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Power Ranking the NBA Teams by Young Talent

Bryan ToporekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 10, 2017

Power Ranking the NBA Teams by Young Talent

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    Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

    What's the quickest way to sustain success in the NBA? Acquire talented young players and nurture them into superstars.

    The Oklahoma City Thunder pulled this strategy off masterfully starting in 2007, with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka all emerging as top-20 NBA stars. As those four began their ascent, the Thunder dutifully continued to build around them with other young talent, such as Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb, Steven Adams and now Mitch McGary.

    As you'll soon see, OKC isn't the only squad stacked with elite 25-and-under talent. Though it will take years for many of these players to flourish and reach their potential, their teams can look ahead to the next half-decade and feel confident about their direction.

    Based on a four-part formula—win shares, player efficiency rating, top-five picks and lottery picks—read on to find out which squad has the best young talent in the league.

The Ranking Methodology

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    For the purposes of these rankings, players are eligible for inclusion if they'll be 25 years or younger as of opening night of the 2014-15 season. Sorry, Thunder and Chicago Bulls fans—Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose just missed the cut.

    From there, I ranked each team in four categories: combined 2013-14 win shares for all returning NBA players, the average 2013-14 PER of all players (including college PER for rookies), the number of top-five picks on each roster and the number of lottery picks on each squad.

    After ranking the teams in all four categories, I averaged the four rankings together to create a base score and then broke any ties by averaging each team's win shares and PER rankings.

    Admittedly, the formula isn't perfect. College players' PERs—especially those of the top 2014 lottery picks—tended to be far higher than even the most elite NBA stars. Without having a formula to project each rookie's win shares in 2014-15, however, that was the fairest way to include rookies in these rankings without skewing the data too severely. 

    Giving bonuses to teams for having top-five and lottery picks isn't necessarily fair, either—just look at some recent colossal draft busts (Hasheem Thabeet, Evan Turner, etc.) as evidence of how top-five picks don't always pan out.

    Still, with many of these players entering their rookie or sophomore seasons, it's only right to award teams bonuses since those players likely haven't yet made a significant statistical impact.

     

    Note: The players' listed ages are as of opening night (Oct. 28).

30. Atlanta Hawks

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    H. RUMPH JR/Associated Press

    Included Players: Kent Bazemore (25), Shelvin Mack (24), John Jenkins (23), Mike Muscala (23), Adreian Payne (23), Dennis Schroder (21)

    Win Shares: 1.9

    Average PER: 11.8

    Top-Five Picks: 0

    Lottery Picks: 0

     

    No team has a weaker 25-and-under cast than the Atlanta Hawks, in no small part due to their seven straight playoff appearances.

    The Hawks haven't drafted in the lottery since 2007, when they picked Florida big man Al Horford third overall. Since then, they've gone 19th in 2009 (Jeff Teague), 24th in 2010 (Damion James, traded on draft night) 23rd in 2012 (John Jenkins), 17th in 2013 (Dennis Schroder) and 15th in 2014 (Adreian Payne).

    Payne, the rookie forward from Michigan State, could be a lethal stretch 4 in coach Mike Budenholzer's system, but it's simply too early to tell how he'll fare in the NBA. Likewise, Schroder (5.8 PER in 2013-14) and Jenkins (4.7 PER) have yet to make a major impact on the Hawks' bottom line.

    Not one of Atlanta's five returning under-26 players posted a PER above 13.2 last season—the league average is 15, mind you—which gave it the second-worst PER ranking of any team in the league. The 1.9 win shares compiled by its returning players in 2013-14 also came in as the second-worst mark among all squads.

29. Brooklyn Nets

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    Included Players: Bojan Bogdanovic (25), Jorge Gutierrez (25), Mason Plumlee (24), Cory Jefferson (23), Markel Brown (22), Sergey Karasev (21), Marquis Teague (21)

    Win Shares: 4.7

    Average PER: 14.3

    Top-Five Picks: 0

    Lottery Picks: 0

     

    The Brooklyn Nets' mish-mash of young players is, to put it kindly, uninspiring.

    Brooklyn went all in last summer in its trade for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry, punting three future first-round picks for a shot at immediate relevancy. That trade will end up haunting the Nets for years to come, as their salary-cap limitations will likely prevent them from amassing young talent over the next half decade.

    They wisely signed swingman Bojan Bogdanovic, the No. 31 pick from 2011, to a multi-year contract this summer in an effort to replace Pierce, who left for Washington as a free agent. With Garnett and Brook Lopez sidelined by injuries for much of the 2013-14 season, rookie Mason Plumlee became a major bright spot for the Nets, too, finishing with the second-highest PER on the team (behind only Lopez).

    Brooklyn did well to acquire Markel Brown and Cory Jefferson, two 2014 second-round picks, and shipped out Marcus Thornton to acquire Cleveland forward Sergey Karasev this offseason. Still, aside from Plumlee, the Nets' young players have yet to prove themselves in a major way at the NBA level.

28. New York Knicks

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Included Players: Quincy Acy (24), Iman Shumpert (24), Cleanthony Early (23), Thanasis Antetokounmpo (22), Tim Hardaway Jr. (22), Shane Larkin (22)

    Win Shares: 6.5

    Average PER: 13.4

    Top-Five Picks: 0

    Lottery Picks: 0

     

    Give credit where credit's due to New York Knicks president Phil Jackson: His squad went from having two players under the age of 25 to five this offseason.

    Jackson traded center Tyson Chandler and point guard Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for point guard Jose Calderon, center Samuel Dalembert, 22-year-old point guard Shane Larkin and the Nos. 34 and 51 picks in the draft.

    The Knicks selected Wichita State forward Cleanthony Early—whom New York Magazine's Matt Giles dubbed "the steal of the draft"—with the 34th selection, then grabbed Giannis Antetokounmpo's older brother Thanasis with the No. 51 pick.

    Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr. are the Knicks' two clear headliners among their 25-and-under players, though. Hardaway Jr. finished with the fourth-most offensive win shares (2.7) on the team last season as a rookie, while Shumpert earned the third-most defensive win shares (1.6).

