By Daron Grandberry on August 27, 2014
Although players must spend one season in college before entering the NBA, teams continue to fill roster spots with potential one-and-done stars and young talented players from abroad. Here are the 10 NBA teams with the most talented young athletes.
The Sacramento Kings are led by one of the best centers in the league in four-year veteran DeMarcus Cousins. At 24-year-old, Cousins isn't exactly an experienced veteran, but his numbers may indicate that he's ready for an All-Star season. Although the Kings are relatively young on the perimeter with Ben McLemore and Nick Stauskas, second-year guard Ray McCallum may help the Kings surprise after being named MVP of the Summer League.
Although the Boston Celtics may be going through a rebuilding period, the organization does have a good mix of talented young players with potential and proven players who will be looked upon to contribute. While it is uncertain how long point guard Rajon Rondo will be with the Celtics, the core of Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, James Young and newly-acquired Tyler Zeller are all under 25-years-old. Keeping Rondo would be wise.
Despite last season’s 25-57 season, the Utah Jazz are stacked with young talent. With the addition of Dante Exum and Rodney Hood through the draft, the Jazz have a young mix of talented guards and developing post players who should be much improved from last season. If the Jazz can get consistent production from Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Ricky Gobert, the playoffs could be in Utah's future.
With consecutive lottery selections the last two seasons, the Orlando Magic have a young core of Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic and Elfrid Payton, all of whom are under 21 years old. With the offseason additions of young veterans Channing Frye, Ben Gordon and Jason Maxiell, the Magic should be a much improved team. Will the Magic be playoff contenders soon?
With the addition of Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Thaddeus Young, the Minnesota Timberwolves have become one of the youngest teams in the NBA. Paired with 19-year-old Zach LaVine and flashy point guard Ricky Rubio, expect to see the Timberwolves spreading the floor and running their fast-break offense as often as possible. While the Timberwolves might struggle early due to their inexperience, the team should be fun to watch.
The Phoenix Suns are loaded with 10 players on their current training camp roster under the age of 25. The big question in Phoenix is whether Jeff Hornacek can coach this group of young talented players back into the playoffs. Last season the Suns surprised a lot of fans after barely missing the playoffs. With the Morris twins, Archie Goodwin and newly-acquired point guard Isaiah Thomas under contract, the Suns should be back in the hunt.
Although combo guard Austin Rivers hasn’t had the pro career he anticipated, the New Orleans Pelicans still have one of the most talented young players in Anthony Davis. If the Pelicans can get consistent production from their guard trio of Eric Gordon, Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans, they should contend for a playoff seed.
With the debut of 2013 draftee Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia 76ers fans should be optimistic about the upcoming season. Despite drafting another center who could miss significant time in Joel Embid, Sixers fans still have the 2013-14 Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams running the fast break offense. Tony Wroten showed he's a capable scorer toward the end of last season, and rookie Dario Saric showed some potential during the summer league.
One of the biggest question marks in the eastern conference will be the growth of the Charlotte Hornets. After making the playoffs for the first time since the 2009-10 season, the Hornets had a successful draft with the additions of 19-year-old Noah Vonleh and sharpshooting forward P.J. Hairston. If Lance Stephenson and Kemba Walker can coincide in the backcourt and play to one another’s strengths, the Hornets should surprise a lot of fans.
Although the Thunder might not be the youngest team on the list, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka are all in their prime. Last year’s addition of Steven Adams proved to be a steal as the big man played quality minutes during his rookie campaign. With the emergence of explosive guard Reggie Jackson and the selection of Mitch McGary in this year’s draft, the Thunder look primed for another title run.
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