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Ranking teams’ 25-and-under players

Many Pistons fans take comfort in looking a few years into the future, when Detroit’s bad contracts come off the books  and its young players have developed. But that type of analysis ignores that other teams have young players too. Where do the Pistons youngsters rank? Ryan Pravato attempts to determine that by answering a simple question.


If you had to start an NBA team comprised of just the players on the roster 25 years old and younger (by November 2011), whom would you choose?

No. 1 Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Kevin Durant
  • Russell Westbrook
  • Serge Ibaka
  • James Harden
  • Eric Maynor
  • Daequan Cook
  • Cole Aldrich
  • Byron Mullens
  • Reggie Jackson (rookie)

The Thunder lead because of what these players have already become. Even if Durant and Russell don’t improve a lick from here on out, they’re still premier players. Plus, Harden and Ibaka are already two very dangerous role players. So, knowing full well that these four will continue to improve, there’s no other unit close to having as lethal of a foundation in place with so much obscene potential unfulfilled.

And Aldrich is by no means a lost cause yet.

No. 2 Los Angeles Clippers

  • Blake Griffin
  • Eric Gordon
  • Eric Bledsoe
  • DeAndre Jordan
  • Al-Farouq Aminu
  • Willie Warren
  • Trey Thompkins (rookie)
  • Travis Leslie (rookie)

Bledsoe is a tough, flashy, athletic point guard, but he must improve his perimeter game. If he does, he’ll join Griffin and Gordon as eventual top-5 players at their positions. Aminu is the question mark. I think it’ll be feast or famine with him, and this group will heavily depend on him if Jordan fails to develop offensively.

Leslie, a phenomenal athlete and capable shooter, was a sneaky late-round pick.

No. 3 Utah Jazz

  • Derrick Favors
  • C.J. Miles
  • Gordon Hayward
  • Kyrylo Fesenko
  • Jeremy Evans
  • Enes Kanter (rookie)
  • Alec Burks (rookie)

The Jazz possess a ridiculous amount of upside, but the problem with the ridiculousness is that the upside will really never live up to its tease on paper. However, there are, at worst, a lot of future high-quality starters in this group, that will allow a perennial playoff team to form. But are there any eventual superstars here? Not likely. Maybe not the sexiest team, but these players certainly each bring a little something different to the table that help the Jazz become a consistent winner.

And watching Jeremy Evans do things like this is really entertaining.

No. 4 Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Kevin Love
  • Michael Beasley
  • Wesley Johnson
  • Martell Webster
  • Wayne Ellington
  • Anthony Randolph
  • Lazar Hayward
  • Nikola Pekovic
  • Derrick Williams (rookie)
  • Malcolm Lee (rookie)
  • Ricky Rubio (rookie)

Williams and Rubio really make this group tantalizing, but are we really confident Williams avoids falling into the Beasley category of mediocrity? Are we even confident Rubio will suit up? What do we make of Johnson’s lackluster rookie campaign or the pulse that showed in Randolph late last season?

In all this uncertainty, Love is a fine piece to have in your back pocket, but if Williams and Rubio pan out … watch out.

No. 5 Sacramento Kings

  • Tyreke Evans
  • DeMarcus Cousins
  • J.J. Hickson
  • Jason Thompson
  • Marcus Thornton
  • Donte Green,
  • Darnell Jackson
  • Hassan Whiteside
  • Jimmer Fredette (rookie)
  • Tyler Honeycutt (rookie)
  • Isaiah Thomas (rookie)

Who will do the dirty work on this unit? Can Evans stay healthy? Will Cousins stay on the floor? Can Hickson be consistently consistent? With Jimmer’s shot-making ability, it’s tough to imagine him not achieving at least a mid-teens scoring average for his career, but can he stay in front of anybody?

This group is obviously talented, but maybe not the right blend of demeanors and styles.

