In my early predictions article, the majority of commenter's felt I overstated my expectations for this year’s upcoming Boston Celtics team.
Age and its associated drop-off were the mains reason people thought the C’s would not reach the NBA finals again (Miami’s talent being the other main reason).
On paper it may appear to be a valid concern, but as history will show us below, the 2011 Celtics, while above the median age, are not a bunch of dinosaurs roaming the NBA in search of another championship.
They are still the ‘Big 3’ and not the ‘Big Triassic’.
Below are the championship winning teams from the past 20 years, ordered from oldest average age to youngest:
|YEAR ||TEAM ||PLYRS ||AGE |
|1996 ||CHI ||15 ||446 |
|1999 ||LAL ||14 ||415 |
|2004 ||DET ||15 ||443 |
|1998 ||CHI ||17 ||501 |
|2007 ||SAS ||16 ||471 |
|2011 ||BOS ||15 ||428 || |
|2008 ||BOS ||15 ||427 || |
|2005 ||SAS ||17 ||483 |
|2003 ||SAS ||17 ||481 |
|ALL ||ALL ||310 ||8752 |
|1997 ||CHI ||16 ||451 |
|1992 ||CHI ||16 ||451 |
|1995 ||HOU ||17 ||479 |
|2001 ||LAL ||15 ||422 |
|2000 ||LAL ||15 ||419 |
|1993 ||CHI ||17 ||472 |
|2010 ||LAL ||13 ||359 |
|2002 ||SAS ||15 ||414 |
|2006 ||MIA ||17 ||469 |
|1994 ||HOU ||15 ||410 |
|1991 ||CHI ||12 ||319 |
|2009 ||LAL ||16 ||420 |
Some of the numbers that immediately jump out are as followed:
1: Four of the five teams older than the 2011 Celtics only won one championship. The Chicago Bulls with the greatest player of all-time being the exception. This helps the Celtics case by not skewing the numbers in favor of a three-peat or dynasty, since the 1997 Bulls were a much younger team (even with 43-year-old Robert Parish).
2: The teams are spread out over the past 20 years. There is no trend to indicate that the early 90’s were a time that older teams flourished, etc.
3: The youngest teams to win championships are also spread out over the past 20 years, again eliminating trends skewed towards a particular time frame. The teams are also mixed, eliminating the dynasty theory favoring younger teams.
4: The 2003 Detroit Pistons and 2007 San Antonio Spurs were team oriented squads. These aren’t teams that had superstars who dominated the time of possession unlike the Kobe and Jordan’s teams.
What does it all mean?
Well it means that the Celtics should not be counted out as a potential NBA champion solely based off of the age of their team.
You could easily make the argument that the Lakers, Heat, Orlando Magic, Dallas Mavericks, etc, are better teams, but if they are to prevent the Celtics from reaching Green 18, these teams will have to outperform Boston on the court and not in the preseason media guide.