Absence on next generation rankings points to bleak future for Warriors

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers
Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

In a rather underwhelming season that saw them miss the playoffs, the development of their younger players was one silver lining for the Golden State Warriors.

Yet how much weight should be put into the prospects of the Warriors' future, or should they be solely focused on prioritizing the remainder of Stephen Curry's career? If there was any doubt over that question, it may have been answered with The Ringer's next generation rankings.

The Ringer's next generation rankings suggests things could get bleak for the Golden State Warriors once Stephen Curry retires

Panelists at The Ringer rated players on a series of categories, resulting in the formation of the top 25 players under 25 years of age. While there was a number of controversies, the biggest concern for Golden State was the complete absence of any of their young players.

Jonathan Kuminga is clearly the Warriors' most exciting young player, having developed into one of the league's most improved players and the team's second-best scorer over the final few months of the season.

However, the 21-year-old could only garner a mention on those that just missed the cut, though the staff acknowledge that he "may just prove us wrong next season." It's an indication that Kuminga is still widely-viewed as a talented young player with potential, rather than necessarily a superstar in the making.

The former seventh overall pick was seen as untouchable by Golden State at February's mid-season deadline, and it would take a superstar return for them to adjust their perspective in the offseason. Yet if Kuminga holds less long-term potential than the 25th-ranked Jabari Smith Jr., perhaps the franchise shouldn't be so steadfast on keeping their most valuable young asset.

Victor Wembanyama (1st), Chet Holmgren (7th) and Brandon Miller (17th) were all a big part of the rankings, but there was no room for fellow First Team All-Rookie member Brandin Podziemski. Last year's 19th overall pick appears a major part of the Warriors' future, but should he be immune from trade conversations if it means getting Curry significant help?

These rankings just prove that the Warriors don't have a young player who will draw anywhere near the stature of Curry. So in the words of Stephen A Smith on 95.7 The Game earlier this week, "you give Steph Curry whatever the hell he needs in order to keep him, as a team, relevant in the championship equation."