The Best Teams in Sports Five Years from Now
It’s great to have youth, isn’t it?
While we all try to stay as young as possible, eventually Father Time catches up with us.
But sports teams are meant to try to sustain success over years, with front offices trying to assemble a perfect mix of young players and seasoned vets to compete to win championships.
While it’s never easy for fans to see a youth movement with their favorite teams, I’m giving you a few organizations that are built for the next five years—as long as they stay on the track they’re on right now.
Although Edmonton Oilers fans have probably been frustrated with the team’s performance the past few seasons, with the Oilers boasting the NHL’s third-youngest team in 2014-15, the good times could be right around the corner.
With a roster full of players like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, David Perron and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins all 25 or younger, Edmonton definitely has the talent to turn things around in the next five years.
Of course, time will tell if that actually happens, but the roster is fresh with ripe players just ready to mature.
Ranking as the second-youngest team in the English Premier League in April 2013, Arsenal may not be close to truly challenging for a league title quite yet, but the way they have been developing their talent should make them compete soon.
Even though it appears The Gunners will miss out on emerging star James Rodriguez this summer, building around Gedion Zelalem—being hyped as a world-class player—and 23-year-old Aaron Ramsey gives the team young ponies who could turn the 13-time EPL champs around.
More than the recent improvements the O’s have shown, though, the team has stars in their prime like Adam Jones, Matt Wieters and the team’s best player, third baseman Manny Machado, to build around.
It’s always a slippery slope when sharing a division with high-spending clubs like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, but the Orioles hope the core they have already established helps them win lots of games in the next five seasons—and beyond.
With the third-youngest team in the NFL last season, the Cleveland Browns had a roster full of inexperienced guys, leading them to a 4-12 record.
And while they may not have added any major veteran free agents this offseason, they have begun to see some of their top-10 draft picks develop into stars.
Even though the Brownies finished last in the AFC North, they sent six players to the Pro Bowl, showing that they have some individuals with quite the talent.
As the rest of its division gets older, Cleveland is in prime position to make a move toward the top as it hands the keys to the franchise to that Johnny Manziel guy—hoping he brings them to new heights.
Golden State Warriors
Although there are question marks anytime a team hires a new coach, as long as the Golden State Warriors have All-Star guard Steph Curry leading the way, they should be in great shape to make a run at an NBA championship.
With young running mates Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes continuing to provide enough of a supporting cast for Curry, and the allure of a new arena coming to the Bay Area in the next few years, Golden State has higher goals than just the early rounds of the postseason.
And while it may be a pipe-dream, Kevin Love has been linked to the team as a possible addition, which would help the team become dangerous in the Western Conference—assuming they don’t deal Thompson.
Los Angeles Kings
Winning the Stanley Cup this season—their second in three years—the Los Angeles Kings showed that they are the current cream of the crop in the NHL.
But with players like Jonathan Quick, Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty just in the early stages of establishing themselves, the Kings may again hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup again as the team’s roster continues to develop.
Who knew that the epicenter of ice hockey would be in steamy Los Angeles?
University of Kentucky Men's Basketball
If there’s one thing that every college hoops fan knows about Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari, it’s that he knows how to sign young talent.
And with U.K. locking up Cal to a monster extension to keep him in Lexington for the next seven years, it’s safe to assume that he’s going to keep getting the nation’s best players to play in the Bluegrass.
Accepting the job in 2009, Calipari has led his young, superstar-led teams to three Final Fours—including a national title in 2012.
So, yeah, the Wildcats will probably keep that success going in the next five years.
Two Cleveland teams on this list? Maybe the gods are starting to feel sorry for my hometown.
Besides the obvious news of LeBron James returning to his home state in his prime, the Cleveland Cavs also have a ton of young talent around James to presumably challenge for NBA titles—which is one reason the King chose the Cavs during free agency.
Locking up All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving for the next six years was the first step in securing hopeful success, but other assets include 2014 No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins, super-sub Dion Waiters and last year’s top selection, Anthony Bennett.
Of course, even with rumors of trading some guys for Kevin Love, the Cavs would have long-term success if adding the 25-year-old All-Star forward.
US Men's Soccer
If there’s one thing that we all learned from the USA men’s national team’s run in this year’s World Cup, it’s that head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has developed some great, young talent moving forward.
Although the next World Cup isn’t for another four years—meaning the 31-year-old Clint Dempsey will most likely not take part in it—the USA should still have midfielder Michael Bradley and striker Jozy Altidore to team with young stars in the making like Julian Green and DeAndre Yedlin, giving hope to the red, white and blue in 2018 to make an even deeper run.
Much like the aforementioned Cleveland Cavaliers, the Washington Wizards impacted their franchise mightily by locking up All-Star point guard John Wall to an extension last summer, guaranteeing them of having a star to build around.
And seeing how Wall responded by leading the Wizards to the second round of the playoffs, the money was well worth it.
With the improvement of Wall’s sharpshooting, backcourt mate Bradley Beal, Washington has two guys who don’t only give opposing teams headaches, but should continue to see team success.
Of course, there’s always one Kevin Durant the team could try to add in summer 2016 to help elevate their title hopes even more, too.
Los Angeles Dodgers
At first glance, one might assume that the Los Angeles Dodgers wouldn’t see the good times they’ve had in the past couple years to keep going—seeing the average age of their current roster.
But with the team having stars like Clayton Kershaw, Yasiel Puig and Zack Greinke all under contract for a long time, the Dodgers look primed to continue to reload around their All-Stars thanks to an ownership group that is unafraid to spend serious cash.
While some of the current roster members are veterans, you can bet that the Dodgers front office will keep doing what they can to contend while they have two of the best pitchers and arguably the most exciting outfielder in the game during their prime.
Since drafting quarterback Andrew Luck No. 1 overall in the 2012 NFL draft, the Indianapolis Colts have seemingly kept the success they enjoyed with former signal-caller Peyton Manning.
Making two straight playoff appearances, the Colts have young talent on offense—holding down the No. 2 spot for average age in 2013—but will have to maneuver getting younger on the defensive side of the ball to continue to make strides in inching closer to a Super Bowl title.
Still, with Luck, 23-year-old running back Trent Richardson and the young, talented T.Y. Hilton at receiver, the Colts should continue to put up points.
Oklahoma City Thunder
When a team’s two biggest stars are both just 25 years old, it usually means that franchise has a lot to look forward to.
That’s the case for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to help guide the organization to great heights—along with one of the youngest teams in the NBA.
Already reaching the NBA Finals in 2012, both Westbrook and Durant can take over a game and playoff series to potentially add a Larry O’Brien to the Thunder’s trophy case—as long as Durant doesn’t get the itch to return home in 2016.
Not only have the Chicago Blackhawks won two Stanley Cup titles in the past five years, but also two of the players who impacted those teams the most just so happened to ink mega-deals to stay in the Windy City.
Seeing how Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane just re-upped with the Blackhawks for eight more seasons should make every team in the NHL nervous about what this team can accomplish.
With two stars to build around, Chicago looks dangerous.
They may have just won the Super Bowl, but that doesn’t mean that the Seattle Seahawks are an old, weathered team.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
With a core group of guys all in their mid-20s, the Seahawks have locked up defensive studs like Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas to long-term deals this offseason, and have the luxury of having 25-year-old, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson to throw the ball to the 26-year-old Percy Harvin.
Seattle may seem more seasoned than they really are because of their success over the past few seasons, but they have a great opportunity to win a few more Lombardi Trophies in the next five years.