No. 6 Washington Wizards

  • John Wall
  • Jordan Crawford
  • Javale McGee
  • Andray Blatche
  • Yi
  • Trevor Booker
  • Kevin Seraphin
  • Jan Vesely (rookie)
  • Chris Singleton (rookie)
  • Shelvin Mack (rookie)

Wall, Crawford and McGee have proven themselves to be genuine NBA talents still with great potential. Vesely was a high-risk, high-reward selection, and the likelihood is slim that fellow rookies Shelvin Mack and Chris Singleton develop into starting caliber players. Talented enigma Andray Blatche is still 25 years old, so keep him in mind, too.

Really, we all know that this is a Wall production through and through. I’d buy a ticket.

No. 7 Orlando Magic

  • Dwight Howard
  • Ryan Anderson
  • Earl Clark
  • Justin Harper (rookie)
  • DeAndre Liggins (rookie)

To have one of the very few dominant centers in the league is reason enough to choose this group. Even scarier is just how demonstrably more he can improve offensively.

No. 8 Philadelphia 76ers

  • Jrue Holiday
  • Evan Turner
  • Thaddeus Young
  • Louis Williams
  • Spencer Hawes
  • Jodie Meeks
  • Marreese Speights
  • Craig Brackins
  • Nikola Vucevic (rookie)
  • Lavoy Allen (rookie)

We don’t really know how good Holiday and Turner will be (noticing a pattern?), but one heck of a versatile back court is a legitimate possibility. And that chance is too good to pass up. A Speights-Vucevic frontcourt works, as both are talented offensively. Young and Williams aren’t shabby support players, either.

No. 9 Detroit Pistons

Monroe’s flurry late last season really boosts this group’s value. Knight has All-Star talent and the work ethic to get there. He very well could be the best point guard in the 2011 draft, and that’s saying a lot, because Irving has franchise player written all over him. Will Stuckey flourish as the off guard now given the chance? Despite Daye’s shortcomings athletically and physically, you can’t give up on a near 7-footer with such smooth a stroke.

No. 10 Atlanta Hawks

  • Al Horford
  • Josh Smith
  • Jeff Teague
  • Marvin Williams
  • Keith Benson (rookie)

An intriguing unit especially with the emergence of Teague (bet Atlanta still wished they had Jordan Crawford, too). Both Horford and Smith are best at the four spot, which is a problem—a problem I wouldn’t mind having. And if you’re wondering: Williams is on this list because he just turned 25 in June and Smith won’t be 26 until December.

No. 11 Boston Celtics

  • Rajon Rondo
  • Jeff Green
  • Glen Davis
  • Avery Bradley
  • JaJuan Johnson (rookie)
  • E’Twaun Moore (rookie)

Let me know when Rondo warms up his jumper. It’s slowly improving but not good enough yet. Until then, he’s just a freak athlete with a high hoops IQ and uncanny creativity who largely benefited from playing with great players so far in his career.

Bradley is a nice scoring prospect, and Johnson definitely has the tools to be a dependable rotational NBA big. Otherwise, this group is a bit weak on upside, but not poor by any stretch.

No. 12 Chicago Bulls

  • Derrick Rose
  • Omer Asik
  • Nikola Mirotic (rookie)
  • Jimmy Butler (rookie)

I know the desire for a flashy, yet humble superstar guard is high, but do you sacrifice a deeper, younger unit for that one superstar on an island?

No. 13 Indiana Pacers

  • Darren Collison
  • Roy Hibbert
  • George Hill
  • Paul George
  • Josh McRoberts
  • A.J. Price
  • Lance Stephenson

This group’s depth matched with their versatility makes them dangerous, but maybe never dominant. Although, it’s very tough to tell yet whether Hibbert has already hit his ceiling or Collison will become that 35-minute-per-night guy. George has tools to be an impact player, maybe even an All-Star.

Stephenson may be the cherry on top of all this. Unfortunately, he’s a few cards short of a full deck.

No. 14 Memphis Grizzlies

  • Rudy Gay
  • Mike Conley
  • Darrell Arthur
  • O.J. Mayo
  • Greivis Vasquez
  • Xavier Henry
  • Ishmael Smith
  • Josh Selby (rookie)

Conley showed he’s more than an adequate point guard with pieces around him. Arthur looks like a dangerous sixth man at the very least. I’m very curious to see what the ceiling could be for Vasquez.

