This little ditty is based off a previous post in which XstreamINsanity asked How much does average team age and average team experience mean? I took to the comments to explain what I thought would be a proper way to evaluate this question. I'm bored, so here it is:
I took the top 10 players in minutes played for each team being that this would eliminate bench scrubs that don't really contribute to wins yet could play a big role in the average age of a team. I then averaged the ages and experience of each team. All data was taken from the 2011-12 season, but the data isn't that important. Instead, here's a few fun graphs!
Graph 1: Wins vs Age
Graph 2: Wins vs Experience
What are you looking at you might ask? Those are linear regressions showing the relationship both age and experience have on wins. They both look similar right? That's because age and experience are essentially the same thing. However, a numerical regression shows that age accounts for 21% of team wins whereas experience accounts for only 16.9% of team wins. In either case neither age nor experience is all that significant, but it does tell you something - that age is a slightly bigger factor.
In reality the above graphs would probably be bell curves, but because rosters are constantly being overturned (out with the old, in with the new) it's rare that an NBA team actually reaches the steep decline on the opposite side of the bell curve.
And here's a 3rd fun graph!
Graph 3. Wins vs Age Matrix
What does this graph show? The horizontal line is set to 33, or .500 ball over 66 games. The vertical line is set to 27, the average age of an NBA roster.
Anything interesting? If you look to the right of the vertical line you see 11 dots representing 11 teams in the NBA with rosters above the average age. Of those 11 teams only 3 teams won 33 or fewer games last season. 8 of those 11 teams made the playoffs.
The three dots furthest to the right? Those are the Mavs (oldest), Lakers (2nd), and Celtics (3rd). The Mavs average age last season was 31.3 years old making them by far the oldest team in the NBA.
The three dots furthest to the left? Those are the Wiz (youngest), Sixers (2nd), and Wolves (3rd).
Where are the Pistons? They are the team closest to the average age line sitting with a below average win total. Their average age suggested a team that should have been peaking. Every other team older than them had more wins. The team high above them also close to the average age line is the Chicago Bulls.
Age matters more than experience. It's fun to look at graphs. Age doesn't matter that much, but it's interesting that most old teams aren't bad. Things like productivity, or even altitude (yes, that thing that relates to sea level, not to be confused with attitude), matter more than an NBA team's average age.