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NBA PM: Young Cores Rarely Pan Out

While fans in Minnesota, Utah and Milwaukee are excited about the future, here’s a reminder that youth rarely pans out.

Lang Greene

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While the NBA playoffs are in full swing, fans of teams bound for the upcoming lottery have an eye out for their future. There are numerous young cores around the league that are causing excitement throughout their fan base because of the upside and potential they represent.

But the true reality is that young cores rarely grow together long enough to do anything meaningful.

Fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz and Milwaukee Bucks among others might not want to hear this reality, but history is littered with plenty of examples that clearly show young guys just don’t get it.

Teams like the Golden State Warriors with a homegrown collection of talent such as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are the rare exception and not the rule. Golden State’s trio has been able to grow together seemingly free of chemistry-killing egos and are now on pace to win their second title.

But here’s the deal: For every Golden State, there are numerous youthful cores over the years that have fallen flat, been quickly dismantled and ultimately landed in a “what if” scrap heap.

Here are some of the teams with strong young talent that people are extremely high on moving forward:

Minnesota Timberwolves
Core Group:
Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Zach LaVine, Ricky Rubio

Philadelphia 76ers
Core Group:
Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, Dario Saric, Joel Embiid (if healthy)

Utah Jazz
Core Group:
 Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Dante Exum, Rudy Gobert, Rodney Hood

Milwaukee Bucks
Core Group: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, Michael Carter-Williams, Greg Monroe

This is a pretty impressive list, until you consider some of the talent on teams of years past that failed to pan out.

Here’s a list of once promising youthful cores that didn’t live up to the hype:

1996 Dallas Mavericks
Core Group: Jason Kidd, Jamal Mashburn and Jimmy Jackson

Back in the mid-1990s, the Mavericks put together a strong collection of highly established guys who excelled at the collegiate level. All of the players on this list had a strong career. But their union together wasn’t as fruitful, as the Mavericks never reached the playoffs and the group failed to record 30 wins. The group was disbanded pretty quickly after forming. Mashburn developed into an All-Star level performer, Kidd is a future Hall-of-Famer and Jackson was a productive long-term player in the league. But together it didn’t work. The chemistry wasn’t there.

1998 Minnesota Timberwolves
Core Group: Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury

The Timberwolves were once in a similar position. The franchise had a young Garnett and then picked up a promising young point guard in Marbury. On paper, the duo looked to be the second coming of John Stockton and Karl Malone. In Garnett and Marbury, the Timberwolves had two young players barely scratching the surface of their potential. However, the unit never panned out. Garnett and Marbury both went on to have strong careers, but the early excitement of them joining forces never came to fruition.

Early 90s Orlando Magic
Core Group: Shaquille O’Neal, Anfernee Hardaway and Nick Anderson

The Magic once had a strong collection of talent headed by O’Neal, Hardaway and Anderson. While this is the most successful group on this list, having reached the NBA Finals together, they were unable to stay together over the long-term. O’Neill left for Los Angeles in 1996 and Hardaway left for Phoenix soon after.

Early 90s Brooklyn Nets
Core Group:
Derrick Coleman, Kenny Anderson and Drazen Petrovic

In the early 1990s, the then New Jersey Nets had a trio of All-Star talent that had yet to come close to their physical prime. The team was one of the most dynamic up-and-coming squads in the Eastern Conference and their growth together could be witnessed on a nightly basis. The trio was headlined by All-Stars Derrick Coleman, Kenny Anderson and Drazen Petrovic. All three guys were young, full of talent, not scared of the moment and not even close to their prime years. However, this group never got to reach its full potential. Petrovic died in a tragic car accident, Anderson battled injuries the rest of his stint with the team and Coleman battled conditioning issues. Nets fans were excited about this team’s future, but it all went up in smoke without a significant playoff run to remember.

At the end of the day, we don’t know if the Bucks, Timberwolves, Sixers or Jazz’s young cores will develop. It is fun to imagine what could be and understandable that fans get excited about the team’s potential, but the harsh reality is far more real than what the imagination can dream.

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Legacy

Looking For A Few Great Voices!

From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

Basketball Insiders

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From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

We are considering adding new voices for the 2020-21 NBA Season, and what we are looking for is very specific.

Here are the criteria:
– A body of professional work that reflects an understanding of the NBA and basketball.
– Must live within 30 minutes of an NBA team.
– Must be willing to write two to three times per week on various topics as assigned.
– Must write in AP style and meet assigned deadlines.
– Be willing to appear in Podcasts and Video projects as needed and scheduled.
– Have a strong understanding of social media and its role in audience development.
– Be willing to work in a demanding virtual team environment.

Some things to know and consider:
– We are not hiring full-time people. If you are seeking a full-time gig, this is not that.
– This will be a low or non-compensation role initially. We need to understand your value and fit.
– We have a long track record of creating opportunities for those that excel in our program.
– This will be a lengthy interview and evaluation process. We take this very seriously, so should you.
– If you are not committed to being great, this is not the right situation for you.

If you are interested, please follow these specific instructions, Drop us an e-mail with:

Your Name:

The NBA Market You Live Near:

And Why We Should Consider You:

We do not need your resume, but a few links to work you have done under the above information would be helpful.

Please send all of this to: openings2021@basketballinsiders.com

 

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#17 – Aleksej Pokusevski – Oklahoma City Thunder

David Yapkowitz

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With the 17th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select Aleksej Pokusevski from Serbia. The Thunder completed a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire the pick.

Pokusevski is a long term project, but one that has has an intriguing skillset. A 7-footer with good speed and quickness, Pokusevski plays like a wing and can pass like a guard. But, to truly thrive at the next level, Pokusevski will need to put on some serious weight.

Again, he’s a project. But Pokusevski’s ceiling is sky-high. And, with a rebuild ahead of them, the Thunder have more than enough time to work with him and ensure he reaches it.

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Mock Drafts

2020 NBA Mock Draft – The Final 60-Pick Mock

What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Steve Kyler

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What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Here is a final look at the 2020 Draft, and how it may play out in this final 60-pick Mock Draft of the 20202 NBA Draft process:

 

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