Following an eventful 2019 NBA Draft, teams have shaken up their rosters through picks and trades, building toward the future.
While teams built around veterans, like the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors, will likely be vying for another title next season, other squads will nurture their developing stars in hopes that, one day, they can be the next team to go from the NBA Lottery to the Larry O'Brien trophy.
With the NBA's crop of young talent seemingly always set to take the next step forward, here are the three best young cores in the NBA.
3. New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans' collection of young talent begins with one player – Zion Williamson. The No. 1 overall pick from the 2019 NBA Draft, Williamson is one of the most-hyped rookies in NBA history, and rightfully so. Beyond Zion, the Pelicans picked up a trio of players under the age of 25 from the Anthony Davis trade in Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart. When you throw in the eighth and 17th overall picks from the draft, Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, the Pels have an endless amount of upside moving forward.
2. Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks have been carefully crafting an East Coast version of the Warriors through the past three NBA drafts. They lucked out with John Collins with the No. 19 pick two years ago, and then shocked the league by trading Luca Doncic's draft rights to Dallas for Trae Young and what ended up being the 10th pick in this year's draft. Through some more maneuvering, they ended up with De'Andre Hunter (No. 4 pick) and Cam Reddish (No. 10 pick) in this year's draft. Including another mid-first-round gem in Kevin Huerter from the 2018 NBA Draft, the Hawks now have a starting five that can play together for many years to come. In a league dominated by 3-point shooting, Atlanta should have one of the brightest futures in the NBA.
1. Denver Nuggets
There is one team in a very unique place. The Denver Nuggets have one of the best under-age-25 cores in the league, and are also a legit title contender going into the 2019-20 season. For a team that fell one game short of the Western Conference Finals this year, it's crazy to think that the Nuggets have the best young core in the league. But it's true. Nikola Jokic is 24; Jamal Murray is 22; Gary Harris, Monte Morris, Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangómez are all under 25. Even if Denver's polarizing selections from the past two drafts (Michael Porter Jr. and Bol Bol) don't pan out, the Nuggets are set to compete for years to come.
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