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ESPN ranks Cleveland Cavaliers as team with 4th best under-25 talent

We all know ESPN loves their rankings. Here's how they feel the Cavs stack up in terms of young talent.


ESPN's Amin Elhassan came out with his rankings today with the teams that have the most talent on their rosters under the age of 25 (insider only) and it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Cavs placed very well on this list. The following qualifiers were put in place when creating this list:

• A player must be 24 years old or younger.

• Teams with established superstars get an edge.

• 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 2013-14 roster

The Cavs ended up finishing in fourth place on this list behind the Thunder, Pelicans and Jazz respectively. Our under 25 core is as follows:

Anthony Bennett (20), Carrick Felix (22), Kyrie Irving (21), Sergey Karasev (19), Tristan Thompson (22), Dion Waiters (21), Tyler Zeller (23).

It makes sense for the Cavs to rank high on this list and maybe I'm just being a little greedy but I feel we should be higher. We have a player who could be a top 5 player in the very near future and is coming off two of the best years we've ever seen from a player at his age in the NBA. We have young players who have shown enough glimpses of talent to think they could be borderline all stars if not very good starters in this league in Dion and Tristan. Not to mention the #1 overall pick this year in Anthony Bennett and two players that are likely solid rotation players in Felix and Zeller. Plus Sergey Karasev could easily wind up being in the upper echelon of shooters in the NBA. While the Jazz have good players in Favors, Kanter, and Hayward along with intriguing rookies in Burke and Gobert I don't feel there's a surefire star player in that group. Plus we have no idea what Burke or Gobert are going to be in the league. While Favors is a very underrated player if I was Chris Grant and I got a call asking for Tristan for Favors straight up I probably wouldn't do it. Maybe that's my bias coming through but I just don't think either player has shown yet exactly what they will be in the NBA. To sum things up I feel having a player as good as Kyrie Irving and this much talent around him should place them above the Jazz when ranking which teams have the most talent under 25.

Here's what Amin had to say about the Cavs:

I have previously written about what makes Irving special, and recently seeing him in action at USA Basketball training camp only reaffirmed my belief that it is only a matter of time before he is unequivocally regarded as the best point guard in the league. His superhuman feel, unbelievable ball-handling skills, proficient perimeter game and leadership skills all point toward greatness.

He also had a few things about our other pieces around Kyrie:

Thompson improved greatly from his rookie year as an energy big and outstanding rebounder, Waiters had his moments as a slasher and scorer who needs to get more consistent.

Cleveland brought in one of the more complete rookie classes in 2013, including No. 1 overall pick Bennett, who has the potential to be a versatile inside-outside threat, Karasev as a big wing shooter and Felix as a big wing defender and energy guy.

I mean he's on the money for the most part here but he doesn't provide any explanation as to why he doesn't feel this group of players shouldn't be ranked ahead of the Jazz.

Overall I think they did a pretty good job with these rankings. I also had an issue with the T Wolves being ranked lower than Portland due to having Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio but I guess it depends on how you feel about Damian Lillard and Rubio.

What do you guys think? How does the Cavs young talent stack up when compared to the rest of the league?