The NBA frustrates many fans. The same elite teams are playing in the conference finals each season and the NBA hasn’t seen a final without LeBron James since 2010.
However, if the promise of some of the NBA’s rising stars are for real, we may finally see an NBA with more parody.
Here’s a look at the five teams who can pose challenges to the current super powers of the NBA in the near future.
5. Los Angeles Clippers
Despite their core of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan all no longer with the team the Clippers future is bright.
This season the Clippers have stayed toward the top of the Western Conference thanks to their new core which is led by 26-year-old Tobias Harris.
The November Western Conference player of the game is averaging over 20 points and eight rebounds a game this season.
Along with Harris, the Clippers have a pair of 2018 first-round selections in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson. Robinson hasn’t played much while Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging over 10 points a game as a first-year point guard.
The Clippers also have role players such as Lou Williams and Avery Bradley which will help provide a veteran presence as the team gets younger. Clippers fans should be excited about the direction of their organization despite the end of the Lob City era.
4. Brooklyn Nets
The Nets are a team trending upwards. With LeBron James out of the Eastern Conference, there’s a lot more hope for teams in the east to make NBA finals runs.
The Nets are starting to build a core with a potential of getting there.
25-year-old Spencer Dinwiddie recently inked an extension with the Nets. He is one of the NBA’s most underrated stars. Dinwiddie averages 17 points per game and five assists from the point guard position
22-year-old D’Angelo Russell has found his groove after being traded from the Lakers. He is averaging 18.7 points per game with 6.3 assists.
The Nets also have a rising frontcourt star in Jarrett Allen. The former Longhorn is averaging over 11.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
There’s a lot to like about the young Nets, and they have a chance to rise into the thick of things in the Eastern Conference in the next few seasons.
3. Sacramento Kings
It’s easy to love the direction the Kings are going.
They have one of the best young cores in the NBA with Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic both (26), Willie Cauley-Stein (25), Justin Jackson (23), De’Aaron Fox (21), Harry Giles (20), and Marvin Bagley (19).
Each of these players have brought something to the table. Hield and Bogdanovic both are lethal three shooters meanwhile Cauley-Stein is a speedy center averaging double figures.
The special player that can make it all work is their lead guard. Fox is one of the games best young point guards as he applies pressure with his speed and athleticism on both ends.
What makes the Kings even more promising is that they will have 60 million dollars in cap space to spend next offseason. Cauley-Stein is due for a big payday so that will be interesting to see what happens there.
If they choose not to pay WCS, they will have money to lure a big-time free agent. Either way, Sacramento is on the up-and-up.
2. Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets are half a game back of the best record in the West as of today. That may be something they’re in the running for year in and year out with the core they have put together.
The Nuggets have one of the best young point guards in the sport in 21-year-old Jamal Murray. They have a 23-year-old center in Nikola Jokic who signed a massive extension and is thought of as a top five center in the game. Finally, Gary Harris, 24, is an underrated two-way player averaging 16 a game.
By the way, Denver has Michael Porter Jr. ready to be unveiled whenever he is medically cleared and deemed ready by trainers.
There should be a lot of winning basketball in Denver for years to come.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
This may not be what many NBA fans want to hear but, the Lakers future is brighter than anyone in the NBA.
LeBron James despite being 34 he is still playing at an MVP level.
LeBron will be a Laker for at least the next three seasons and with him is a young core of Lakers who have great potential.
Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and Kyle Kuzma are all 23 years of age or younger.
Ball and Ingram were both top three overall selections in their NBA draft class. Each are off to solid starts to their young NBA carers averaging above nine points per game. Kuzma has become one of the games top young big man’s as he has averaged 18.2 points this season.
In addition, the Lakers have a flexible payroll where they can afford to bring in a Kawhi Leonard or Klay Thompson to Los Angeles on a max deal.
The future is bright for the Lakers, and they will have a chance to add more championships to one of the NBA’s most historic franchises.