    None of New York's young players are likely to evolve into superstars, but with Carmelo Anthony around for the next half-decade, they don't necessarily have to. If Shumpert, Hardaway Jr., Early and Larkin can grow into productive complementary roles, the Knicks should be more than satisfied.

27. Dallas Mavericks

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Included Players: Jae Crowder (24), Al-Farouq Aminu (24), Eric Griffin (24), Greg Smith (23), Ricky Ledo (22)

    Win Shares: 5.6

    Average PER: 12.9

    Top-Five Picks: 0

    Lottery Picks: 1

     

    The Dallas Mavericks pulled off one of the most underrated steals of the offseason—and no, it's not the acquisition of restricted free agent Chandler Parsons. By signing former New Orleans Pelicans swingman Al-Farouq Aminu to a two-year veteran's minimum deal, the Mavericks single-handedly shored up one of their biggest weaknesses from the 2013-14 season: perimeter defense.

    Dallas was painfully poor on defense last year, allowing opponents to average 105.9 points per 100 possessions, the worst mark of any playoff team. In Aminu, the Mavericks have a younger, cheaper version of Shawn Marion, who left Big D to join forces with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in free agency.

    Jae Crowder and Ricky Ledo may not be household names yet, but the former had the third-highest offensive rating of all returning Mavericks this past season, and the latter is Dallas' second-best returning three-point shooter behind Dirk Nowitzki.

    Throw in Greg Smith, who was a frisky off-the-bench player for Houston at times over the last three years, and Eric Griffin, who has been playing internationally since going undrafted in 2012, and Dallas has a reasonably solid young core in place.

    The upside of the Mavericks' youngsters is considerably lower than many of the other teams' 25-and-under players, however, which partially explains their low ranking. If Griffin, Smith and Ledo, specifically, earn a larger share of playing time this season, Dallas' young group has nowhere to go but up.

26. Memphis Grizzlies

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Included Players: Nick Calathes (25), Kosta Koufos (25), Jon Leuer (25), Jamaal Franklin (23), Jordan Adams (20)

    Win Shares: 7.0

    Average PER: 15.9

    Top-Five Picks: 0

    Lottery Picks: 0

     

    Much like the Atlanta Hawks, the Memphis Grizzlies' relative lack of young talent can largely be tied to their recent playoff success.

    Memphis hasn't had a top-20 pick since 2010, the year in which it selected Xavier Henry at 12. The year before, the Grizzlies burned the No. 2 overall pick on UConn center Hasheem Thabeet, leaving James Harden, Stephen Curry and Jrue Holiday, among others, still on the board.

    Trading forward Darrell Arthur to Denver for center Kosta Koufos last June was an underrated-yet-brilliant move for Memphis, as he's an ideal backup for Marc Gasol on a relatively cheap ($3 million) contract.

    Both Jon Leuer and Jamaal Franklin, meanwhile, are godsends for the Grizzlies, who ranked dead last in terms of made three-pointers in 2013-14. (Leuer shot 46.9 percent from deep last season; Franklin went 36.9 percent from three during a 16-game stint in the D-League.)

    Rookie Jordan Adams showed enough flashes in Orlando Summer League—he finished the week having drilled 38.9 percent of his treys—that Memphis could feasibly replace Mike Miller with a collective effort from its younger players. Still, the best-case scenario for most, if not all of these guys is "adequate role player," not "potential superstar," limiting the ceiling of this group.

25. Miami Heat

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    Included Players: James Ennis (24), Justin Hamilton (24), Shabazz Napier (23)

    Win Shares: 0.1

    Average PER: 19.1

    Top-Five Picks: 0

    Lottery Picks: 0

     

    No team has fewer 25-and-under players than the Miami Heat, which shouldn't come as a major surprise. In their all-out quest to win championships, they largely punted on developing young players, with Norris Cole the only under-28 player to rank among the top nine in minutes played for Miami last year.

    Now, with LeBron having taken his talents back to Cleveland, the 25-and-under cupboards are somewhat bare for Miami. Center Justin Hamilton, who contributed a whopping 0.1 win shares in 2013-14, is the only returning player under the age of 26.

    Joining him are Shabazz Napier, the wily point guard who led UConn to an NCAA tournament championship this past spring, and 24-year-old forward James Ennis, the No. 50 pick in the 2013 draft.

    According to Fox Sports 1's Chris Tomasson, the Heat wanted Ennis to play in the D-League last season, but he instead joined the Perth Wildcats in Australia's National Basketball League, where he posted per-game averages of 21.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 33 contests.

    Ennis, the 2012-13 Big West Player of the Year, has a reasonable chance to make some noise this coming season in James' absence. Though Miami doesn't have the sexiest under-26 crew in the league, all three players could wind up being better than expected over the coming years.

24. Golden State Warriors

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Included Players: Festus Ezeli (25), Draymond Green (24), Ognjen Kuzmic (24), Klay Thompson (24), Nemanja Nedovic (23), Harrison Barnes (22)

    Win Shares: 14

    Average PER: 7.7

    Top-Five Picks: 0

    Lottery Picks: 2

     

    No team was hurt more by the "average PER" portion of this formula than the Golden State Warriors.

    The Dubs didn't have a single under-26 player with a league-average PER last season; shooting guard Klay Thompson came closest with a 14.3, followed by Draymond Green (12.7) and Harrison Barnes (9.8). It's the other two members of the 25-and-under crew, Ognjen Kuzmic and Nemanja Nedovic, who sent the Warriors plummeting with PERs of 3.4 and minus-1.7, respectively.

    Golden State clearly considers Thompson part of its core, given the franchise's reluctance to include him in Kevin Love trade talks. Green and Barnes also figure to be in the franchise's long-term building plans, although Barnes' stagnation last year was certainly cause for concern.

    Ezeli missed the entire 2013-14 season to recover from a knee injury, but he provided valuable backup minutes behind Andrew Bogut the prior year. Thompson is the real key to Golden State's youth movement; if he ascends to a superstar-caliber player this coming season, the Dubs would shoot up these rankings, Kuzmic and Nedovic be damned.

