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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7. New Orleans Pelicans 

The Pelicans’ young core is being carried by Zion Williamson. Due to lengthy injury absences, his talent has somehow become underrated, as he was ranked eighth in Fansided’s 25-under-25. But here is a little refresher.

In 127 career games, Williamson has averaged 25.5 points per game on 59.9 percent shooting, and he doesn’t turn 24 until July 2024. This season, the only player approaching that combination of scoring volume and efficiency is Giannis Antetokounmpo at 29.9 points per game on 59.4 percent shooting. So yeah, Zion is a bonafide young star, and maintaining his health is the single biggest hurdle for the Pelicans to overcome. 

After Williamson, the Pelicans’ next best young player is Trey Murphy III, who has been sidelined to start the season due to a knee injury. Murphy has flown under the radar but he’s an excellent 3-and-D wing and has the potential to be an All-Star. He’s not a sure-fire future star, but elite high-volume 3-point shooting from the wing will give him a chance. 

Outside of Williamson, there isn’t much superstar upside among the Pelicans young core, but there is a ton of depth. Dyson Daniels probably has the most upside of any of their young players, but he is trending towards a “star in his role” type. However, with Williamson, Murphy, and capable veterans, the Pelicans, if they can ever get healthy, should be formidable for years to come.