Mistakes in ESPN’s 25 under 25 include the Detroit Pistons

Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham (2) Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham (2) Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Pistons have a bright future.

With Cade Cunningham, Jalen Duren, Jaden Ivey, Ausar Thompson, Marcus Sasser and Isaiah Stewart as their foundation, there are few teams in the league that boast as much young talent.

But right now, future potential is all it is, as the Detroit Pistons are still losing, doing just enough bad things to offset all of the good we’ve seen from their young guys.

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The young core has been very good this season, and there is a strong argument that their 2-7 record would look a lot different if they had a few of their veterans back from injury. If they ever get healthy, this might actually be a good team, and the best part is that the young players are the driving force.

That was reflected in ESPN’s recent Top 25 Under 25 (SUBSCRIPTION), which ranked the NBA’s best under-25 players based on future potential and included two Detroit Pistons. Here is the full list:

As you can see, neither Ausar Thompson nor Marcus Sasser made it, but I wouldn’t bet against them being on this same list next season, as both are off to great starts.

It was good to see Cade Cunningham and Jalen Duren getting their props, but the list still had some big mistakes.

Cade Cunningham was properly ranked

Cade Cunningham came in 6th overall, which seems about right, as he is just behind Ja Morant, Tyrese Haliburton, Victor Wembanyama, Anthony Edwards and Luka Doncic. Cade may surpass Ja by this time next season (especially if Morant can’t stop waving his gun around like an idiot), but it’s hard to argue against any of those other guys when we are talking about future potential because they are already there. Luka is an MVP candidate, Edwards will be there soon, as will Wembanyama (who I would have put at #1) and Tyrese Haliburton is already leading the league in assists.

Jalen Duren is better than Walker Kessler

Jalen Duren came in at 21st, one spot behind Walker Kessler. What am I missing here? I know counting stats aren’t everything, and Kessler does some things defensively that are hard to measure, but Duren averages more points on better shooting, more rebounds, more assists and is far more versatile on the offensive end, where he’s become a weapon in the pick-and-roll.

He’s also nearly three years younger than Kessler, so considering he’s already better now, I’m not sure how in the world Duren doesn’t have more future potential. It’s a small quibble, but these two should be flip-flopped on the list.

Other mistakes

I would not have Jalen Green higher than any of the guys ahead of him on the list, and in my 100 percent biased opinion, think Ausar Thompson will eventually be the better all-around player.

I’m not a big fan of LaMelo Ball, and would not have him nearly as high, especially when they have Chet Holmgren (who has been fantastic this season) four spots lower. I’d have Holmgren ahead of both Ball and Evan Mobley.

I might also have Scottie Barnes ahead of Paolo Banchero, but both are very good players. I’m not sure what Scoot Henderson has done at this point to warrant a spot on this list, but considering it is “future” potential, I won’t argue with it too much.

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