Henry oozes potential with his shooting ability, athleticism and defensive mentality. He’ll definitely be an impact player next to Conley and Gay in a few years.

No. 15 Denver Nuggets

  • Danilo Gallinari
  • Ty Lawson
  • Wilson Chandler
  • Timofey Mozgov
  • Kosta Koufus
  • Kenneth Faried (rookie)
  • Jordan Hamilton (rookie)
  • Chukwudiebere Maduabum (rookie)

Gallinari and Lawson are exciting, talented players, but certainly not All-Star caliber. So what? Jason Terry and Tyson Chandler never made an All-Star team.

As for the intriguing rookies, Faried will surely have ample opportunities to clean up many of the misses by the extremely talented, but chuck-happy, Hamilton.

No. 16 Los Angeles Lakers

  • Andrew Bynum
  • Shannon Brown
  • Devin Ebanks
  • Derrick Caracter
  • Darius Morris (rookie)
  • Andrew Goudelock (rookie)
  • Ater Majok (rookie)

Bynum’s track record of injuries incredibly sours this group that otherwise includes intriguing, yet flawed, projects. Morris will be well worth the wait, as he’s about as natural of a point guard as you will see at age 20.

No. 17 Toronto Raptors

  • DeMar DeRozan
  • Jerryd Bayless
  • Ed Davis
  • Amir Johnson
  • Sonny Weems
  • James Johnson
  • Alexis Ajinca
  • Julian Wright
  • Jonas Valanciunas (rookie)

DeRozan and Bayless have done enough to make me think they will pan out as nice starting-caliber players. The upside of Davis and Valancuinas is monstrous.

Then you have Julian Wright.

No. 18 Golden State Warriors

  • Stephen Curry
  • Dorell Wright
  • Ekpe Udoh
  • Reggie Williams
  • Andris Biedrins
  • Jeremy Lin
  • Klay Thompson (rookie)
  • Jeremy Tyler (rookie)
  • Charles Jenkins (rookie)

Udoh might not develop into a starting center, but his jump shot and shot-blocking skills keep me believing. This group certainly has plenty of pure shooting, but it lacks playmaking ability sans Curry. Thompson might be just what the doctor ordered.

No. 19 Portland Trail Blazers

  • Wesley Matthews
  • Nicolas Batum
  • Greg Oden
  • Patty Mills
  • Armon Johnson
  • Elliot Williams
  • Luke Babbit
  • Nolan Smith (rookie)
  • Jon Diebler (rookie)
  • Tanguy Ngombo (rookie)

Safe and reliable, above-average players in Mathews and Batum here – though, I’m looking for Batum to make that next giant leap in this his fourth year. Nolan Smith is a rock-solid point guard. If Diebler could cover a cupboard, I’d feel much better about his chances at sticking.

No. 20 Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Ramon Sessions
  • Daniel Gibson
  • Omri Casspi
  • Manny Harris
  • Christian Eyenga
  • Luke Harangody
  • Samardo Samuels
  • Alonzo Gee
  • Semih Erden
  • Kyrie Irving (rookie)
  • Tristian Thompson (rookie)
  • Milan Macvan (rookie)

Irving has the skills to quickly become a facilitator and scoring point guard. Thompson needs to add a ton of polish offensively, but making some All-Star teams shouldn’t be too lofty of an expectation for a fourth pick, you know? Eyenga and Harris aren’t bad wing prospects, but probably not starting caliber.

No. 21 Charlotte Bobcats

  • D.J. Augustin
  • Tyrus Thomas
  • Gerald Henderson
  • Dante Cunningham
  • D.J. White
  • Bismack Biyombo (rookie)
  • Kemba Walker (rookie)

This group, obviously extremely dependent on the rookies, could be fantastic or utterly pedestrian. Walker will be at worst a decent NBA player, but really, how high is his ceiling? Will Biyombo be any good at all? (Deng Gai, anyone?) Also, after what seems like a decade in the league, Thomas can’t yet be labeled a bad or good basketball player.

