August 16, 2014

WFNY Stats & Info: Placing Cavs’ youth in historical context

Everyone knows that the 2012-13 version of the Cleveland Cavaliers is quite young. Four recent draft picks (who all are heading to Houston) all are regulars, which means the average age of the team has to be one of the youngest in the NBA.

In fact, that’s true. According to Basketball-Reference.com‘s age statistic, which averages the age of players for a team and factors in minute distribution, the Cavaliers are the youngest team in the NBA right now with an average age of 24.0 years.

But how young really is that in context? Let’s take a look at all 19 teams in the last 20 years to finish with an average age of 24.1 years or younger.

Team Age W L Pct Eff Diff Year
Atlanta Hawks 22.7 26 56 0.317 -5.2 2005-06
Oklahoma City Thunder* 23.2 50 32 0.610 3.7 2009-10
Chicago Bulls 23.2 15 67 0.183 -10.1 2000-01
Memphis Grizzlies 23.3 24 58 0.293 -6 2008-09
Boston Celtics 23.5 24 58 0.293 -3.7 2006-07
Cleveland Cavaliers 23.5 17 65 0.207 -10.2 2002-03
Oklahoma City Thunder* 23.7 55 27 0.671 4 2010-11
Minnesota Timberwolves 23.8 17 65 0.207 -6.9 2010-11
Boston Celtics 23.9 36 46 0.439 -2.8 1997-98
Cleveland Cavaliers 24 13 33 0.283 -5.5 2012-13
Portland Trail Blazers* 24 54 28 0.659 6.1 2008-09
New Orleans Hornets 24.1 15 31 0.326 -4.3 2012-13
Minnesota Timberwolves 24.1 15 67 0.183 -9.9 2009-10
Sacramento Kings 24.1 25 57 0.305 -4.6 2009-10
Memphis Grizzlies 24.1 40 42 0.488 -1.6 2009-10
Portland Trail Blazers 24.1 41 41 0.500 -1.1 2007-08
Atlanta Hawks 24.1 30 52 0.366 -5.3 2006-07
Chicago Bulls* 24.1 41 41 0.500 0.6 2005-06
Denver Nuggets 24.1 17 65 0.207 -9.1 2002-03

 

As you can see, the 2012-13 New Orleans Hornets also make this list, along with the Cavaliers in their last dreadful year before drafting LeBron James.

A notable caveat: Many more teams recently have made this list, as high school and one-and-done jumps to the NBA became more popular.

Then some notable averages: .370 winning percentage and -3.8 efficiency differential (this is the difference between a team’s points scored per 100 possessions and points allowed per 100 possessions).

The Cavs are worse than both those averages, but not that tremendously bad compared to some of the other teams on this list. Yes, there also are examples of really good teams led by the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Overall, it’s just another fun way to compare this year’s Cleveland unit to some other similar franchises in recent history.

[Related: The Diff: Franchise comparisons for the Cavaliers]