NBA’s best young cores in the West, assembling thunder and rockets


The NBA is brimming with talent league-wide, and every team has its fair share of generational talent. With the Western Conference home to many title contenders, several franchises have pressed the rebuild button to form the right team.

Here’s a look at some of the best young cores in the West.

Oklahoma City Thunder:

Core: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (24), Josh Giddey (19), Chet Holmgren (20)

Other players 25 and under: Luguentz Dort (23), Aleksej Pokusevski (20), Tre Mann (21), Darius Bazley (22), Jalen Williams (21), Jaylin Williams (20)

Sam Presti decided to start from scratch and rebuild the Oklahoma City Thunder roster after the trade of Russell Westbrook and Paul George. Following the exchanges, the general manager put together the youngest team in the league. Although the Thunder roster is the youngest in the league, there is no shortage of talent. OKC also amassed a plethora of future draft picks.

Due to their ability to absorb larger contracts with their cap space, Presti collected draft picks left and right. The Thunder have collected 38 future draft picks, not counting any protections, trades or other rights they might hold. The Thunder can rotate as needed, thanks to the team’s 19 first-round picks and 19 second-round picks at their disposal. The Thunder and Presti can continue to collect young talent, or they have the option of putting together a package to acquire any star players that may become available in the future.

The talent on the roster alone makes the Thunder’s future exciting, and with Presti at the wheel, who knows what move might come next.

Nonetheless, with Oklahoma’s young squad and Presti’s reliance on collecting picks, they’ll be a team to watch going forward.

Houston Rockets:

Core: Jalen Green (20), Jabari Smith Jr. (19), Kevin Porter Jr. (22)

Other players 25 and under: Alperen Sengun (20), Josh Christopher (20), Tari Eason (21), Kenyon Martin Jr. (21), Daishen Nix (20), Marquese Chriss (25), TyTy Washington Jr. (20 ), Bruno Fernando (23)

The Houston Rockets had the luxury of pairing two of the top three picks in back-to-back drafts. Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr. will be a fun and explosive duo to watch going forward, with Kevin Porter Jr. also in the mix.

The Rockets have also found themselves hitting with late-round picks over the past two years, Alperen Sengun and Josh Christopher immediately spring to mind. Still, it looks like Houston has clinched gold again in this year’s draft with the selection of Tari Eason.

Rafael Stone, the team’s general manager, has put together a slew of future draft picks for the team to use in its rebuild. If the Rockets can keep that core together and allow the young group to build chemistry, the sky’s the limit.

It’s safe to say that the future of the NBA is in good hands. One of these young western teams could be the next title contender in the years to come.


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