nosed defense, Edwards was built in a lab to be a flawless NBA shooting guard. With a new max contract to his name, this will be the season Edwards ascends to the upper echelon of NBA stardom. -- Quinn

2. Ja Morant
MEM • PG • #12
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Morant is among the most electrifying players to watch in the league, and while his efficiency took a step back last season, his impact was still crucial to Memphis' success. He gets to the rim practically at will, ranking in the 93rd percentile among guards by using his quick first step and freakish athleticism to get by even the best defender. He's an absolute terror in transition, something that happens often with the Grizzlies ranking third in transition frequency. But it's not just his on-ball presence that makes him a headache to guard. If you're not careful, you might just be the next person to get posterized by Morant as he's cutting toward the rim to catch a lob pass. The All-Star guard will miss the first 25 games of the season due to a league suspension, but when he returns, he's sure to make an immediate impact on a Grizzlies team with championship aspirations. -- Wimbish

1. Luka Doncic
DAL • PG • #77
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At just 24 years old, Doncic already has as many first-team All-NBA selections as Stephen Curry, Chris Paul and recent Hall of Fame inductee Dirk Nowitzki. And while the Mavericks missed the playoffs altogether last season, it wasn't due to a lack of effort from Doncic. Amidst roster turnover, the Slovenian guard once again carried the weight of Dallas' offense on his shoulders, averaging a career-high in points while shooting the ball at a 49.6% clip, also the best of his career. With offseason improvements geared towards supplying Doncic with more help, we should get an even more efficient version of the All-Star guard who hopefully won't be asked to do it all again. -- Wimbish