I have to admit that there was always something fun about watching younger players and dreaming of the future when they might be great players. Watching Al Jefferson, Delonte West, and Kendrick Perkins in their early years made up for also watching Gerald Green, Kedrick Brown, and Marcus Banks.
On the other hand, I really don't miss the "youth movement years." Because losing stinks.
If there's one rule that the NBA tends to stick by, it is that the NBA eats its young. The same story has been played out time and time again. Remember the "Baby Bulls?" The new darling team of the NBA was supposed to the OKC Thunder. But instead of taking The Leap to contender status, they are stuck in that classic "don't want to face them in the first round" status, which as to be a bit of a disappointment. (Obligatory plug for my buddy Dogburt's "Welcome To Loud City" blog)
Which brings me to this article by Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk.
The Miami Heat top the list at an average age of 31.32 (all those older veteran minimum deals to put around their big three cause that). Followed by the Lakers (29.98), Mavericks (29.47), Nuggets (29.09), Celtics (28.69), Magic (28.44) and Spurs (28.42). You know what else that is? A list of every NBA title contender. And Denver.
The lesson: Experience wins.
Which brings me to our next opponent, the Dallas Mavericks. In the West a lot of attention is rightfully being given to the Spurs for their record and the Lakers for their defending Champs status. But quietly, the Mavericks are a team to be reckoned with. Like Pierce and Ray Allen, Dirk has aged very well and both he and Jason Kidd have Finals experience but no title (read: motivation). Toss in 6th man specialist Jason Terry and sprinkle in a little Shawn Marion and Tyson Chandler and you've got a pretty good recipe for contending.
Can they put it all together for a run to the Finals? Only if some other old team doesn't knock them off first.