Truly, in the NBA you typically don’t begin to realize your potential until reaching a certain age and until your team combines a blend of both young and veteran players. For only when the mental understanding of the game catches up with the physical can a team or player truly be considered in their “prime,” and that typically doesn’t happen until the average age of around 28 to 30 years of age. Think of Jordan taking years to get through the Detroit Pistons, or Shaq and Kobe’s early shortcomings verse the older, smarter Utah Jazz.
This is why the NBA’s best teams frequently suffer regular season losses to up and coming teams. The regular season, with its hectic travel and game schedule, was built for the young guns. And as previously mentioned, beating the big boys is the lone prize that most young teams can hope for during the long road to the playoffs….well, that and a hefty paycheck, but that’s a topic for another time.
According to Hoopism.com, the LA Clippers and the OKC Thunder featured the NBA’s 15th and 3rd youngest teams, respectively, heading into the 2011 season. The Clippers as a team average approximately 27.1 years of age, while the OKC Thunder combine for an average of 24.9 years of age. Quite a difference when compared to the Lakers, who rank as the second oldest team at 29.9 years of age. Miami, by the way, boasts the league’s oldest team at 31.3 years of age, despite having three young studs of its own. Just for fun, I’ll throw in the Boston Celtics who rank 26th at 28.9 years of age and the San Antonio Spurs who rank 24th at 28.4 years of age.
Next: Father Time on His Heels