When the Bucks signed Awvee Storey, he shot to the top of the team in one area perhaps even more interesting than punches of teammates and arrests: age.
As an NBA rookie in the 2004-05 season and one NBA start to his name, Storey’s story is not typically one that starts “veteran.” And for good reason, because he very well could be the youngest, oldest player on an NBA team this year if he makes the team’s roster. Born on April 18, 1977, Storey is the only Buck who is 30 years old. Certainly no one thought the Bucks were an aged group before I exposed this tidbit, but it’s still a pretty striking fact that helps put into perspective how young they are heading into 2007-08.
The youth is not going to be buried on the bench this year either. If anything, some of the older guys will have a hard time finding minutes. The projected starting lineup of Mo Williams, Michael Redd, Desmond Mason, Charlie Villanueva, and Andrew Bogut averages 26 years and will be one of the youngest in the NBA. And three of the team’s four oldest players, Storey, Jake Voskuhl, and Dan Gadzuric, are some of its least integral parts.
What does this all mean for the Bucks?
The good news is that basketball is increasingly a young man’s game. Witness LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, and many others in the under-24 crowd. The bad news? Older teams win, with last season providing a great example.
The San Antonio Spurs, who finished the season as NBA champions, started last year as the oldest team in the league according to RPIRatings.
The NBA average age last year was 26.2 years.
Below are last year’s top ten NBA regular season teams with last year’s average age:
1. Dallas Mavericks (27.51)
2. Phoenix Suns (28.98)
3. San Antonio Spurs (30.37)
4. Detroit Pistons (28.28)
5. Houston Rockets (28.11)
6. Cleveland Cavaliers (27.65)
7. Chicago Bulls (25.88)
8. Toronto Raptors (26.10)
9. Denver Nuggets (26.47)
10. Miami Heat (28.17)
Not only were eight of the league’s top ten older than average, the list features the league’s four oldest teams: the Spurs, Suns, Pistons, and Rockets.
And the bottom five records:
26. Seattle Supersonics (25.56)
27. Atlanta Hawks (24.52)
28. Milwaukee Bucks (25.25)
29. Boston Celtics (25.10)
30. Memphis Grizzlies (26.57)
The contrast is stark, with only the Grizzlies rating above the league average among the league's five worst.
That doesn’t mean that as a young club the Bucks are doomed. The Golden St. Warriors (24.93) were younger than the Bucks and made the Western Conference’s final four. And the contending Bulls (25.88) weren't much older than the Bucks. Clearly, and fortunately for the Bucks, the age/success relationship is a trend rather than a rule.
There isn’t meaningful statistical data for team average age yet for this season because final rosters have not been set. Still, it’s a good bet that the Bucks will again be among the league’s youngest. Obviously talent is the leading factor in determining success, but the young Bucks will be working against the odds.