With the 2019 NBA Draft in the rearview, let’s look at which teams have set themselves up best for the future.
To make this list, your most important player must be 25 years or younger. Giannis is only 24 but Milwaukee doesn’t make this list because no one else in the starting five is young. It’s an old core with a young ass Giannis running around doing everything.
Also almost put Brooklyn on this list but after removing qualifying offers to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and D’Angelo Russell, this team stinks. Why do people keep comparing Brooklyn with New York? Are stars in this league really dying to play with DeMarre Carroll in an empty arena?
Mavericks don’t make the list because outside of Luka Doncic, there isn’t much of a ‘young core’. Jalen Brunson and Justin Jackson are decent role players but it’s safe to assume they’re going to be adding vets in free agency to surround Luka much like Milwaukee put vets around Giannis.
Oh and lastly, Sacramento has so many 26 years old. I made ONE rule and they couldn’t follow it. Shout out to De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley though.
And finally, here are the Top 10 young cores in the NBA:
10. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers will probably have the worst record next season. They have everything going against them. A brand new coach from the college levels. A backcourt of two young guards who will be turnover machines. And zero roster flexibility. JR Smith is still at home.
Cedi Osman thooo.
9. Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns essentially wasted their first round draft pick on Cam Johnson, who many say is the best shooter in the drafter but also very much would’ve been available in the low 20’s.
Outside of that, Devin Booker could win a scoring title someday and DeAndre Ayton could be a perennial All-Star. They could also trick some other team into thinking Josh Jackson is good and recoup some picks for him as well.
8. Boston Celtics
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are now the stars of this team with Kyrie Irving and Al Horford opting out. Lolololol. Terry Rozier will most likely skidaddle as well.
Enter Romeo Langford, Carsen Edwards and Grant Williams. Yup, totally smart to hold onto all of your draft picks instead of trading for Paul George or Jimmy Butler or Kawhi Leonard or Anthony Davis.
7. Atlanta Hawks
Former execs from the Golden State Warriors front office moved to Atlanta and decided to put together Warriors East with Trae Young at the helm.
They’ve spent the last two drafts collecting versatile 3-point shooters and it’s kind of weird that other teams don’t do this. Like, why is Orlando obsessed with 7-footers? But I won’t kink shame the Magic for being size queens. Whatever gets you off.
Atlanta would be higher on this list if I didn’t watch Cam Reddish shoot 0% at Duke last season.
6. Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr could be the next Stockton/Malone combo, ya know, if John Stockton was dunking from the free throw line and Karl Malone had a pull-up 3-point jumper.
Chandler Parsons will be there too getting direct deposits and ghosting local Memphis girls.
5. New York Knicks
There is so much RJ Barrett propaganda, it’s tough to not believe the completely unearned hyped. Apparently all you have to do to be loved in New York is just say in a super monotone voice that you want to play in New York. That’s it. And you get the keys to the city.
Mitchell Robinson is the best center in the NBA and no one can tell me otherwise.
All the Knicks need to do to move up to No. 1 on this list is give Mario Hezonja the Max so this ranking is tentative.
4. Chicago Bulls
Real quick, Zach LaVine is 24 years old. I feel like his dunk contest with Aaron Gordon happened in 2009. But this isn’t about LaVine. He’s an atrocious defender, lackluster shooter, terrible playmaker and is never healthy.
No, this has everything to do with Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr and now Coby White, LaVine’s replacement.
3. New Orleans Pelicans
[5 hour long clip of Zion Williamson dunking]
2. Philadelphia 76ers
This is the young core that inspired my 25 and younger rule as Joel Embiid is just about to turn 26 but he’s certainly not considered a veteran in the league. Re-signing Tobias Harris would really solidify this fantastic young core.
I am a proud Ben Simmons apologist. NBA fans have gotten far too spoiled to believe every 6-foot-10 player needs an outside shot when there is no one in the league outside of De’Aaron Fox and 2014 John Wall who is faster moving the ball up the court on a fastbreak than Simmons.
Although I will admit that the Sixers would be first on this list if Ben could shoot. Oh, and if Markelle Fultz could shoot and was still an NBA player.
1. Denver Nuggets
Nikola Jokic is a future MVP. It was no fluke to see Denver earning the No. 2 seed in the West this past season and with Golden State missing two stars next year because their training staff doesn’t give a shit about anything, Denver could easily win the West in 2020.
Gary Harris, Malik Beasley and Jamal Murray could all emerge as potential stars in this league and I have soooo much Michael Porter Jr. stock. In 2019, a teenage kid can suffer a back injury and come back better than ever. It’s not like Larry Bird hurting himself shoving a driveaway in the 70’s and never being able to stand straight again.
Denver in 4.