Walker Kessler Ranks Among Top Young Players in the NBA, According to ESPN

ESPN’s annual ranking places Kessler at No. 20 in the top 25 players under 25 years old

Walker Kessler, the talented young center for the Utah Jazz, has been recognized as one of the most promising players in the NBA. ESPN’s recent ranking of the top 25 players under the age of 25 has placed Kessler at an impressive No. 20. This accolade comes as no surprise considering his stellar performance as a rookie and his contributions to Team USA at the FIBA World Cup. While Kessler has faced some challenges in the current NBA season, his potential and impact on the court are undeniable.

Kessler’s Defensive Prowess and Potential for Growth

When Kessler stepped into the starting lineup last season, he quickly established himself as one of the league’s top defensive centers. ESPN’s Tim Bontemps highlights Kessler’s impact on the court, noting that the Jazz’s defensive rating suffered when he was on the bench. Kessler’s ability to anchor Utah’s defense has drawn comparisons to Rudy Gobert, and he is seen as a valuable long-term building block alongside Lauri Markkanen. Bontemps also suggests that if Kessler can develop a reliable 3-point shot, he has the potential to climb even higher in future rankings.

Kessler’s Struggles in the Current NBA Season

Despite his strong rookie season, Kessler has encountered some difficulties in the current NBA season. His per-game averages have declined in various statistical categories, including Player Efficiency Rating (PER) and win shares. Of particular concern is Kessler’s drop in win shares, as he has gone from contributing over seven wins last season to less than one win this season, according to Basketball Reference. While these struggles may be attributed to a sophomore slump, it is important to note that Kessler is still regarded as one of the league’s most promising young players.

The High Expectations for Kessler

Entering this season, expectations were sky-high for Kessler due to his impressive rookie campaign. However, the challenges he has faced are not uncommon for second-year players. Despite any setbacks, Kessler’s potential and talent have not gone unnoticed. He continues to be regarded as one of the brightest young stars in the NBA, and his inclusion in ESPN’s top 25 under 25 list solidifies his status as a player to watch.


Walker Kessler’s ranking as the 20th best player under the age of 25 by ESPN is a testament to his talent and potential in the NBA. While he has faced some struggles in his sophomore season, his defensive prowess and impact on the court are undeniable. As Kessler continues to develop his skills, particularly his 3-point shooting, he has the potential to climb even higher in future rankings. Despite any setbacks, Kessler remains one of the most promising young players in the league, and his future in the NBA looks incredibly bright.