23. Boston Celtics

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    Included Players: Chris Babb (24), Chris Johnson (24), Tyler Zeller (24), Avery Bradley (23), Kelly Olynyk (23), Phil Pressey (23), Jared Sullinger (22), Marcus Smart (20), James Young (19)

    Win Shares: 10.1

    Average PER: 13.9

    Top-Five Picks: 0

    Lottery Picks: 2

     

    As CBSSports.com's Matt Moore noted, Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge "has put together a pretty frothy batch of young talent if he finds he needs to pull the plug and truly start over. "

    If the Celtics decide to trade Rajon Rondo, who's set to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2014-15 season, rookie guard Marcus Smart could feasibly step into his place in the starting lineup. Joining him will be Avery Bradley, who signed a four-year, $32 million contract with Boston this summer after scoring a career-high 14.9 points per game during the 2013-14 season.

    Former Ohio State big man Jared Sullinger anchors the frontcourt and is showing "the basic building blocks of essentially being a poor man's Ryan Anderson: able to rebound effectively and hit from the outside," Moore wrote. Joining him are center Tyler Zeller, whom Boston acquired in a salary dump this offseason, and Kelly Olynyk, who shot a respectable 35.1 percent from three-point range as a rookie.

    Once Smart and Kentucky rookie James Young get a full season under their belts, the Celtics' 25-and-under core will likely fall among the top half of the league. For now, however, their rawness came back to haunt them in these rankings, especially in terms of combined win shares from 2013-14.

22. Denver Nuggets

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    Included Players: Kenneth Faried (24), Jerrelle Benimon (23), Erick Green (23), Quincy Miller (21), Gary Harris (20), Jusuf Nurkic (20)

    Win Shares: 6.5

    Average PER: 21.2

    Top-Five Picks: 0

    Lottery Picks: 0

     

    The Denver Nuggets have three 25-and-under players who could develop into major impact guys over the coming years: high-energy forward Kenneth Faried, rookie 2-guard Gary Harris and rookie center Jusuf Nurkic, the latter two of whom Denver acquired on draft night for Doug McDermott.

    Faried finished 2013-14 with the highest PER (19.8) of any Nugget, but that didn't stop the team from dangling him in trade discussions, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.

    He's eligible for an extension this summer, but he's reportedly seeking a "monster contract" worth "near max money," per Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, increasing the likelihood that he'll be entering a de facto contract year.

    Denver took advantage of Harris' draft-night slide, nabbing the Michigan State product with the No. 19 pick after grabbing the gargantuan Nurkic at 16. With Arron Afflalo also back in the fold, Harris can take his time developing behind the veteran 2-guard, while Nurkic, who finished with a PER of 35.2 in the Adriatic League, will slot in behind JaVale McGee and Timofey Mozgov.

    Faried is the only under-26 player who's likely to make a major impact on the Nuggets' bottom line this coming season, but the three-headed hydra of him, Harris and Nurkic give Denver a strong young complementary core. Jerrelle Benimon, Quincy Miller and Erick Green likely won't provide much, but they could prove to be solid end-of-the-bench players.

21. San Antonio Spurs

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Included Players: JaMychal Green (24), Cory Joseph (23), Kawhi Leonard (23), Bryce Cotton (22), Kyle Anderson (21)

    Win Shares: 10.6

    Average PER: 21.0

    Top-Five Picks: 0

    Lottery Picks: 0

     

    When it comes to the San Antonio Spurs' 25-and-under talent, 2014 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard is the first, second and third attraction.

    As far back as 2012, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich had been touting Leonard's potential as a star, saying, "As time goes on, he'll be the face of the Spurs." Two years later, Leonard averaged 17.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game while shooting 61.2 percent from the floor and 57.9 percent from three-point range in the 2014 Finals.

    The San Diego State product might be the headliner of the Spurs' young class, but UCLA rookie Kyle Anderson could wind up being one of the steals of the 2014 draft. Given how San Antonio maximized the value of a pass-first big man like Boris Diaw, it's not difficult to imagine "Slow Mo" evolving into a valuable contributor in the coming years.

    The ceilings on Cory Joseph, Bryce Cotton and JaMychal Green are considerably lower than those of Leonard and Anderson, but the Spurs have a funny way of maximizing the talent of their entire roster. Don't be surprised if those three evolve into valuable contributors off the bench this coming season, much like Diaw, Danny Green and Patty Mills in years past.

20. Los Angeles Lakers

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    Included Players: Ed Davis (25), Robert Sacre (25), Xavier Henry (23), Ryan Kelly (23), Jordan Clarkson (22), Julius Randle (19)

    Win Shares: 6.5

    Average PER: 16.3

    Top-Five Picks: 0

    Lottery Picks: 3

     

    The Los Angeles Lakers might not be competing for championships anytime soon, but they've done a shockingly respectable job of restocking their cupboards with young talent as Kobe Bryant's career winds down.

    With the No. 7 pick in the 2014 draft, L.A. selected Kentucky big man Julius Randle, who was widely considered one of the most NBA-ready players in this year's class. Though he may begin the season starting behind Carlos Boozer, whom the Lakers acquired off waivers, he's destined to become one of the franchise's post-Kobe building blocks.

    Though Randle is L.A.'s first lottery pick since Andrew Bynum in 2005, the squad picked up two other former lottery picks via free agency the past two offseasons.

    Xavier Henry, the No. 12 pick in 2010, inked a one-year, veteran's minimum deal with L.A. in September 2013 and then re-signed with the team on another one-year, veteran's minimum deal this summer, while the Lakers signed Ed Davis (No. 13 in 2010) to a steal of a two-year, veteran's minimum deal in July.

    Throw in returnees Robert Sacre and Ryan Kelly, along with second-round pick Jordan Clarkson, and the Lakers have a reasonably solid hope of surviving the post-Kobe era without too many hiccups. That's the power of acquiring former lottery picks on the cheap and mixing them with promising late first- and early second-rounders.

