Playoff Wizards are younger than people think


(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

As the Wizards gradually shifted their roster this season — adding AARP members Al Harrington, Drew Gooden and Andre Miller, while shipping out Jan Vesely and rarely playing Otto Porter — there started to be some confusion about whether this should still be considered a “young” team.

Sure, they were inexperienced in the playoffs, as Ted Leonsis again noted on Monday:

About playoff experience, if you look at the stats, the Wizards were ranked 14th out of 30 teams in terms of  total roster playoff games in terms of experience. Chicago is ranked 9th, the team with the least playoff man games of experience in the playoffs is Portland, who won last night as well.

But are they young? I figured it was worth a quick check, so I calculated the average age (weighted by minutes played) of every NBA playoff team through one postseason contest. To repeat, this only takes into account the minutes distributions over the past two days. It doesn’t account for injuries, or foul trouble. The ages are as of Feb. 1, which is what Basketball Reference provides. And there are slight rounding issues; every team that played four quarters isn’t credited with exactly 240 minutes.

Still, in rough terms at least, here are the 16 playoff teams, from youngest to oldest:

Houston Rockets: 25.4

Toronto Raptors: 25.4

Charlotte Bobcats: 25.9

Portland Trail Blazers: 26.1

Golden State Warriors: 26.6

Washington Wizards: 26.9

Indiana Pacers: 26.9

Oklahoma City Thunder: 27.2

L.A. Clippers: 28.2

Chicago Bulls: 28.3

Atlanta Hawks: 28.4

Memphis Grizzlies: 29.5

San Antonio Spurs: 30.1

Brooklyn Nets: 30.7

Miami Heat: 30.8

Dallas Mavericks: 31.3

So that makes the Wizards essentially tied with Indiana for the fifth sixth-youngest playoff rotation, through one game. Why so low, despite appearances? Gooden, Harrington and Miller logged just 19 combined minutes, while the youngest rotation players — John Wall and Bradley Beal — combined for 77 on Sunday night. That makes for a pretty young distribution of minutes.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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