NBA Power Rankings: The NBA’s 10 best young cores

The vast majority of contenders are comprised of veterans, but the next wave of title chasers is already shaping up. These are the 10 best young cores in the NBA. 

Oklahoma City Thunder v Chicago Bulls
Oklahoma City Thunder v Chicago Bulls / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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9. Indiana Pacers

The Pacers might rank lowly in this exercise, but they checked the most important box– young star. Tyrese Haliburton is already an All-NBA caliber player and is currently piloting the most efficient offense in league history. He ranked third in Fansided’s 25-under-25, behind Anthony Edwards and Luka Doncic, and has a real case to leapfrog Edwards.

With Haliburton at the command, the Pacers will be a dangerous offense for the next decade. All they need to do to take the next step is find another star that compliments his skill set. Unfortunately, the Pacers will likely have to trade or sign Haliburton’s running mate because no one on their roster looks likely to get there. 

Bennedict Mathurin had an intriguing rookie season, but his defense is a mess, and his offensive game looks fairly limited long-term. He still has plenty of time to break out, but the chances of him becoming an All-Star are slim. Scoring points doesn’t make you an All-Star anymore, and that looks like his only skill. 

Jarrace Walker has hardly played this season, and until he gets more minutes, it’s hard to know what his NBA future will hold. There’s a ton to like about his game, but his offensive upside is probably limited enough that he’ll never be a star. However, he could become a defensive wrecker to the point that he forces his way into the conversation.  

At the end of the day, Haliburton makes the Pacers’ next step relatively simple. They already have the star and just need his sidekick. Even if they whiff in that regard, he’s so good they’ll win games and make the playoffs as long as they surround him with shooters and defense.