19. Indiana Pacers

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    Included Players: Lavoy Allen (25), Paul George (24), Solomon Hill (23), Shayne Whittington (23)

    Win Shares: 11.6

    Average PER: 17.7

    Top-Five Picks: 0

    Lottery Picks: 1

     

    Had the Indiana Pacers managed to re-sign shooting guard Lance Stephenson this offseason, there's no question they'd rank among the league's top half in terms of 25-and-under talent. As it stands, however, the Pacers basically have Paul George and assorted flotsam.

    At the peak of his powers, George is a soon-to-be top-10 NBA player and a viable MVP candidate. Through January, the Pacers forward was averaging 23.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game while shooting 45 percent from the field and 37.2 percent from three-point range.

    Disaster struck for George during Team USA camp, however, when he suffered an open tibia-fibula fracture that is expected to sideline him through the 2014-15 season, per ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst. Without him in the ranks, the Pacers are largely devoid of legitimate under-26 talent.

    Lavoy Allen and Solomon Hill played the fewest minutes of any of Indiana player last year outside of Andrew Bynum, who appeared in all of two games, while Shayne Whittington is a 23-year-old four-year senior coming from a mid-major school (Western Michigan). Expecting much out of any of these players would be foolhardy; it's George or bust for the Pacers' under-26 core.

18. Chicago Bulls

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Included Players: Jimmy Butler (25), Erik Murphy (24), Cameron Bairstow (23), Nikola Mirotic (23), Doug McDermott (22), Tony Snell (22)

    Win Shares: 8.6

    Average PER: 21.2

    Top-Five Picks: 0

    Lottery Picks: 1

     

    The Chicago Bulls could be one of the fastest risers on this list once rookies Nikola Mirotic, Doug McDermott and Cameron Bairstow make their NBA debuts this fall.

    In December, DraftExpess' Mike Schmitz described Mirotic, the No. 23 overall pick in 2011, as "the best player in European basketball," and that's before he averaged 11.6 points and 5.1 rebounds in just 22.6 minutes per game for Real Madrid in the Spanish ACB League this past season.

    Rookies McDermott and Bairstow, the Nos. 11 and 49 picks in June's draft, respectively, could also work their way into significant roles this coming year.

    Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman believes McDermott should be "fairly prepared to step in right away and execute with significant comfort," since the four-year Creighton player finished fifth on the NCAA's all-time scoring list.

    Bairstow likely won't make the immediate impact of Mirotic or McDermott, but don't sleep on the New Mexico product; he averaged 20.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game this past season while shooting 55.6 percent from the floor.

    Lumping those three with Jimmy Butler, who's quickly become one of the better wing defenders in the league, and second-year forward Tony Snell, who was simply electric during Vegas Summer League, and the Bulls appear to have a rising young core.

    Had Derrick Rose been eligible for inclusion here—he turns 26 about a month before the start of the 2014-15 season—the Bulls would have a top-10 roster of young talent on paper.

17. Houston Rockets

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    Included Players: James Harden (25), Scotty Hopson (25), Donatas Motiejunas (24), Isaiah Canaan (23), Robert Covington (23), Troy Daniels (23), Terrence Jones (22), Nick Johnson (21)

    Win Shares: 21.9

    Average PER: 13.6

    Top-Five Picks: 1

    Lottery Picks: 1

     

    Mock James Harden's defense all you want, but there's no denying that he's quickly becoming the top scoring 2-guard in the league (if he hasn't already surpassed Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade).

    Despite Dwight Howard stealing touches away from Harden this past season, he finished the year averaging 25.4 points per game, which ranked fifth in the league. He also ranked fourth in offensive win shares (10.1) and fifth in total win shares (12.8), proving his place as one of the league's most lethal scorers.

    Bleacher Report's Alec Nathan tabbed third-year forward Terrence Jones as a breakout player to watch this season, as someone will need to step into the role vacated by Chandler Parsons.

    Troy Daniels also made a convincing push for a regular rotation spot during Houston's first-round playoff series against Portland, splashing home eight of the 15 three-pointers he attempted (including a 4-of-5 performance in Game 4).

    Most of Houston's young core outside of those three players is relatively unproven at the NBA level—and in Nick Johnson's case, he's yet to play a meaningful NBA minute. If Jones makes "the leap" this season, Houston's 25-and-under crew would follow suit, but Harden turning 26 next August limits the upside of this group.

16. Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Included Players: Malcolm Thomas (25), Matthew Dellavedova (24), Erik Murphy (24), Tristan Thompson (23), Joe Harris (23), Kyrie Irving (22), Dion Waiters (22)

    Win Shares: 15.8

    Average PER: 11.9

    Top-Five Picks: 3

    Lottery Picks: 3

     

    If the Cleveland Cavaliers don't trade Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett for Kevin Love, they'd be among the top 10, if not top five, in terms of 25-and-under talent. However, per Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, that trade will become official in the coming days, so those roster moves are factored into these rankings accordingly.

    Love, who turns 26 on Sept. 7, was not eligible for inclusion in these rankings, lowering the ceiling of Cleveland's 25-and-under corps. Still, the trio of 2011 No. 1 overall pick Kyrie Irving and two former No. 4 picks, forward Tristan Thompson and shooting guard Dion Waiters, were attractive enough pieces to help lure none other than LeBron James back to the Cavaliers this summer.

    Irving led the Cavs in both PER (20.1) and win shares (6.7) this past season, while Waiters finished second on the team in points per game (15.9) and Thompson was second in rebounds per game (9.2). Combined, the three contributed 14.0 of the 15.8 win shares generated by the 25-and-under players remaining on the roster.

    The other young talent on this roster—namely Matthew Dellavedova, Joe Harris, Malcolm Thomas and Erik Murphy—likely won't be anything more than end-of-the-rotation contributors as long as LeBron is around. The trio of Irving, Waiters and Thompson, though, should quickly boost Cleveland into the top 10 once James' influence starts to take hold.

15. Los Angeles Clippers

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    Included Players: Blake Griffin (25), Reggie Bullock (23), C.J. Wilcox (23)

    Win Shares: 12.4

    Average PER: 17.5

    Top-Five Picks: 1

    Lottery Picks: 1

     

    The Los Angeles Clippers are the only other team aside from the Miami Heat with just three players under the age of 26 on their roster. Unlike Miami, one of those players just so happens to be an All-NBA talent in Blake Griffin.

