Chicago Bulls: Ranking NBA’s best young cores today

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images) /
4 of 9
(Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Pick Analysis. player. 66. Depth Chart. (19-63). Average age of starters: 23. Phoenix Suns. 6

In theory, a team that found itself in the draft lottery for eight consecutive years should have accumulated enough talent to be on the edge of playoff contention right? … Right?

The unfortunate truth is the Suns were yet again awful this season. Here’s a little trivia for you: the last time the Suns were a playoff team, Deandre Ayton was an eight-year old kid more inclined to playing the tuba than shooting a basketball.

Beating a dead horse isn’t fun for anyone; Bulls fans can certainly relate to the frustrations caused by Phoenix’s front office ineptitude. However, years of disappointment does have its consolations. With four top-five selections in the last six years, and a slam dunk pick at 13 overall to draft Devin Booker, the Suns have slowly accumulated enough talent to form a potential contender.

This season, Booker averaged 26.6 points and 6.8 assists per game with a 58.4 true shooting percentage. Ayton excelled and will likely finish as a top three candidate for rookie of the year, posting a double-double season average of 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds.

With Booker liable to go nuts any night, Ayton becoming a dependable cornerstone on both ends of the court, and a guaranteed top-seven pick in this year’s draft as the rebuild’s centerpieces, the outlook in Phoenix is looking bright as the Arizona sun. The Suns will also have just shy of 30 million dollars in cap space to bring back Kelly Oubre and recruit any additional talent to round out the core.

Mikal Bridges, Josh Jackson and De’Anthony Melton are all interesting prospects to follow. T.J. Warren and Richaun Holmes both technically miss the age cutoff for this conversation but each have so few miles on their legs it would be foolish to not include them in any plans for the future.

As a whole, the Suns are in a perfect position where they have accumulated so much talent that it does not matter if a few players bust on their potential. Now, all that’s left to see is if this amalgamation of talent can start translating into wins. Who knows, maybe even Dragan Bender has a career renaissance and starts living up to his name.