Podcaster, contributor at The Athletic and friend of the site Sam Vecenie is back with his mega-podcast breakdowns of the NBA’s 23-and-under talent. Sam’s been on Adam Mares’s Locked On Nuggets podcast before and this is several hours of that sort of discussion on every prospect on his Top-25 list. Gary Harris checks in at #21, Jamal Murray is at #19 and Nikola Jokic finishes all the way up at #5 with the top Nuggets ranking that will still be somewhat controversial amongst Nuggets fans.

Ranking players who have never stepped foot on an NBA court against those with decent track records is always a tough endeavor, but Vecenie spends an inordinate amount of time on college basketball and has watched the games to back up his ratings. If you have the time and are interested in the players definitely give it a listen, as the two-man shows with Dieter Kurtenbach spells out the reasoning for all of the rankings. Even if you disagree with placements, it’s the arguments and underpinnings that really matter.

This is a huge year for Denver’s young players to break through on the big stage. A healthy year from Jamal Murray could rocket him up to Devin Booker levels as a back court weapon of mass destruction, while Gary Harris gets to graduate from potential star to actual one if his game takes another step forward. Jokic is already a star – now he needs to prove he can lead this team to the playoffs while picking up defensive pointers from the understated master of non-shot-blocking front court defense, Paul Millsap.

Since this is a Nuggets piece, though, we can’t let it go without this poll:

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