    Griffin, the 2011 Rookie of the Year, has been named to the All-NBA second team for each of the past three years, with good reason. He's been a nightly 20-10 threat since his first-ever game, and his substantial growth under coach Doc Rivers this past season finally put an end to the "all he can do is dunk!" meme.

    The Clippers big man finished second on the team behind point guard Chris Paul in PER last season (23.9) and tied CP3 for the lead in win shares (12.2). With career highs in both points per game (24.1) and free-throw percentage (.715), Griffin appears ready to anchor the Clippers for years to come.

    L.A. also has two young swingmen—second-year UNC product Reggie Bullock and University of Washington rookie C.J. Wilcox—who should be able to carry a reasonable scoring load off the bench if Jared Dudley no-shows for the second straight season. It's clear, though, that the Clippers' main under-26 attraction is none other than the originator of "Blake Face."

14. Philadelphia 76ers

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    Included Players: Elliot Williams (25), Henry Sims (24), Casper Ware (24), Michael Carter-Williams (23), Brandon Davies (23), Jordan McRae (23), Arnett Moultrie (23), Hollis Thompson (23), Pierre Jackson (23), Anthony Bennett (21), K.J. McDaniels (21), Tony Wroten (21), Joel Embiid (20), Jerami Grant (20), Nerlens Noel (20)

    Win Shares: 4.5

    Average PER: 15.7

    Top-Five Picks: 2

    Lottery Picks: 4

     

    On paper, the Philadelphia 76ers should rank among the league's top teams in terms of 25-and-under talent. No squad has as much young depth as the very-much-rebuilding Sixers, which is no accident.

    The pairing of reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams with the twin-tower combo of Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid has the potential to vault the Sixers into legitimate championship contention in a few years' time. That's the word du jour when it comes to the Sixers, however: potential.

    Noel, Embiid and fellow rookies K.J. McDaniels, Jerami Grant and Jordan McRae have yet to log a single meaningful NBA minute. Anthony Bennett, whom the Sixers are likely to trade Thaddeus Young for later this month, per Mark Perner of the Philadelphia Daily News, had one of the worst-ever seasons for a No. 1 overall pick, though he did look vastly improved during summer league.

    In essence, there's no way of knowing what the young Sixers will grow into over the coming years. They could become an Eastern Conference version of the Oklahoma City Thunder, but that's in no way guaranteed at this juncture.

    The team also won't be able to carry all of these players on its roster because of the 15-man maximum roster limit, which somewhat limits this group's immediate upside in 2014-15.

13. Washington Wizards

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    Included Players: DeJuan Blair (25), Kevin Seraphin (24), John Wall (24), Glen Rice Jr. (23), Bradley Beal (21), Otto Porter Jr. (21)

    Win Shares: 16.0

    Average PER: 12.7

    Top-Five Picks: 3

    Lottery Picks: 3

     

    Surprised the Washington Wizards aren't higher on this list? Blame a subpar showing in the PER department.

    The Wizards' under-26 players ranked 26th in PER this past season, dragged down in large part by Glen Rice Jr. (6.6) and Otto Porter Jr. (6.0). All-Star point guard John Wall, who led the team in PER (19.5), couldn't negate the fact that none of his 25-and-under teammates finished the season with a league-average PER of 15 or above.

    Luckily for Washington, there's reason for optimism this coming season. Third-year shooting guard Bradley Beal appears to be on the precipice of a major breakout season, having averaged 19.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.6 steals per contest during the Wizards' 11-game playoff run, while both Porter and Rice looked far improved during summer league.

    Add in big man DeJuan Blair, who's had a PER above 17 in four of his five NBA seasons, and Kevin Seraphin, who averaged a career-high 15.5 points per 36 minutes last year, and the Wizards have the makings of a strong young core worth building around. Both Wall and Beal should be All-Stars for years to come; it's Porter and Rice who can end up moving the needle for Washington in a major way.

12. Portland Trail Blazers

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    Sam Forencich/Getty Images

    Included Players: Nicolas Batum (25), Damian Lillard (24), Will Barton (23), C.J. McCollum (23), Thomas Robinson (23), Allen Crabbe (22), Meyers Leonard (22)

    Win Shares: 20.6

    Average PER: 12.6

    Top-Five Picks: 1

    Lottery Picks: 4

     

    The Portland Trail Blazers have one of the best young players in the league in third-year point guard Damian Lillard, who's quickly emerged as a cold-blooded killer.

    Lillard's series-clinching three-pointer against the Houston Rockets stands out as the highlight of his sophomore season, but it wasn't his only clutch bucket by any means.

    Of the 24 players with at least 70 clutch attempts last year—defined as being ahead or behind by five or fewer points within the final five minutes of a game—Lillard had the second-highest field-goal percentage (.473), trailing only LeBron (.484). He also knocked down 44.2 percent of his clutch three-point attempts.

    Beyond Lillard, do-it-all forward Nicolas Batum stands out as the highlight of Portland's 25-and-under corps. He'll rarely light up the scoreboard, but his per-game averages of 13.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists speak to his versatility. He also finished third on the team in three-point attempts (4.9) and sixth in three-point shooting percentage (.361).

    The rest of the Blazers' young players—Thomas Robinson, C.J. McCollum, Meyers Leonard, Will Barton and Allen Crabbe—are all largely untested. Robinson, Leonard and McCollum are all former lottery picks, but they're unlikely to crack Portland's starting five anytime soon.

11. Minnesota Timberwolves

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    David Sherman/Getty Images

    Included Players: Robbie Hummel (25), Alexey Shved (25), Gorgui Dieng (24), Ricky Rubio (24), Shabazz Muhammad (21), Zach LaVine (19), Andrew Wiggins (19)

    Win Shares: 9.7

    Average PER: 14.4

    Top-Five Picks: 2

    Lottery Picks: 4

     

    If the Minnesota Timberwolves had to trade Kevin Love—and given his reticence to re-sign there next summer, they absolutely did—landing two No. 1 overall picks (Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett) and a future first-round pick was an unfathomably great haul to land in return.

