Mapping Average Age to Success in the NBA

Neil over at Basketball-Reference.com was kind enough to post a link to our last chart examining the Oldest Teams in the NBA Weighted by Minutes Played. In the comments of his post several of his readers expressed interest in seeing a similar graph weighted by Win Shares (see link for more on WS). Lucky for us, being the amazing wealth of information that it is, basketball reference had this data available.

As defined on the BR website, Win Shares is “an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player”. Thus this graph displays the age of each team when weighted by each players percentage of win shares. The Miami Heat illustrate this fact well. Although the Heat have the oldest average age on paper we can clearly see that they are getting contributions from the younger players (as one would expect). On the other hand the Suns and Cavs situations look even more dire than when weighted by minutes. Not only are the they playing predominantly older players, they are also receiving the majority of their production from those same players. For two teams that are not competitive this can’t be good.

A team that stands in contrast to the Suns and Cavs would be the LA Griffins, I mean Clippers. While on paper they are in the middle of the pack (17th) they become the 4th youngest team when weighted by production. For a rebuilding team (or is it building?) I would image this is precisely where you want to be (see also Knicks and Thunder).

Again, we want to thank Matt Gordon who helped aggregate the players birthdays for us and BasketballReference for all their work.