The New York Knicks are a team that is finally looking to make the leap to become a title-contender in 2012-13, but there are still question marks as to whether or not the team is at that level just yet.
Along with the chemistry problems that plagued them last season, the age of this Knicks roster is now considered something that will hold them back.
In spending the offseason revamping their supporting cast to help out the "Big Three," the Knicks picked up three of the oldest players in the league, as well as the league's oldest rookie in Pablo Prigioni, and a player who just came out of retirement in Rasheed Wallace.
Veterans Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas all rank in the top five oldest players in the league, with the latter actually being the oldest active player in the game today.
Along with this, the Knicks' average age will be the oldest of any team in league history, with a mark at almost 33 years of age (as per USA Today).
At face value, these numbers are shocking and should absolutely be a cause of concern for Knicks fans, but in reality, the age of this roster shouldn't be a detriment in their search for a title.
Firstly, from a purely mathematical perspective, these numbers are misleading.
On the whole, the Knicks roster isn't really that old, it's just that these five players bring up the average dramatically. In fact, outside of these five, there isn't a single player in training camp right now older than 30.
More important, though, is the fact that these older players really aren't playing that big of a role.
With the exception of Kidd and Camby, most of these old guys won't even be in the rotation for most of the season. Wallace may not even make the roster at all.
Kidd and Camby were starters on their respective teams last season, playing more minutes than they will be during the regular season for the Knicks in 2012-13.
To have even stayed in the NBA for as long as they have shows that they have excellent conditioning, so 15-20 minutes per game as a back-up shouldn't be too much to handle for either of them.
These players also bring invaluable assets to the table for the Knicks, assets that only players with as much experience as they have can bring.
What these players lack in athleticism at this point in their careers, they make up for in veteran know-how and the ability to see things in the game that only players who've played as long as they have can see.
One of the main missing ingredients for the Knicks last season was chemistry, but Kidd is amongst the league's best at getting people to come together as one. Just ask Tyson Chandler and the 2010-11 Dallas Mavericks.
Kidd's experience and feel for the game will rub off on the younger players of this Knicks roster, and go a long way in fixing the troubles that they had on offense for much of last year.
Camby, too, can give the Knicks something they need, as now they won't have to give Tyson Chandler so much burn in order to retain a defensive presence in the paint.
Now, when Chandler is fatigued or in foul trouble, Mike Woodson can simply plug in Camby, a former Defensive Player of the Year winner and a two-time All-Defensive First Team selection.
He may not be quite at that level anymore, but without the pressure of starting, you can bet that he has enough left in the tank to provide some impact on the defensive side of the floor.
Despite their age, these two signings are upgrades for the Knicks—surely there isn't anyone out there who thinks that the Knicks would be better off with Mike Bibby and Josh Harrellson on their bench instead of Kidd and Camby.
Regardless, whether or not the Knicks win a title in 2012-13 won't come down to the play of these older guys, anyway.
As important as the supporting cast is, it's really down to Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler as to whether or not this team reaches its potential.
The bench can only do so much for the Knicks, but for STAT and Melo to mesh will do them a world of good.
Training camp is underway and the Knicks finally have their chance for their two big-name players to build a rapport on offense.
So long as the Knicks can get consistent play out of their bench players—consistency that players like Camby, Kidd and Thomas have shown for much of their long careers—the core stars will be in a position to shine if their training camp is successful.
If things don't work out for the Knicks in camp, then they will clearly be in some trouble, but it won't be because the roster is too old.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!