After trading star guard Dejounte Murray, it should be very clear that the San Antonio Spurs are in the midst of a youth movement -- a complete overhaul of the roster focusing on finding and developing young players.
In 2022, Murray was the backbone of the Spurs and was far and away their best player. At 25 years old, it’s clear he has a bright future in the league. It just won’t happen in San Antonio.
It’s hard to transition from a 25-year-old All-Star and get even younger, but the Spurs are managing to do it. I fully believe the eventual plan is to run Josh Primo at point guard, but for now, the starting backcourt will probably be 22-year-old Tre Jones and 21-year-old Devin Vassell. It's not often that a starting backcourt was drafted in the same class by the same team.
Almost every NBA site has their iteration of the best player under the age of 25. The Spurs have one of the youngest starting backcourts in the league, so they’re a ripe candidate to take the crown in my “best NBA backcourt 25 years or younger” list.
Some caveats: Each team gets only two players, representing who will be starting in the backcourt. The average age of the two must be 25 or younger. I will be ranking teams based on potential and current talent, so teams like the Hornets, who have a lot of room to grow, will be favored.
12 teams have a starting backcourt that fit the age restrictions. The Spurs are joined by the Hawks, Hornets, Cavaliers, Pistons, Rockets, Pacers, Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Thunder, Magic, and Kings.
#12: Oklahoma City Thunder - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort
Most fans would have you believe that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is an up-and-coming star in the league, but I think his ceiling is a 24-point-a-night guy who isn’t the best shooter.
His three-point percentage plummeted from 41% to 30% over the last two seasons, and I think the added attention on defense had a lot to do with it. That's bad news for Shai, as that attention won’t go away until Chet Holmgren breaks out, which could take years.
On the other side of the court is Lu Dort. I like him a lot, mostly because he destroys the Houston Rockets. At only 23 years old, I think he’s close to his peak. Like I said, potential matters, and I think the Thunder duo is running out of steam.