No. 22 Houston Rockets

  • Kyle Lowry
  • Chase Budinger
  • Patrick Patterson
  • Goran Dragic
  • Jordan Hill
  • Jonny Flynn
  • Marcus Morris (rookie)
  • Donatas Motiejunas (rookie)
  • Chandler Parsons (rookie)

Lowry played starting-point guard minutes last season and performed like he belonged. Dragic and Budinger are sound backups, but nothing more.

Between Hill, Patterson and Morris, one of them is bound to develop into an above average big, right? I think it’s safe to assume it won’t be Hill, though.

No. 23 New York Knicks

  • Toney Douglas
  • Landry Fields
  • Shawne Williams
  • Bill Walker
  • Derrick Brown
  • Andy Rautins
  • Iman Shumpert (rookie)
  • Josh Harrellson (rookie)

Not an untalented bunch, but they lack versatility. Still waiting for the real Bill Walker to stand up. Shumpert’s the guy to watch here – a 6-foot-6 ball hawk with a Billups-like body and the potential to be a fine shooter.

No. 24 New Jersey Nets

  • Brook Lopez
  • Jordan Farmar
  • Damion James
  • Ben Uzoh
  • Brandan Wright
  • Johan Petro
  • MarShon Brooks (rookie)
  • Bojan Bogdanovic (rookie)
  • Jordan Williams (rookie)

A rather ragtag bunch sans Lopez, but both Brooks and Bogdanovic should become steady, dependable scorers. Ultimately, there’s not enough upside here.

No. 25 San Antonio Spurs

  • DeJuan Blair
  • James Anderson
  • Da’Sean Butler
  • Kawhi Leonard (rookie)
  • Cory Joseph (rookie)
  • Davis Bertans (rookie)
  • Adam Hanga (rookie)

The Spurs have nice upside with their draft selections and an under-the-radar pickup of Butler late last season. You just know a couple of these players will turn into solid pros.

No. 26 Milwaukee Bucks

  • Brandon Jennings
  • Ersan Ilyasova
  • Luc Mbah a Moute
  • Chris Douglas-Roberts
  • Jon Brockman
  • Larry Sanders
  • Tobias Harris (rookie)
  • Jon Leuer (rookie)

The opinions vary quite drastically on Jennings’ star status. Quite simply, he’s not an elite point guard, and I don’t think he has it in him to be one. Ilyasova, Mbah a Moute and Brockman are consummate role players — too bad these aren’t role-player rankings.

No. 27 Dallas Mavericks

  • Rodrigue Beaubois
  • Ian Mahinmi
  • Corey Brewer
  • Dominique James

The Frenchmen are impressive when they see the floor. Mahinmi may never develop into much more than a bit player, but those two jumpers of his in the Finals had to give him confidence. Beaubois will be a sniper for years to come.

No. 28 Miami Heat

  • Mario Chalmers
  • Dexter Pittman
  • Norris Cole (rookie)

Chalmers showed during last season’s playoffs that he’s a gamer ready to take on a larger role.

No. 29 Phoenix Suns

  • Robin Lopez
  • Gani Lawal
  • Garret Siler
  • Markieff Morris (rookie)

You’d think Lopez’s averages of 5.9 points per game and 3.3 rebounds in his first three seasons will increase significantly going forward. But that might depend your definition of significantly.

No. 30 New Orleans Hornets

  • Marco Belinelli
  • Quincy Pondexter
  • Jason Smith

This is the only ranking where I’m 100 percent certain.


  • Oct 5, 201111:43 am
    by Levi Thieman



    • Oct 5, 20112:18 pm
      by tarsier


      you’re a homer. and you like caps lock too much.

  • Oct 5, 201112:34 pm
    by Saul


    Maybe not top 5. I do agree our talent is better than the Sixers, Jazz & Kings. We’re above Minnesota too because their young players haven’t showed a lot yet and are unproven mostly, while ours like Stuckey have shown flashes. 9 is a bit too low for the Pistons.

    • Oct 5, 201112:41 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      “We’re above Minnesota too because their young players haven’t showed a lot yet and are unproven mostly, while ours like Stuckey have shown flashes.”

