Who’s Old and Who’s Not in the NBA

The oldest team in the NBA

Grumpy Old Men Photo Credit: Icon SMI

I read a lot of offhand comments from the NBA blogosphere and major media outlets alike that casually reference a collective team’s age; more often than not these comments amount to uninformed assumptions presented as fact. “The Timberwolves are really young,” “the Pistons are really old,” etc.

We all know the San Antonio Spurs are the only team in NBA history in which half of its active roster is already eligible to collect their retirement pension. And those upstart Portland Trail Blazers who are looking more and more dangerous as the season wears on are, clearly, a team whose nucleus is all in their early-20s. But beyond the obvious calls, how many people really know which franchises can truly be considered “young” and which ones qualify as “old?”

The truth may surprise you.

Now, I understand that simply looking at a given franchise’s average roster age doesn’t paint the entire canvas. Many teams are weighed down at the very ends of their respective benches by creaky, aging vets doing nothing more than cashing paychecks, or by “athletic” youngsters with no hope of ever making more meaningful contributions at this level than garbage-time dunks. Still, it seems there’s some perspective in order in the name of loose accuracy… or maybe just as a party trick on your next hot date. (“Ask me the average age of any NBA roster. Any roster. If you don’t believe me, look it up when you get home.”)

So without further ado, all 30 NBA teams ranked in order of youngest to oldest, with the average age next to each team name in parentheses. Huh… those “old” Pistons are actually younger than over half the league. The Hornets are the second-oldest team in the league. And just when you thought the Milwaukee Bucks couldn’t get any more depressing, they do–only five teams are older.

1. Golden State Warriors (23.8)
2. Portland Trail Blazers (24)
3. Memphis Grizzlies (24.4)
4. Oklahoma City Thunder (24.7)
5. Charlotte Bobcats (24.7)
6. Atlanta Hawks (25)
7. New Jersey Nets (25.4)
8. Utah Jazz (25.6)
9. Miami Heat (25.8)
10. Chicago Bulls (26)
11. Los Angeles Clippers (26.1)
12. Toronto Raptors (26.2)
13. Detroit Pistons (26.3)
14. Los Angeles Lakers (26.4)
15. Sacramento Kings (26.5)

See where the rest of the league’s rosters fall in the age bracket after the break…

16. Washington Wizards (26.6)
17. Minnesota Timberwolves (26.6)
18. Indiana Pacers (26.6)
19. Boston Celtics (26.7)
20. Philadelphia 76ers (26.8)
21. Cleveland Cavaliers (26.9)
22. Denver Nuggets (27)
23. New York Knicks (27.4)
24. Milwaukee Bucks (27.6)
25. Phoenix Suns (27.6)
26. Orlando Magic (27.7)
27. Houston Rockets (27.7)
28. Dallas Mavericks (27.8)
29. New Orleans Hornets (28.7)
30. San Antonio Spurs (29.4)


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