    Though Bennett is reportedly heading to Philadelphia for 26-year-old forward Thaddeus Young, per Mark Perner of the Philadelphia Daily News, Wiggins is staying put to eventually become Minnesota's top dog. The Kansas swingman showed off his potential as a No. 1 option back in March, when he lit up West Virginia to the tune of 41 points, eight rebounds, five steals and four blocks.

    With point guard Ricky Rubio dishing outlet passes to Wiggins and his freakishly athletic rookie counterpart, UCLA guard Zach LaVine, the Timberwolves should be on everyone's League Pass list this coming season. Center Gorgui Dieng, who showed flashes of major relevance last spring with Nikola Pekovic battling injuries, will be well-suited to run the floor with the Wiggins-Rubio-LaVine trio, too.

    Shabazz Muhammad, Alexey Shved and Robbie Hummel are still scratching the surface of their potential, but none are likely to turn into major stars down the road. It's the Wiggins, Rubio and LaVine show in Minnesota this coming season, which might not result in many wins, but it should pay dividends down the line.

10. Orlando Magic

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Included Players: Dewayne Dedmon (25), Andrew Nicholson (24), Kyle O'Quinn (24), Peyton Siva (24), Nikola Vucevic (24), Roy Devyn Marble (22), Evan Fournier (22), Tobias Harris (22), Doron Lamb (22), Victor Oladipo (22), Moe Harkless (21), Elfrid Payton (20), Aaron Gordon (19)

    Win Shares: 17.6

    Average PER: 14.7

    Top-Five Picks: 2

    Lottery Picks: 3

     

    Two years after the four-team Dwight Howard megatrade, the Orlando Magic have shockingly emerged as the clear winners of that deal.

    Center Nikola Vucevic and swingman Moe Harkless, who both came over from Philadelphia in the Howard trade, finished among Orlando's top five in win shares last season.

    This offseason, the Magic traded shooting guard Arron Afflalo, who originally came from Denver in the Howard deal, back to the Nuggets for 2-guard Evan Fournier and the No. 56 pick, which they used on Iowa guard Roy Devyn Marble.

    The three headliners among Orlando's 25-and-under players, though, are guards Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton and forward Aaron Gordon, the No. 4 pick in this June's draft. Payton, whom the Magic traded for on draft night, frees up Orlando to slide Oladipo back to his more natural position at the 2, while Gordon helps bump Harkless and Tobias Harris to the 3.

    The Magic might not make a stratospheric leap this coming season, as many of their young pieces remain somewhat raw. However, the 25-and-under talent is there for Orlando to begin contending in the Eastern Conference in the near future.

9. Milwaukee Bucks

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Included Players: Larry Sanders (25), John Henson (23), Kendall Marshall (23), Khris Middleton (23), Nate Wolters (23), Brandon Knight (22), Johnny O'Bryant III (21), Giannis Antetokounmpo (19), Jabari Parker (19)

    Win Shares: 12.8

    Average PER: 16.0

    Top-Five Picks: 1

    Lottery Picks: 4

     

    The Milwaukee Bucks, fresh off a 15-win season, have plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, the No. 2 overall pick in this past June's draft, lead the list.

    If teams were given the opportunity to re-do the 2013 draft, there's no way that Antetokounmpo, the No. 15 overall pick, would slip out of the top five this time around. Bleacher Report's Adam Fromal dubbed him as the league's third-most unique player—yes, above LeBron James—noting the 6'9" Greek Freak's ability to run the point offensively and guard frontcourt players on defense.

    Parker, meanwhile, is considered the front-runner to win the 2014-15 Rookie of the Year award, according to an informal poll of 38 rookies (via NBA.com's John Schuhmann). "He has a complete overall game," one rookie said of Parker. "And he's always in an attack mindset." 

    Fourth-year point guard Brandon Knight posted career highs in PER (16.5), points per game (17.9) and win shares (2.8) with Milwaukee last year, while center Larry Sanders should be out to prove that his lost 2013-14 season was an anomaly.

    With John Henson, Khris Middleton, Nate Wolters, Kendall Marshall and Johnny O'Bryant III surrounding Parker, Knight, Sanders and the Greek Freak, this young core should propel the Bucks back to relevance within a few years (at most).

8. Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Included Players: Serge Ibaka (25), Russell Westbrook (25), Reggie Jackson (24), Perry Jones (23), Josh Huestis (22), Jeremy Lamb (22), Mitch McGary (22), Andre Roberson (22), Steven Adams (21), Grant Jerrett (21)

    Win Shares: 28.2

    Average PER: 14.7

    Top-Five Picks: 1

    Lottery Picks: 3

     

    In Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, the Oklahoma City Thunder have two of the NBA's top under-26 players. Had Kevin Durant been eligible for inclusion here—he turns 26 on Sept. 29—there's little doubt they'd be challenging for the top spot in these rankings.

    Westbrook and Ibaka ranked second and third on the team in PER, respectively, last season, and third and second, respectively, in terms of win shares. Of players who will be under 26 on opening night, Westbrook finished third in the league in PER last season (24.7), while Ibaka was tied with Portland's Damian Lillard for sixth in win shares (9.6).

    Young guards Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb worked their way into OKC's rotation last season, with the former sliding into the starting lineup as Westbrook worked his way back from multiple knee surgeries. They finished the season as the Thunder's fourth- and sixth-leading scorers, having averaged 13.1 points and 8.5 points per game, respectively.

    Don't sleep on second-year center Steven Adams, either. He outpaced starting center Kendrick Perkins in just about every conceivable statistical category this past season, which should help him carve out a starting role within the next 12 months, if not sooner.

7. Sacramento Kings

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Included Players: DeMarcus Cousins (24), Ray McCallum (23), Jeremy Tyler (23), Derrick Williams (23), Eric Moreland (22), Sim Bhullar (21), Ben McLemore (21), Nik Stauskas (21)

    Win Shares: 12.1

    Average PER: 16.7

    Top-Five Picks: 2

    Lottery Picks: 4

     

    Surprised the Sacramento Kings wound up this high in the rankings? Thank DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Williams, Ben McLemore and Nik Stauskas for that.