      Kevin Love was an All-Star last year. That alone makes Minnesota’s young talent ahead of Detroit’s right now. Stuckey is Detroit’s most proven under 25 guy, Monroe is their best under 25 guy. Love is way better than both right now.

      • Oct 5, 201112:45 pm
        by Laser


        Hayes, you gotta at least hate these clueless homers more than you hate me and my brash but sensible outlook. You just gotta!

        • Oct 5, 201112:58 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          Ha! I don’t hate you. Vigorous debate is a good thing for everyone.

          • Oct 5, 20111:42 pm
            by Laser


  • Oct 5, 201112:36 pm
    by Saul


    I realized that having said we’re better than Sixers Jazz Kings & Wiz makes the ranking 5th. So, top 5 for Pistons after all.

    • Oct 5, 201110:40 pm
      by Ryan


      Pistons better than Sixers..certainly within reason.  But  Kings…Jazz and Wiz????

      Evans>anybody we have…Wall> anybody we have…

      Jazz nucleus of Favors, Kanter, Burks, Hayward..Miles is arguably more dangerous than Stuckey.
      Even though I’m high in Knight, not sure the nucleus outside of Monroe is enough to supplant Crawford-McGee-Vesely.. or Cousins- Hickson-Thornton-Fredette

      I think I have Pistons too high..not low.  I think too many people are too high on Daye, Jerebko..Stuckey, even Monroe.  These guys have not done much..and what they have done has been on a crap team.  And safe to say Stuckey and Jerebko’s celings are not that high.  McGee, Crawford, Hayward, Burks, Kanter, favors, Hickson, Cousins..even Fredette; those guys have some legit room.  Blatche too!

  • Oct 5, 201112:44 pm
    by Laser


    Anybody with access to the internet can speak on the topic (and most wouldn’t have used all upper-case letters in an effort to maximize obnoxiousness). Having the dispensable income to buy NBA League Pass means nothing in terms of your authority on the topic. Plus you’ve already identified yourself as a homer before anyone else had the chance to. So… yeah. I think you see what I’m saying.
    This post is great, and it highlights one of my biggest sticking points when people try to defend this abortion of a team. When you look at the cross-section of (1) how good the team is, (2) the flexibility of our salary structure, and (3) the potential of our young players, our future is absolutely as bleak as anyone’s in the league right now. There’s an OFF chance Orlando is in worse shape in a way, because the shape they’re in with regard to the second category is simply astonishing, but the result probably ends up being a perennial pretender who can never win, with the payroll of a true contender.

    • Oct 5, 20111:03 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Looking at this, I’d throw PHX into the ‘bleakest future’ mix. Their only assets are Nash and Gortat. Nash is great, but he’s also old, so I’m not sure how much value he’d bring in a trade. Their young players are terrible. And they have an owner so cheap that he sold draft picks that turned into Luol Deng and Rajon Rondo just to get out of paying guaranteed rookie contracts.

      New Orleans and Orlando will be candidates as well when Paul/West/Howard most likely leave.

      • Oct 5, 20111:59 pm
        by Laser


        Yeah, I do stop short of saying we have the absolute bleakest outlook, just that nobody’s outlook is bleaker.
        As for Phoenix, I don’t think it’s very close if we’re isolating the factors I mentioned above. The bottom line is that they have less than $30 million committed past this season, and 2 of their top 3 paid players will be productive young big men on reasonable contracts. To add to that, Nash probably has plenty of value and could offer a lot to a contender. His contract is mad reasonable too, even for a old white dude (Jason Kidd, anyone?). I have a hard time factoring in “cheap ownership,” because there’s nothing anybody can do about that. This is more about a GM’s performance in terms of managing talent, rolling over assets, and positioning his team to be competitive now, later or neither. The team itself is in a good position to be successful; if a new owner bought the Suns, he wouldn’t immediately find himself in an above-ground pool filled to the brim in animal waste like Tom Gores did.
        And as for Paul/West/Howard, those are the kind of assets that Joe Dumars used to have (admittedly to a lesser degree) but either gave away for nothing whatsoever or converted into liabilities. If their respective teams don’t roll them over and get any value at all for them, those teams will be in as bad shape as the Pistons have been for the last few years and will be until the books are essentially cleared entirely.

