5 Young NBA Teams Filled with Enormous Potential
The 2012 NBA draft class was one of the deepest in recent memory, and there are a number of players set up to help their teams become contenders in their respective conferences.
Players like Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, Dion Waiters and Thomas Robinson are all prepared to help their teams reach the potential success that has eluded them for the past few seasons.
While youth brings a high level of potential, it brings a high level of risk as well.
Ahead are five young NBA teams filled with enormous promise.
Notable Players 24 and Under: Thomas Robinson (21), DeMarcus Cousins (22), Tyreke Evans (22), Jimmer Fredette (23), Tyler Honeycutt (22), Isaiah Thomas (23)
The Sacramento Kings have all the pieces they need to succeed. They have a dynamic frontcourt duo with DeMarcus Cousins and Thomas Robinson and a deceptively talented backcourt with Tyreke Evans, Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Thornton.
The Kings just need someone to step up and become their leader.
It's clear that Cousins and Evans aren't going to rise to the occasion anytime soon, so that responsibility will fall squarely onto the shoulders of Thomas, Thornton or Robinson.
It's amazing how a lack of chemistry can hold back a team with such potential, but that's exactly the case for the Kings. With a dash of leadership and touch of chemistry, the Kings could transition from a perennial lottery team into a playoff contender in the West.
Keith Smart needs to get control of his team and help them see just how great they could be if they started to work together.
Biggest Question: Who is going to step up and be the Kings' real leader on and off the court?
Notable Players 24 and Under: Terrence Jones (20), Jeremy Lamb (20), Marcus Morris (23), Jeremy Lin (24), Chandler Parsons (23), Patrick Patterson (23), Royce White (21)
The Houston Rockets are an enigma. They've transitioned from being a playoff contender into now being a team entering a rebuilding year for the franchise.
With the right coaching and veteran leadership, though, the Rockets' rebuilding year might not last all season. They have an impressive number of players under the age of 24 who are more than capable of being legitimate pieces of their future success.
The question now becomes just how well head coach Kevin McHale will get his players to play together and buy into his system. While the Rockets certainly are a hodgepodge of talent, they do have players who are capable of helping them reach a legitimate level of success.
With Jeremy Lamb's athleticism on the wing, Jeremy Lin's production at the point and Terrence Jones and Royce White holding down the power forward position, the Rockets have a lot of potential to succeed in the 2012-13 season.
Don't sleep on the Rockets this year. If they play up to their potential, they could be a very dangerous team.
Biggest Question: Can the Rockets build chemistry early on in the 2012-13 season?
New Orleans Hornets
Notable Players 24 and Under: Eric Gordon (23), Ryan Anderson (24), Anthony Davis (19), Robin Lopez (24), Austin Rivers (20), Darius Miller (22)
The New Orleans Hornets had one of the best offseasons of any NBA team. Not only did they get two lottery picks, they also managed to trade for one of the most versatile power forwards in the game in Ryan Anderson.
The Hornets certainly have a lot of potential, but with that potential comes a high possibility to bust.
If Davis can prove why he was deserving of the No. 1 overall pick and Rivers can become a productive member of their second unit, the Hornets will have a chance at being a competitive team next season.
The biggest question will be if the Hornets can establish a level of chemistry between their returning players and their incoming talent. If Eric Gordon can stay healthy and Ryan Anderson can solidify their frontcourt, the Hornets can certainly be a surprisingly talented team during the 2012-13 season.
Biggest Question: Can the Hornets develop some semblance of depth on their bench?
Notable Players 24 and Under: John Wall (22), Bradley Beal (19), Jordan Crawford (23), Shelvin Mack (22), Trevor Booker (24), Kevin Seraphin (22), Chris Singleton (22), Jan Vesely (22)
The Washington Wizards have been an inconsistent franchise for the past decade, and that's not going to change until their young talent begins to play like a team.
They have a talented young group of players who are more than capable of establishing the Wizards as a competitive team in the East. The only problem is that those players often play better on an individual level than they do with their teammates around them.
This upcoming season will be a make-or-break year for John Wall now that he has a dynamic and efficient backcourt partner in Bradley Beal.
If Wall can finally realize his potential, he can help the Wizards become a dangerous team. If he instead continues to play inefficiently, the Wizards will continue to struggle because they need a player to be an efficient leader on the court.
If veteran players like Nene Hilario and Emeka Okafor can solidify the Wizards frontcourt, there's no limit to their success next season.
Biggest Question: How dominant can the duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal be in their first season together?
Notable Players 24 and Under: Omri Casspi (24), Luke Harangody (24), Kyrie Irving (20), Samardo Samuels (23), Tristan Thompson (21), Dion Waiters (20)
There's no doubt that the Cleveland Cavaliers have a lot to be excited about heading into the start of the 2012-13 season. With Kyrie Irving at the point and Dion Waiters entering the fray, there's no ceiling to the Cavs' potential this season.
While we've yet to see how well Irving and Waiters can work together, the potential of their offensive production is exciting to say the least.
Aside from having a youthful backcourt, the Cavs also have a young frontcourt with a lot of potential with Tyler Zeller and Tristan Thompson. If the Cavs can develop chemistry, starting with the play of Irving at the point and Thompson in the paint, they can compete in the East, and they can do so immediately.
If they fail to play as one cohesive team, though, the 2012-13 season is certainly going to be a long one. The Cavaliers need to establish a productive seven-man rotation to compete with the top teams in the NBA, and if they do that, they can certainly attain a high level of success next season.
Biggest Question: How long will it take for the Cavaliers rookies and sophomores—Irving, Thompson, Zeller and Waiters—to take control of the team?