    Cousins, the No. 5 pick in the 2010 draft, averaged a career-high 22.7 points and 11.7 rebounds per game last season, shooting a career-best 49.6 percent from the field. He led the team in both PER (26.1) and win shares (7.9) and led the entire league in defensive rebounding percentage (30.5 percent).

    Williams, the second overall pick from 2011, finished fifth on the team in win shares, and McLemore, whom the Kings drafted seventh in 2013, played the third-most minutes of any Sacramento player last season, despite his struggles as a rookie. After drilling 42 percent of his three-point attempts during his one year at Kansas, the rookie 2-guard shot only 32 percent from deep this past season.

    McLemore's three-point shooting woes continued during Vegas Summer League, where he drained only 30.4 percent of his attempts from downtown, but rookie Nik Stauskas banged home 47.8 percent of his long balls. Losing point guard Isaiah Thomas in free agency hurt Sacramento's 25-and-under corps, but Stauskas and McLemore have the potential to make up for his loss.

6. Detroit Pistons

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Included Players: Brandon Jennings (25), Greg Monroe (24), Tony Mitchell (22), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (21), Spencer Dinwiddie (21), Andre Drummond (21)

    Win Shares: 21.7

    Average PER: 18.1

    Top-Five Picks: 0

    Lottery Picks: 4

     

    With big man Greg Monroe reportedly planning on signing his qualifying offer, according to USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt, the Detroit Pistons fall just outside the top five in terms of young talent.

    Monroe and center Andre Drummond comprise a terrifying young frontcourt, having ranked second and first on the team, respectively, in both PER and win shares this past season. Once Drummond stops making Shaquille O'Neal look like Ray Allen at the charity stripe—he's a 40.2 percent career free-throw shooter—he'll quickly rise the ranks of the league's top 25-and-under players.

    The Pistons have some promising young talent in the backcourt too, with point guard Brandon Jennings and shooting guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Spencer Dinwiddie holding down the fort. The latter could prove to be one of the steals of the 2014 draft, while Jennings assisted on a career-high 34.4 percent of field goals during his floor time last season.

    With Monroe and Drummond anchoring the frontcourt, the Pistons don't need KCP and Dinwiddie to be anything more than complementary options. Jennings is the real bellwether for this group of young players, assuming he can shoot above 40 percent from the field for just the second time in his six-year career.

5. Utah Jazz

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    Kim Raff/Associated Press

    Included Players: Carrick Felix (24), Gordon Hayward (24), Alec Burks (23), Ian Clark (23), Derrick Favors (23), Rudy Gobert (22), Rodney Hood (22), Enes Kanter (22), Trey Burke (21), Dante Exum (19)

    Win Shares: 15.3

    Average PER: 15.0

    Top-Five Picks: 3

    Lottery Picks: 6

     

    The Utah Jazz, who finished dead last in the Western Conference with 25 wins, just had an incredibly promising summer.

    Re-signing Gordon Hayward to a four-year max deal was met with a healthy dose of skepticism, and, considering that Utah likely could have inked him for $10 million less last summer, some of that is fair. However, with the salary cap set to skyrocket over the next few years, there's no shame in paying $15 million a year for a 24-year-old do-it-all swingman who has yet to hit his prime.

    In Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Rudy Gobert, the Jazz have three young, potential-laden big men. Clippers center DeAndre Jordan is living, breathing proof that it often takes bigs longer to grow comfortable in the NBA, but once they do, watch out below.

    Of the three, Favors is the most likely to break out as a future star, but talented young centers like Kanter and Gobert don't exactly grow on trees either.

    The backcourt has become the big question for Utah, as Australian guard Dante Exum shockingly slipped to the Jazz at No. 5 during this June's draft. He's made no bones about his preference to play point guard, but former Michigan floor general Trey Burke, whom the Jazz drafted ninth overall in 2013, has a one-year lead on Exum for the starting 1 spot.

    Exum could end up playing out of position at the 2 for much of this coming season, but Alec Burks, the No. 12 pick from 2011, won't readily concede his spot in the starting lineup either. Utah has the requisite young talent to make a leap in 2014-15; the question is, how do the Jazz fit everyone into their rotation?

4. Charlotte Hornets

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    Kent Smith/Getty Images

    Included Players: Jeff Taylor (25), Lance Stephenson (24), Kemba Walker (24), Bismack Biyombo (22), Cody Zeller (22), P.J. Hairston (21), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (21), Noah Vonleh (19)

    Win Shares: 21.2

    Average PER: 14.7

    Top-Five Picks: 2

    Lottery Picks: 5

     

    The Charlotte Hornets outright stole Lance Stephenson from the Indiana Pacers this summer, sealing up their spot in the top five of these rankings.

    Question Stephenson's antics all you'd like, but there's no denying his talent. He led the league in triple-doubles in 2013-14 (five) and averaged career highs across the board with 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.

    Pairing him alongside former UConn point guard Kemba Walker gives Charlotte one of the most unheralded-yet-terrifying backcourts in the league. Walker finished with the second-highest PER of any then-Bobcat who played at least 250 minutes this past season (16.8), tying his career high in points (17.7) and setting new personal bests in rebounds (4.2) and assists (6.1) per game.

    The Hornets were also a major beneficiary of a draft-night slide in June, landing the freakishly long Noah Vonleh at No. 9 overall. Though he's unlikely to make much of an impact early in his rookie season, few players in this year's class can match his defensive upside. Meanwhile, Cody Zeller can slide in as Charlotte's starting 4 to replace the departed Josh McRoberts, who signed with Miami as a free agent.

    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bismack Biyombo have yet to live up to their lofty draft spots—they were selected second and seventh, respectively—but both helped anchor a defense that finished sixth last year in points allowed per 100 possessions.

    If MKG ever learns to rework his jump shot and develops into a legitimate offensive threat, Charlotte will stay among the league's elite in terms of young talent for years to come.

