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In defense of young legs

I realize this horse I'm beating has long since moved to the great pasture in the sky, but here's another take from Henry Abbott of TrueHoop:

Studies have shown that, in general, if you want to win now, you play veterans. They know the game best, they play the right way, they have the respect of the referees, and by and large they commit fewer errors. What's more, they are brand names, institutions you can trust. [...]

Veterans are where it's at in this game. There's a reason these older players are the ones playing now, at this time of year, when a lot of the younger teams have gone on vacation for the year.

I cherish basketball savvy. I respect experience. I salute the willingness to drag an injured body around the court.

But in the end, it's a game about running and jumping and diving on the floor for loose balls. And for that stuff, there's nothing like being young, uninjured, and untired.

He follows with several examples from around the league, but it's more or less a build up to a discussion of the Sixers-Pistons series, and how the plus/minus leaders in the fourth quarter for both teams over the course of the season consists almost entirely of young players. I'd like to add this caveat: the Zoo Crew played a ton in the fourth this year, including dozens of games in which the starters didn't play a lick, so Detroit's rankings don't necessarily mean anything except that Detroit's youngsters have consistently built leads and not lost them.

In other words, these guys can be trusted.

Both sides of this debate have gone in circles in the comments this week (I'm actually surprised that sticking with what worked in the regular season is suddenly controversial), but the fact that Henry, an otherwise impartial observer, has noticed and weighed in encourages me that this is actually a worthwhile debate and not (just) the by-product of two long days for frustrated fans to dissect a loss. We'll see tonight if we'll have something different to talk about the rest of the week.