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Ranking teams by U25 talent

Anthony Davis is the league's best player under the age of 25. Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports

Last year, we ranked the NBA's top teams according to the under-25 talent on active rosters. Maintaining a pipeline of young talent is essential for any team with hopes of having sustainable success. While veteran-laden teams are usually the ones we see playing deep into May and June, the groundwork is set years in advance. Savvy management will amass and develop young talent, either to be the cornerstones for the future (like drafting and keeping Tony Parker) or to be moved for a bigger-name, ready-to-win-now type of player (trading Al Jefferson for Kevin Garnett). More often than not, players under 25 have yet to reach their prime and are on affordable contracts (either rookie scale deals or rookie extensions, both of which usually undervalue their true impact).

While an inventory of talent under the age of 25 on a roster is not predictive of a franchise's future success (see our Future Power Rankings for an idea of what is predictive), you'd rather your team have the assets in hand than not have them, all else being equal. Given the select nature of those players eligible for an under-25 team ranking, here's an overview of guidelines and some brief rules of thumb:

• In order to be eligible for this list, a player must be 24 years old or younger as of Nov. 1 (born on or after Oct. 31, 1989).

• Teams with established superstars get an edge, due to a greater likelihood of return on investment, over teams with multiple "solid" talents (as the adage goes, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush"). However, teams with a lot of bushes (a full cupboard of solid talents) might trump teams with a solitary star.

• Added consideration was given to players who made last season's top 25 under-25 list or next 10 list.

• Players considered were only those expected to be on the 2014-15 roster (i.e., no Dario Saric for Philadelphia, Bogdan Bogdanovic for Phoenix, etc).

With the ground rules established, here's our second annual ranking of the teams in the league based on under-25 talent. Note that current player ages are indicated in parentheses.


1. New Orleans Pelicans

Players: Anthony Davis (21), Jrue Holiday (24), Darius Miller (24), Austin Rivers (22), Russ Smith (23), Jeff Withey (24), Patric Young (22)