Earlier this year, we took a look at the five oldest active players in the NBA. Then more recently, we broke down the four youngest squads in the league. Today brings us an analysis on the other side of the spectrum with the four teams whose players average age equals the highest among the 30 rosters.
Unsurprisingly, a pair of the five oldest players are members of two of the oldest teams. Additionally, unlike with the teams full of 20-somethings in rebuilding mode and primed for success down the road, this quartet of organizations are for the most part, playing for immediate success.
As a reminder, three of the four youngest teams did not even make the 16-team playoff field last season. The other one was dispatched rather easily in a four-game sweep in the first round. Three of the four teams for this article meanwhile, made the postseason in the spring and the outlier is expected to bounce back with a strong year in 2015-2016.
The next four slides will detail each team’s roster makeup and discuss what the upcoming season may have in store for them. We’ll start with the “youngest” team and work our way up. *Note: According to the data used from RealGm.com, the three oldest teams are all tied with the same exact average player age.
4. Dallas Mavericks (Average age: 29.6 years)
Youngest player on current roster: Justin Anderson (21 years old)
Oldest player on current roster: Dirk Nowitzki (37 years old)
Head coach Rick Carlisle’s bunch has been one of the most consistent teams in the NBA over the past seven seasons. Since Carlisle’s first year on the bench in 2008, the team has made the playoffs all but one year (2012-2013,) and won a championship in 2012. We all know that the face of the franchise — Dirk Nowitzki — is nearing the end of his marvelous career though and the team’s window for another NBA Finals run is rapidly closing.
The organization had one of the most interesting off-seasons, as they infamously lost out on the services of DeAndre Jordan. They did pick up sharpshooter Wesley Matthews from Portland, declining point guard Deron Williams from Brooklyn and court jester JaVale McGee off the scrap heap though, to join forces with Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons for one more run. They also utilized their first round draft pick on the talented 21-year-old guard Justin Anderson out of the University of Virginia.
The current Mavericks include one player who was drafted by the organization and/or their draft rights were acquired in a trade by Dallas. They also include three players who were acquired via trade and 13 who were picked up as free agents. Among the notables are: Nowitzki (37 years old, draft rights to Nowitzki acquired from Milwaukee in June 1998), Parsons (26 years old, signed as free agent in July 2014), Williams (31 years old, signed as free agent in July 2015), and Anderson (21 years old, 21st pick, 2015 NBA Draft.)
3. Miami Heat (Average age: 30.1 years)
Youngest player on current roster: Justise Winslow (19 years old)
Oldest player on current roster: Chris Andersen (37 years old)
Long gone are the days of Dwyane Wade as “Flash.” Sure, D-Wade still posted a solid stat line of 21.5 points per game, 3.5 rebounds per game and 4.8 assists per game last season, but it has appeared over the last four years that he is spending as much time on the bench in street clothes, nursing an injury, rather than contributing on the court. Wade’s creaky, aging body is only the start of what seems to be happening to this Miami Heat roster.
As the oldest team in the Eastern Conference, the Heat still had a massively successful off-season in most eyes and look to be primed to again be near the top of the league. They got arguably the biggest steal of the 2015 NBA Draft with Justise Winslow (who is a nice, young piece for the future too), and they re-signed plenty of important pieces including Goran Dragic. Although Miami should make its way back to relevance in the 2015-2016 season, they still are in a three-way tie for the oldest team in the NBA and are certainly in “win now” mode.
The current Heat include three players who were drafted by the organization and/or their draft rights were acquired in a trade by Miami. They also include two players who were acquired via trade and nine who were picked up as free agents. Among the notables are: Chris Bosh (31 years old, acquired in July 2010 sign and trade with Toronto), Luol Deng (30 years old, signed as a free agent in July 2014), Wade (33 years old, fifth pick, 2003 NBA Draft), and Winslow (19 years old, 10th pick, 2015 NBA Draft.)
2. Los Angeles Clippers (Average age: 30.1 years)
Youngest player on current roster: Branden Dawson (22 years old)
Oldest player on current roster: Pablo Prigioni (38 years old)
The Los Angeles Clippers’ playing style really doesn’t resemble a bunch of old geezers and to be honest, their place on this list probably only comes down to two off-season pickups — Pablo Prigioni and Paul Pierce. Both players in their late 30s were signed as free agents this summer to shore up a now stacked, veteran team coached by Doc Rivers.
The Clippers should still be the better (and more exciting) basketball team to reside in LA this year, but aside from Kobe Bryant, the Lakers have the look of a younger and fresher roster now. Don’t expect “Lob City” to go away anytime soon though, especially with Jordan and Blake Griffin still suiting up and in their 20s and with one of the NBA’s best point guards still heaving up their alley-oops.
The current Clippers include three players who were drafted by the organization and/or their draft rights were acquired in a trade by Los Angeles. They also include four players who were acquired via trade and eight who were picked up as free agents. Among the notables are: Griffin (26 years old, first pick, 2009 NBA Draft), Jordan (27 years old, second round pick, 2008 NBA Draft), Chris Paul (30 years old, acquired in a Dec. 2011 trade with New Orleans), and Pierce (37 years old, signed as a free agent in July 2015.)
1. San Antonio Spurs (Average age: 30.1 years)
Youngest player on current roster: Nikola Milutinov (20 years old)
Oldest player on current roster: Tim Duncan (39 years old)
Tim Duncan is legitimately old enough to be his new teammate Nikola Milutinov’s father. If the San Antonio Spurs make the playoffs (come on, obviously they will) in the spring of 2016, and old “Father Time” Timmy D is still healthy, he could play in a postseason game at the ripe old age of 40, and that is awesome.
Astoundingly, age seems to be just a number for Duncan, and the rest of the Spurs as they are expected to yet again compete for another NBA title in June. (Adding marquee free agent LaMarcus Aldridge over the summer helps a bit too.) Their legendary coach Gregg Popovich is the perfect symbol for what this team is all about: winning, class, a bit of humor, and lots and lots of experience.
The current Spurs include five players who were drafted by the organization and/or their draft rights were acquired in a trade by San Antonio. They also include two players who were acquired via trade and nine players who were picked up as free agents. Among the notables are: Aldridge (30 years old, signed as a free agent in July 2015), Duncan (39 years old, first pick, 1997 NBA Draft), Kawhi Leonard (24 years old, draft rights to Leonard acquired from Indiana in June 2011), and Tony Parker (33 years old, 28th pick, 2001 NBA Draft.)
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