3. Toronto Raptors

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Included Players: DeMar DeRozan (25), Patrick Patterson (25), Will Cherry (23), Terrence Ross (23), Lucas Nogueira (22), Jonas Valanciunas (22), Bruno Caboclo (19)

    Win Shares: 23.1

    Average PER: 16.8

    Top-Five Picks: 1

    Lottery Picks: 4

     

    The Toronto Raptors were the surprise of the Eastern Conference in 2013-14, rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the Rudy Gay trade to win the Atlantic Division for only the second time in franchise history. Their young talent deserves a lion's share of the credit for that shocking turnaround.

    Though point guard Kyle Lowry, the team's leader in both PER (20.1) and win shares (11.7) from this past season, turned 28 in March, four of the next five players on the win shares leaderboard are 25 or under: swingman DeMar DeRozan (8.8), center Jonas Valanciunas (6.7), shooting guard Terrence Ross (4.2) and forward Patrick Patterson (3.4).

    DeRozan, Valanciunas and Patterson finished the season ranked second, fourth and fifth, respectively, in terms of PER.

    The former earned his first-ever All-Star berth in 2013-14, and when looking at his per-game averages of 22.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists, it's not difficult to see why. His three-point shooting could still use some work—he's a career 26.7 shooter from deep—but he did drill a personal-best 30.5 percent of his three-point attempts this past season.

    After a breakout performance at 2013 summer league, Valanciunas didn't make the major leap many expected from him, but it's difficult to complain about a 22-year-old center who averages 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in just 28.2 minutes per game.

    Patterson, meanwhile, looked like a new man after coming to Toronto in the Gay trade, posting per-game averages of 9.1 points and 5.1 boards in 23.3 minutes.

    This year, the Raptors will add to the mix a handful of relative unknowns in center Lucas Nogueira, the No. 16 pick from 2013, guard Will Cherry, who logged time with the D-League's Canton Charge last season, and Bruno Caboclo, the 20th overall pick from June, whom ESPN's Fran Fraschilla described on the telecast as being "two years away from being two years away."

    If any of those three provide substantive value this coming season, the Raptors could challenge for the top spot here before long.

2. Phoenix Suns

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Included Players: Marcus Morris (25), Markieff Morris (25), Isaiah Thomas (25), Eric Bledsoe (24), Alex Len (21), T.J. Warren (21), Tyler Ennis (20), Archie Goodwin (20)

    Win Shares: 22.8

    Average PER: 17.9

    Top-Five Picks: 1

    Lottery Picks: 4

     

    Of any team among the top five, the Phoenix Suns' spot on this list is the most tentative at the moment. Depending on how the free-agency situation with guard Eric Bledsoe plays out, Phoenix could plummet in the coming months.

    As of now, Bledsoe, a restricted free agent, remains unsigned, with the nuclear option of signing his qualifying offer (a la Greg Monroe) still a possibility. However, as Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders explained, such a move would be a much higher risk for a somewhat unproven guard who missed two months last season with a torn meniscus.

    If the Suns and Bledsoe can hammer out a long-term deal, it's a huge win for Phoenix; what team wouldn't want to retain a guard who averaged 19.4 points, 6.0 assists and 5.1 rebounds per 36 minutes? That said, the Suns wisely signed Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas in free agency and drafted Syracuse floor general Tyler Ennis as a backup plan for Bledsoe if things don't work out.

    Forward Markieff Morris finished third on the team in PER last season (18.4) and second in win shares (6.4), while his twin brother, Marcus, averaged a career-high 9.7 points and 3.9 rebounds in 22.0 minutes per game, setting a personal best for both field-goal percentage (.442) and three-point shooting (.381), too.

    Ennis, N.C. State swingman T.J. Warren and Alex Len, the No. 5 pick from 2013, may struggle to crack the Suns' rotation this coming season, but all three have the makings of impact players down the line. Retaining Bledsoe should still be priority No. 1 for Phoenix, but it won't be left empty-handed if he does depart.

1. New Orleans Pelicans

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    Associated Press

    Included Players: Luke Babbitt (25), Tyreke Evans (25), Jimmer Fredette (25), Eric Gordon (25), Jrue Holiday (24), Darius Miller (24), Jeff Withey (24), Russ Smith (23), Austin Rivers (22), Patric Young (22), Anthony Davis (21)

    Win Shares: 22.2

    Average PER: 17.2

    Top-Five Picks: 2

    Lottery Picks: 5

     

    To anyone watching Team USA festivities this summer, New Orleans' rank atop this list should come as no surprise. Big man Anthony Davis is on the precipice of becoming a top-10 NBA player and legitimately viable MVP candidate, and he's surrounded by a slew of potential-packed under-26 talent.

    Everything in New Orleans starts with Davis, who averaged an astounding 20.8 points, 10.0 rebounds and a league-leading 2.8 blocks per game as a sophomore this past season. The Kentucky product isn't getting complacent, however. He's "working on adding the corner three-point shot, more post moves and a pull-up jumper off the dribble to his repertoire," per Nakia Hogan of The Times-Picayune.

    Point guard Jrue Holiday may be a sore subject to Pelicans fans at the moment—they traded the 2013 No. 6 pick (Nerlens Noel) and what turned out to be the 10th overall selection this past June for him last summer—but those doubting the trade must keep his age in mind. He's entering his sixth NBA season and won't turn 25 until next June, meaning he's still a few years away from reaching his prime.

    With both Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans, meanwhile, skepticism is warranted. Gordon can't seem to stay healthy over the course of an entire 82-game season, while Evans badly struggled during his first year the Pelicans in 2013-14. Both players have All-Star-caliber talent; they've just yet to unleash it consistently.

    Beyond that, New Orleans is stacked with relatively speculative young players, including sharpshooter Jimmer Fredette, Louisville floor general Russ Smith, third-year guard Austin Rivers and Florida center Patric Young.

    With Davis, Holiday, Gordon, Evans and Ryan Anderson around, the Pelicans don't need any of these guys to develop into superstars. So long as they grow into complementary roles, they'll provide a great value to a New Orleans team absolutely stacked with under-26 talent.

     

    Unless otherwise noted, all statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com, NBA.com/stats and DraftExpress.com. International players' PERs are from DraftExpress.com; college players' PERs are from Sports-Reference.com/CBB.

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