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) /
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(Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) /

18. Average age of starters: 26.2. Boston Celtics. 5. player. Depth Chart. Pick Analysis. (49-33)

Of all the teams on this list, none are quite as hard to pinpoint as the Boston Celtics. At their best, they look like the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. At their worst, they are a team crippled by locker room dysfunction and media rumors.

The backbone of last summer’s playoff push: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier all faced significant regression this year. Last season, the trio collectively posted 17.2 win shares and a 4.8 VoRP (value over replacement player); this year, their numbers substantially declined to a combined 11.2 win shares and 1.4 VoRP.

Whether their step back in play was due to the reintroduction of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward into the lineup, or simply not being able to live up to their stellar postseason performance remains to be seen. Solving the team’s chemistry issues and getting back to what made last year’s playoff push so dominant should be the priority moving forward.

As it currently stands, a few of the previously mentioned teams may have a claim to have a stronger core in the 2019 season. However, Boston’s prior playoff success elevates their squad above the rest. Potential is important, but no one on this list is quite as accomplished as the Celtics. No one on this list has converted that coveted “potential” into tangible success the way the Celtics have.

Beyond the headliners of the young core, Robert “Time Lord” Williams, Semi Ojeleye, Guerschon Yabusele and an insane four potential picks in the first round of this summer’s NBA Draft offer more than enough potential upside to help keep Boston in title contention for years to come.

Following the Celtics through their playoff campaign will be the last opportunity to thoroughly evaluate the young core, as large roster shake-ups potentially loom ahead this summer.