The Cleveland Cavaliers are flush with young, talented players. That’s often the case with a rebuilding franchise, getting repeated bites at the apple in the NBA Draft. Is the Cavs’ current stock of players unusual, or what’s expected after three seasons of losing basketball?
One unique thing for the Cavs is that their young core hasn’t had a member wash out as a prospect yet. They have six highly-talented young players all 24 years of age or younger, and all still have upside to become high-end starters and the floor of a rotation player. None of them look like all-out busts, which is difficult to say for most teams in a long rebuild.
The Cavs have a well-stocked roster of young talent. What are some easy ways to compare their young core to others across the league?
At the same time, the Cavs clearly don’t have a single prospect who has “popped” and become a superstar. Evan Mobley is brimming with two-way potential, and Collin Sexton was a top-20 scorer last season, but no player has emerged as an All-NBA candidate yet. Luka Doncic and Trae Young, Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell, Zion Williamson and Ja Morant. Cleveland does not have one of these.
What they do have is depth, and multiple swings to gain a star either by development or trade. They are a young team with a lot of talent to build on. Subjectively we could go team-by-team and compare players, but are there any quick and simple ways to compare the core in Cleveland to those in other cities?
Here are 3 ways to do just such a comparison. We will look at players drafted in the last five years as a simple way to frame “young cores” across the league. To start, which teams have the most Top 10 picks from 2017 to 2021?