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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5. Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets have to be thankful for LaMelo Ball’s X-rays coming back negative following an ankle injury because he’s one of the NBA’s bright young stars. While a slew of ankle injuries are cause for concern, Ball’s statistical track record and unique skill set have him poised to be an All-Star for years. 

He was ranked 12th in Fansided’s 25-under-25, but that is likely because he missed so much of last season with injury. The list of players who have been as productive at such a young age as Ball is populated with players who made All-NBA teams. 

The Hornets have yet to find a true star to complement Ball. Brandon Miller and Miles Bridges are thought to have that potential, but neither has shown enough to be confident it’s in their destiny. They’re not bad players, but their ceiling might end up being the borderline All-Star type, similar to Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson. 

Miller’s upside was a subject of debate heading into the 2023 draft. The Hornets either decided it was higher than consensus or valued his natural fit next to Ball over upside. Thus far, he still looks like a high-floor, lower-ceiling player. That’s not to say he can’t rise above and become a star, but he’ll need to take a significant leap on the defensive end or as an on-ball creator. 

The rest of the Hornets’ young core, in particular P.J. Washington and Mark Williams, are tracking like strong role players. Williams, due to his defensive potential, is the most likely of the bunch to break out, but his offensive game is so limited that he’d have to become Rudy Gobert to be considered a star.