rj barrett
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Three years into his career and RJ Barrett is still overlooked. In fact, his stock is dropping according to the basketball writers at ESPN. Mike Schmitz, Kevin Pelton, and Bobby Marks put together a 25 under 25 list for the Worldwide Leader.

There wasn’t a single New York Knick on the list, not even Barrett. He didn’t make the list last year either, but he received two top 25 votes. Schmitz, Pelton, and Marks all left Barrett off the list this year.

Here’s this year’s ESPN’s NBA 25 under 25:

  1. Luka Doncic — Mavericks
  2. Jayson Tatum — Celtics
  3. Ja Morant — Grizzlies
  4. Trae Young — Hawks
  5. LaMelo Ball — Hornets
  6. Cade Cunningham — Pistons
  7. Zion Williamson — Pelicans
  8. Bam Adebayo — Heat
  9. Darius Garland — Cavaliers
  10. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — Thunder
  11. Anthony Edwards — Timberwolves
  12. Brandon Ingram — Pelicans
  13. Scottie Barnes — Raptors
  14. Tyrese Haliburton — Pacers
  15. Evan Mobley — Cavaliers
  16. Miles Bridges — Hornets
  17. Desmond Bane — Grizzlies
  18. Jarrett Allen — Cavaliers
  19. Deandre Ayton — Suns
  20. Tyler Herro — Heat
  21. Jalen Green — Rockets
  22. De’Aaron Fox — Kings
  23. John Collins — Hawks
  24. Tyrese Maxey — 76ers
  25. Jaren Jackson Jr. — Grizzlies

It’s not surprising to see Barrett’s stock drop. His efficiency took a dip this year despite an increase in his counting stats. The eye test post-All-Star break looked good for Barrett, though.

With Julius Randle floundering, Barrett took over as the team’s top dog. He’s never afraid to cover the toughest guy or take the big shot. It’s clear that he’s a valuable young player, even if he’s not cracking lists like these.


This might be a New York bias, but give me Barrett over Jalen Green and Tyrese Maxey. And it’s important to remember Barrett is still young. Had he made this list, he would be the ninth-youngest player on it. There’s time yet for him.

A few other thoughts:

These guys almost nailed the top five. Luka Doncic at No. 1 is indisputable in my eyes. Jayson Tatum is a close No. 2, but I’d flip Ja Morant and Trae Young.

Morant’s having a ridiculous season, but Young is arguably the tougher cover in a playoff series. We saw that last year when he led the Hawks all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. The margins between the two are razor-thin, though.

Jarrett Allen’s rise from rookie to All-Star has been fun to watch. It’s a shame he’s hurt for Cleveland’s play-in game against Brooklyn.

There is so much young talent in the NBA spread across the league right now.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.