        • Oct 5, 20112:28 pm
          by tarsier


          I don’t think nay future is bleaker than Charlotte’s. They have been sitting in a position of “contending” for the playoffs forever and show no signs of moving from there. They will probably continue to finish 7th-12th in the east for several more years. Their best hope is that Biyombo starts off really slow just showing flashes here and there, resigns at a moderate price after his rookie deal, and then absolutely breaks out.

          • Oct 5, 20113:22 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            Yeah. Charlotte doesn’t have anything, although I like Rich Cho as GM and they did get rid of the Jackson/Wallace contracts. Maybe they’ll just move to Seattle.

          • Oct 5, 20114:53 pm
            by Laser

            Charlotte is devoid of assets, but they don’t have much in the way of liabilities. Their only long-term contract is Tyrus Thomas, who would have been our unquestioned starting PF last season. They’re also plagued with bad ownership like PHX and a bad fanbase, which helps explain their bleak outlook without factoring in “bad managerial decisions.” But if you weigh assets against liabilities, they’re light years ahead of us purely in terms of fixing the roster. They have just $35 million committed beyond next season (not much more than the amount we have committed to just our three highest paid players, none of whom is very good) and ONE (!) player under contract in the 2013/14 season when our worst contracts are mercifully expiring. It’s really not close.

          • Oct 5, 20115:51 pm
            by tarsier

            Getting rid of the Wallace contract was a bad thing. Gerald Wallace is the bomb. Now they have minimal assets or liabilities. But laser, I think Detroit’s assets are starting to catch up to the liabilities. There are two bad contracts for two years and two bad contracts for three years vs one young player with a great future and four others that are at least somewhat desirable.

            But it’s true that Charlotte’s bleakness is largely because of it’s fan base and unlikelihood to be spending big ever.

          • Oct 5, 201111:27 pm
            by Laser

            Assets have a tendency to catch up with liabilities when you’re awful and rebuilding through the draft. Time has a way of taking care of things. If we keep the roster intact and remain atrocious, every year that passes shaves time off of bad contracts and adds a lottery pick to the mix. It’s almost unavoidable when your team stinks and has no flexibility. But has it been worth it? Not by my judgment. Being in as incredible shape as we were three years ago, and having pulled an early trigger to rebuild on Joe’s terms, it doesn’t sit well with me that we took so many steps backwards and have so damn much catching up to do.
            In theory (with three more years of unwatchable, embarrassing basketball) we could be positioned to be similar to Oklahoma’s team, with lots of young lottery picks developing together. But that’s cold comfort, considering how unnecessarily bad things are right now and how much better off we’d be in every respect if the team was rebuilt with any competence whatsoever. We could have gotten picks for Chauncey, Sheed, Tayshaun, etc. rather than earning them by torturing a fanbase for half a decade.

          • Oct 6, 201111:21 am
            by tarsier

            I agree but the doesn’t change the fact that after two years of total suckage, this team’s prospects are not nearly so bleak at this point as you seem to imply they still are.

  • Oct 5, 20111:36 pm
    by dvs


    i think the rankings are pretty fair.
    Monroe could be an All Star one day, Knight has the potential and if stuckey plays like he did at the end of last season he should be considered too. There’s no guarantees however. I feel like we’re in the same tier as Utah (which should be lower), Sac, Philly and Wash.
    People who disagree with Minny being so high have to be realistic.
    minny has Love who is a star, Beasley and Willaims who were both #2 picks, Johnson another lottery pick, Rubio hugely hyped lottery pick and some solid rotation guys behind them. it might not be balanced, but thats a lot of talent.
    I also think Atlanta, Toronto and Memphis should be higher than they are.
    And like the others have said, Dwight leaves and Orlando is screwed. :) and NO is going to be just as bad when CP3 goes.

