How Heat, Bulls and OKC return

Each of these guys wants to return to the conference finals next season. NBAE/Getty Images

Given the youth of their cores, we can expect to see the Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat back here in the conference finals next year, right?

Think again.

According to the brilliant work of ESPN Insider Kevin Pelton, we see that young teams that make the conference finals aren't exactly locks to get there again the following year. Here's Pelton's big takeaway:

Of the 10 youngest conference finalists, as many (four) failed to return to the conference finals during the ensuing five years as made multiple trips.

So what do the Thunder, Bulls and Heat need to do to ensure this run isn't a one-hit wonder? Let's outline three areas of long-term improvement for each of the teams:

Oklahoma City Thunder

1. Find an offensive coordinator

As we're finding out with Kevin Durant, it's easier to elevate from a good player to a great player than it is to elevate from a great player to an elite player. He's still just 22 years old, but statistically he took a step backward in 2010-11 when we all thought he'd continue on his meteoric rise.