There's been alot of recent chatter in the basketball world regarding which team has the best young core. Houston Rockets fans will, of course, cite the Rockets as the clear winner, and rightfully so.
Between Alperen Sengun, Jalen Green, Jabari Smith Jr., and Tari Eason, there's a legitimate argument to be made. Their respective ages are 21-years-old, 21-years-old, 20-years-old, and 22-years-old.
Again, that's not too shabby.
Green has proven himself to be a bucket, Sengun has drawn comparisons to Magic Johnson from superstars across the league, and Smith is a unicorn, as he was the first rookie in league history to have 1000+ points, 500+ rebounds, 100+ 3-pointers, and 50+ blocks.
And that's without mentioning Amen Thompson and Cam Whitmore, who the Rockets were strangely able to nab with the 20th pick, despite giving consideration to taking him fourth overall. But there are some rather talented young cores across the league that must be included in the conversation.
For example, the Oklahoma City Thunder were a play-in team and were led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (25-years-old), Josh Giddey (21-years-old), and Jalen Williams (22-years-old). And they'll be adding Chet Holmgren into the fray.
Houston Rockets given vote of confidence from league's executives
The New Orleans Pelicans have been one of the up-and-coming teams in the Western Conference and have a trio of Zion Williamson (23), Brandon Ingram (25), and Trey Murphy (23). Several teams make a strong case.
And most basketball fans don't view the Rockets as the frontrunner. In fact, most NBA fans would probably leave the Rockets off the list entirely.
However, the NBA executives would say otherwise. Hoopshype's Michael Scotto spoke with NBA executives across the league and they seem to share a different opinion.
Scotto polled the league's front office decision makers regarding the top breakout players of the 2023-24 season and the Rockets donned two players on the list: Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr. Furthermore, the Rockets were the only team with multiple players to crack the list.
Does that settle the score? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't.
It definitely shows that the league's experts have more faith in the Rockets than any other young team. Which counts for something.
At least it should.