    • Oct 5, 20112:33 pm
      by tarsier


      I love Love (especially for fantasy purposes). Williams has potential but I’ve never been too high on him. Beasley you have to rate similarly to Stuckey. He has shown he could be really good. But there is also a strong chance he will be a mediocre player for a long time. I’m not huge on Johnson or Rubio either. But I guess odds are decent that at least one of those (Rubio, Johnson, Williams, Beasley) will hit at least near all-star production just because there are so many to choose from. So I would probably bmp them down, but yeah, they deserve to be higher than Detroit.

      • Oct 5, 20115:00 pm
        by Laser


        tough to compare stuckey to beasley. beasley’s a big man who can shoot, and stuckey’s a big guard who can’t shoot. both pretty much need to have the ball in their hands, but stuckey is good for an inefficient 15 ppg to beasley’s inefficient 20. there are some superficial similarities in terms of immaturity and unrealized potential, but it’s plainly obvious who’s got more potential to waste. (pssst: it’s beasley!)

        • Oct 5, 20115:52 pm
          by tarsier


          Stuckey is getting reasonably efficient now with his ability to get to the line and very good ft%.

          • Oct 5, 201111:28 pm
            by Laser

            i love you like a brother, but no he isn’t.

          • Oct 6, 20119:53 am
            by Patrick Hayes

            Come on Laser, I know you Hate Hard like it’s your job, but even you have to admit that Stuckey has improved his efficiency from rookie year to now. He certainly didn’t develop into the superstar playmaker the team said he would be, but he shot 44 percent last season, got to the line just over five times a game and he doesn’t turn it over all that much for a guy who has the ball in his hands a lot. He still has a lot of holes in his game (notably, perimeter shooting), but 44 percent/86 percent from the line is solid.

          • Oct 6, 201111:31 am
            by tarsier

            Reasonably efficient is vague and debatable. I recognize that. So I will reword. Stuckey is objectively more efficient than Beasley. He doesn’t shoot threes at as high a rate but he is a guard who has a 1% lower fg%, 11% better ft% and gets to the line a lot more. As is Stuckey’s fta/fga = .46, Beasley’s = .23. And I don’t even know which has a higher ceiling but they are both real long shots at ever reaching that ceiling. I honestly believe their values are very comparable.

            Also, they call each other to mind because they both have the awkward and unnecessary “e” in their names that I always have to stop for moment to remember whether it’s there or not.

    • Oct 5, 201110:48 pm
      by Ryan


      I really dont take $$ or contracts into account here..it’s basically a raw pickup game where you start first with 25 year olds and younger and pick the best to worst.

      Starting off with Dwight is obviously huge.  Up to management to surround him with other players over the age specified.

  • Oct 5, 20112:17 pm
    by tarsier


    Wow, Boston is way too high. They basically have Rondo…and that’s it. Rondo is a very nice player. But without Pierce, Garnett, and Allen around him, he will be a perennial fringe all-star. That’s the most glaring error I see.

    Detroit is about right. I would put them above Philly but put them in a tough to call group with Memphis, Atlanta, Indiana, and Chicago.

    • Oct 5, 20112:23 pm
      by tarsier


      I should add Minny to that group.

  • [...] Pravato, writing at Piston Powered, ranks the 30 rosters in terms of talent under age 25. Lots of room for debate here, at least after the top two spots. At first glance, Memphis might be [...]

  • Oct 5, 20116:17 pm
    by neutes


    I don’t have much of an argument with these ranking. I’m obviously not high on the Kings. I’d put them down in the teens. I know a lot of people think their young talent could be good though, so it’s fair. Not sure how the Hawks, who have both Horford and Smith, are ranked below us. They should be above the Pistons, and you could make an argument for Toronto. They are real low. Valanciunas, Davis, Amir, Derozan. I’ll take that any day. I like it more than the Pistons.

    Probably rank the Pistons right around where they are though but I’d shuffle a few teams around them. Atlanta/Toronto up. Sacramento/Philly down.

    • Oct 5, 201111:00 pm
      by Ryan


      You make a good point about the Hawks..but I guess I value a pretty goodstating center over two clashing? PF’s.

