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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

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Eyes On NBA: 5 Young Teams And Their Potential

By @TrueGodImmortal

The NBA is currently full of young talent all throughout the league on just about every team.... except the Cleveland Cavaliers, Memphis Grizzlies, and 90% of the San Antonio Spurs roster really (they have two younger players with huge potential). Despite this, literally every team has a promising young star under 25 that could really do some damage and continue to progress in the league. For some teams, it's more than just a promising young star... It's majority of the roster. Today, I wanted to take a moment to look at the younger teams today and see what their potential could be together this season and in future years. Let's get into it.

*Chicago Bulls

-This season will be an interesting one for the Bulls as it seems they are prime to tank and hopefully walk away with a top 3 draft pick. Most Bulls fans struggle with knowing what they want, but if I'm the Bulls, I want the no. 1 pick and to be smart, I take Marvin Bagley III. With Michael Porter Jr. already experiencing injury issues and the other possible picks for the team not seeming as promising, I think the plan this year will be to win 20-25 games and go for the no. 1 draft pick if they can't get it. Here's the thing that showcases a possible change in the culture for the Bulls in a year or two. Lauri, their current rookie, is doing well, and has a huge upside as he continues to develop as a player. Kris Dunn is off and on, but he's an amazing defender and Denzel Valentine seems ready to break out and shine. Imagine a Bulls team that can keep those three focused and ready, alongside Zach Lavine, an explosive scorer, when he comes back. Add a top 3 draft pick alongside maybe one or two veteran acquisitions in free agency, and this team could be knocking on the door of the playoffs within the next 3 seasons. Though Gar and Pax don't give us much to be excited about.... I'll attempt to trust the process for Chicago.

*Orlando Magic 

-Coming in just at below 26 years for the team's average age, the Magic are surprising people in a major way. They've slipped below .500 now in the East and likely won't make the playoffs, but when it all starts clicking on a regular basis for this team, they could be deadly. Aaron Gordon is proving to be an important factor for this team and he might be the driving force, while names like Evan Fournier, Biyombo, and Jonathan Simmons could prove to be impactful if they all manage to stick in Orlando. I don't see heavy playoff contention this season or next season for the Magic, but with some more adjustments and additions to the roster, the Magic could very well end up as a team clawing for that 7th or 8th seed sooner than later.

*Boston Celtics 

-The average age of this team is 25 years, but you would think this is a veteran team with the way they play so far this season. Led by the now veteran savvy of Kyrie Irving, the Celtics are poised to run the East, especially when Gordon Hayward is healthy. The improvement of Jaylen Brown and the focus of  veteran Al Horford helps them stay poised and composed, while Jayson Tatum is entering his name in the Rookie Of The Year talks with consistent olay. Terry Rozier has been solid, as has Daniel Theis, and the Celtics havr amazing defense, which has led them this season to a 16 game win streak. Their cap for this season? Likely the Conference Finals, but at very best, a 5 game loss in the NBA Finals. Still, next season, if they can all stay healthy, the Celtics should own the East and maybe years beyond.

*Los Angeles Lakers 

-Don't look now.... but the Lakers are currently in a playoff spot. They're not quite there yet, but with heavy improvement and continued focus on defense, they could make some noise in the stacked Western Conference. Led by Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Brandon Ingram, the Lakers may have found their core three guys to run with, along with solid complementary pieces in Jordan Clarkson and Josh Hart. Julius Randle is playing decent so far, but it is likely that his future isn't with the Lakers. Still, without Randle, the Lakers can add more pieces and have enough room to add a huge free agent or two after this season. If Paul George steps into the Lakers uniform and plays alongside their young core, it could see a return to form for the Lakers that many of us didn't see coming for quite some time. They're young and prone to make mistakes so I won't crown the Lakers as a playoff contender yet, but in a year or two, they could be knocking on that 6th or 7th seed spot, aiming for a shot at greatness.

*Philadelphia 76ers 

-Coming in just a little under 25 years as their average age, of all the teams on this list, I have the most faith in the 76ers. They have two future legends in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons if they can stay healthy. If they can remain healthy and keep improving as players, the league might be in trouble. Ben Simmons looks like he's due to be an All Star sooner than later, and Embiid is more than likely going to get voted in this year, as he might be the best big in the East. If Markelle Fultz can get healthy and come back just as good as we hope he will be, alongside the solid Robert Covington, there's no telling what level of greatness we might be able to witness for this team. Add in a wild card like Saric, and the 76ers might be heading to the playoffs and making some moves throughout. I still think they are a year or two away from a Conference Finals and possible Finals appearance, but if they manage to stay healthy and keep developing their players, they have huge potential for the future. The East could be all about the Sixers sooner than we think.



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