People like to talk about old teams, but eight out of the NBA’s 10 oldest teams heading into the 2012-2013 season were in the postseason last spring, with the Miami Heat (second oldest), with only LeBron James and Chris Bosh under the age of 30 among the key players, finishing as the NBA champions. Dwight Howard is also the only major piece for the Lakers still in the third decade of his life.
Phoenix Suns – 26.08
Not exactly an old team, with only two over 30 players – Jermaine O’Neal and Luis Scola who is still very productive, averaging 15.5 points and 6.3 rebounds last season. Simply a lot of guys who are 26-27, as the Suns will try and find their way in the post-Nash era, giving the returning Goran Dragic the reigns as a full time starting point guard for the first time in his career, with rookie (21 year old) Kendall Marshall out of North Carolina to back him up.
Brooklyn Nets – 27.2
The Nets begin their first season in Brooklyn with a kind of sea-saw roster age-wise, having five players over the age of 30 – Jerry Stackhouse, who’ll be 38 in November; Keith Bogans, 32; Reggie Evans, 32; Gerald Wallace, 30; Joe Johnson, 31. Yes, two of their core-four are already in their 30’s, with Deron Williams at 28 and Brook Lopez is 24, making it pretty evened out for their key players. This team seems to have the right kind of blend of experienced veterans and key players at the right age, making the playoffs a very likely possibility this season, maybe even a bit further than the first round.
Boston Celtics – 27.37
The Celtics did lose Ray Allen this summer and add three draft picks born in the 1990’s, including Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo in the first round, with Sullinger only 20, the youngest guy on the team, but most of the team’s key players were born in the 1970’s (!!!!). Kevin Garnett is 36, Jason Terry will turn 35 in two weeks, Paul Pierce will be 35 in a two months, Jason Collins will be 34, Keyon Dooling is 32 and Chris Wilcox is turning 30. The middle pack of Rajon Rondo (best player, 26), Jeff Green (26) and Brandon Bass (27) is probably who management are building on (meaning mostly Green and Bass) to start carrying more of the load on their shoulders in one final attempt for Garnett and Pierce at the title.
San Antonio Spurs – 27.46
The big three keep getting older while everyone around them is switched, traded and shifted, with Popovich hoping that he’ll have plenty to build on from what he saw coming from the younger support crew last season. The Spurs have six players over the age of 30 – Tim Duncan (36), Manu Ginobili (35), Stephen Jackson (34), Matt Bonner (32), Boris Diaw (30) and Tony Parker, also 30. They haven’t added anyone in the draft, hoping that the group of Kawhi Leonard, DeJuan Blair, Patrick Mills, Danny Green and Tiago Splitter become more dominant.
Chicago Bulls – 27.6
The Bulls have five players over the age of 30, with two of them, whether the team likes it or not, are projected to be major contributors unless changes are made. Nazr Mohammed is nearly 35, Richard Hamilton is 34, Vladimir Radmanovic is almost 32, Kirk Hinrich, glad to be back, is 31 and Carlos Boozer, who they would love to trade if anyone was willing to pick up the contract, will be 31 in November. The Bulls realized that this is somewhat of a lost season, knowing they’re getting Derrick Rose back only in March, and who knows how good he’ll be, so they decided to retool the squad with veterans, most on short term contracts. The other two key players, Deng and Noah, are 27. Taj Gibson is 27 as well while Derrick Rose will be turning 24 once the season begins.
Dallas Mavericks – 27.66
In that stage of slow decay and decline, just before the big rebuild or a huge plunge at the free agent market, which hasn’t worked for Mark Cuban and the Mavs so far. The Mavs have six players over the age of 30. Three of them – Dirk Nowtizki (34), Shawn Marion (34) and Chris Kaman (30) are projected to be starters and another two – Vince Carter (35) and Elton Brand (33) will be major contributors, or at least expected to be, off the bench. Playoffs? Probably, but don’t expect anything deep, just like last year. Nowitzki won’t be touched (as far as we know) and the other veterans don’t hold much in terms of trade value.
Los Angeles Lakers – 28.06
Out of the five projected starters, only Dwight Howard is under the age of 30, turning 27 in December. Steve Nash is the oldest member of the group at 38, turning 39 during the season. Kobe Bryant is 34, Metta World Peace is turning 33 and Pau Gasol is 32. Other key members on the bench like Antawn Jamison (36) and Steve Blake (32) aren’t exactly toddlers as well. There’s nothing about rebuilding with the Lakers. It’s always about retooling, getting big stars and aiming for the title, every year.
Los Angeles Clippers – 28.35
That’s right – The up & coming Clippers are older than the Lakers, surprising as it may be. The key players – Chris Paul (27), Blake Griffin (23) and DeAndre Jordan (24) are on the young side of the tracks, but two of the starters, Caron Butler and Chauncey Billups are in their 30’s, while Grant Hill, Lamar Odom, Jamal Crawford and Willie Green are all in their 30’s. Expectations? Last year was a conference semifinal, and the Clippers believe they’re worth at least that, if not more, hoping to convince Chris Paul to stick around for a long time.
Miami Heat – 29.14
That’s right. The experienced NBA champions just got older and maybe even better. Except for LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers, all of Miami’s key players are over 30. Lets give Norris Cole the significant label as well, just to even things out, at 23 years old. Ray Allen is 37, Shane Battier nearly 34, Rashard Lewis 33, Mike Miller is 32, Udonis Haslem is 32, James Jones is almost 32, Dwyane Wade is 30 and so is Joel Anthony. Still look like favorites to win the East and probably the NBA title.
New York Knicks – 30
The Knicks are an old team, giving up on two of their younger planets – Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields, over the offseason. All of the projected starters – Carmelo Anthony, Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire haven’t hit 30 yet, but Chandler and Stoudemire will be in a couple of months. The rest? Jason Kidd, Kurt Thomas, Marcus Camby at the peak of the aging evolution, all players who will be among the top 10 oldest players in the NBA when the time for that list comes.