      Teague should be pretty good, so maybe he and Knight are a wash.  I give Det the nod just because JJ, Stuckey and daye are just plain better pieces that what Hawks have to offer otherwise.

      Raps intriguing big men are nice, but iffy at best.  Amir is not going to get much better, forget about him. Don’t know if Demar will ever blow up, but if he does then this ranking will be pretty poor (not to mention Jonas V panning out)

      • Oct 6, 201111:35 am
        by tarsier


        What does everyone have against Horford at C? He may have played PF in college, but he is big and strong enough to single cover every C in the league save Howard, he puts up C-esque numbers, his dimensions are comparable to most Cs, and he is in the group of arguably the second best C in the league along with Bynum, Bogut, and Nene.

        • Oct 6, 20117:53 pm
          by Ryan


          Horford has been complaining about Atlanta’s lack of a center for the past few years. But certainly sometimes people get way too caught up in positions and stuff.

  • Oct 5, 201110:21 pm
    by jj


    Great topic. I disagree with some of these but, man I’m sympathetic how difficult it is to do this. The Jazz seem much too high. Favors will probably be at least above average, but he’s not there yet, Kanter has a LONG ways to go, and Hayward has a pretty low ceiling (why is he better than Matt Carroll, or Dorrell Wright?). At this point, Favors is the only one I feel comfortable forecasting as an above-average starter. The Grizzlies have one guy, Gay, already at the level that Favors could be at in a few years, and Conley is much better now than either Hayward or Kanter. Add in Arthur and Mayo (who was pretty solid in the playoffs after everyone wrote him off in the reg season), and that’s got to be a top-7 team. Clips seem a little high–all those guys were firing on all cylinders last year and the team was pretty awful. (I don’t see the Bledsoe love, never seemed particularly promising when he played last year.)  I’d also definitely take Horford and Smith over the Pistons cast, if considering only talent, not contracts. Not sure why the Nuggets are so low either. That basic cast plus Nene (and some other average guys) went like 15-5 to end the season.
    Really tough to see which teams to demote, though, every team up to the mid-20s could make an argument for a much higher spot. Fun stuff.

    • Oct 5, 201111:07 pm
      by Ryan



      About Hayward…kid has mad all around skills..not even comparable to one trick ponies such as Carroll (half trick) or Wright.    Think Brent Barry.

      The Nuggets beef is a good one…sort of realizing that the Celtics are way too high.

    • Oct 6, 20119:59 am
      by Patrick Hayes



      I agree with you that Hayward isn’t that good, but his skillset, like Ryan points out, is really different than Carroll. The only think Carroll can do is shoot. Hayward is actually not a great perimeter shooter and he wasn’t even in college. His ceiling is more of an all-around type player. I think the Jazz would be thrilled if he could become the type of bruising wing Matt Harpring was for them.

      And Dorell Wright has actually become reasonably good. The Jazz would be thrilled if Hayward became anywhere near as good as Wright has become. He’s a decent defensive player, it just hasn’t show in GS because the team collectively is so poor defensively, but Wright is a nice piece.

  • [...] to be out of the league in a few years, but an owner can hang on to his team for decades.”Piston Powered ranks teams’ 25-and-under players: “The Thunder lead because of what these players have already become. Even if Durant and [...]

  • Oct 6, 20114:39 pm
    by Jodi Jezz


    This list is bogus…Our group of young guys were 7 games out of the playoffs last season…We should be ranked higher than 9…

    • Oct 7, 20119:27 am
      by tarsier


      The Pistons minutes last year were not dominated by the young guys as you imply. Yeah Stuckey and Monroe played a lot but that’s about it. Not to mention that 7 games out of the playoffs in the east is pretty unimpressive.

      • Oct 7, 201111:23 am
        by Ryan



        Clearly sarcasm by Jezz there.

  • Oct 8, 20115:34 pm
    by Saul


    Ownership played a big part in the Pistons’ lack of assets too remmeber. Joe D couldn’t make trades. That doesn’t excuse Bg and C-Vill signings just saying his hands were tied a lot.

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