The NBA’ Best Young Cores

1. Nuggets
2. Sixers
3. Celts
4. Bucks
5. T-Wolves
6. Suns
7. Lakers
Young core: Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Ivica Zubac, Johnathan Williams, Moritz Wagner, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Isaac Bonga, Alex Caruso

The Los Angeles Lakers’ young core had their chance to prove their worth following LeBron James’ absence due to a groin injury. Unfortunately, they have failed to impress, at least relative to expectations.

Lonzo Ball still can’t shoot worth a lick (32.7 percent from three, 41.7 percent from the free-throw stripe this year), Brandon Ingram still struggles with bouts of inconsistency, especially in fourth quarters, and Josh Hart has taken a step back after a strong rookie campaign (hitting just 41 percent from the floor, 34.6 percent from three).

The only member of Los Angeles’ 24-and-under group who has improved upon last season is Kyle Kuzma, who is averaging 18.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game, even without his three-point shot falling (as he’s shooting 29.9 percent from deep this season).

The Lakers’ young core still has all the talent in the world, but it’s disappointing they haven’t shown to be further along in their development in 2018-19.