We all know the jokes. The Celtics are so old, they put Geritol in the Gatorade buckets. They’re so old, medicare covers half the team’s payroll. They’re so old, Dick Bavetta asks to referee their games so they can feel young again.
When the Celtics got the commitment from Jason Terry, the joke machine went into over-drive. Terry is about to be 35. So is Paul Pierce. Kevin Garnett is 36. They are key contributors to the Celtics.
But from there, there is a significant drop off. The next oldest guy on the roster after those three players is Brandon Bass (27).
Taking into account the 12 players currently on, or expected to be on, the Celtics roster (Bradley, Rondo, Pierce, Garnett, Bass, Terry, Green, Johnson, Moore, Melo, Sullinger, Joseph), the average age of the Boston Celtics is…
… 26.3 years old.
To put that into perspective, 10 teams in the NBA last season were younger than that. The young Sixers team that the Celtics beat? They’re basically the same age as this current Celtics roster (26.34).
The Celtics aren’t done adding to the roster. There are three spots left that could change the average age, so this could change. And it will increase when you weight the team’s age for minutes played as Terry, Garnett, and Pierce will get plenty of time on the floor.
This post isn’t meant to pass off the Celtics as a purely fledgling young team that is learning the ropes, but it’s also pretty obvious that a lot of older guys have been replaced by a lot of younger guys. The Celtics are slowly getting away from the perception that they are the grandfathers of the NBA, rolling up to games in their Rascals and whose idea of Early Bird is less cap terminology and more 4 pm dinner at the Sizzler. And they’re doing it while remaining in contention.
Yes, they will rely heavily on the elder statesmen of the team to be big performers. But they have also built a team that has no choice but to get contributions from its younger players. Because there are many more of them, then there are guys contemplating retirement.