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Can the upstart Spurs topple the aging Heat?

Jun 3, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

Heat's James and Spurs' Parker follow the play during Game 2 of their NBA Finals basketball playoff in Miami Reuters

Does this old, run-down, over-the-hill team still have what it takes to win a championship?

The question never stops lurking and will play a prominent role in discussion of the 2014 NBA Finals.

Unfortunately, it will usually be applied to the wrong team.

The Miami Heat – not the San Antonio Spurs – are the old team in these Finals.

The Heat have an average age* of 31.0 in the playoffs, second only to the Mavericks (31.3).

The Spurs (29.5) rank fifth in average age.*

*Weighted by minutes played, using a constant of a player’s age on Feb. 1 of that season

This is not a revelation. Merely, it’s a repeat of last year and a continuation of a half-decade trend.

Miami and San Antonio have both made the playoffs each of the last five years. Though the Heat started considerably younger, they’ve aged since signing LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. The Spurs, meanwhile, have fluctuated while trending younger.

Here’s each team’s average age during the playoffs in the last five years – the Heat in red and Spurs in black:


Miami’s three most-prominent players – Wade (32), Bosh (30) and LeBron (29) are collectively much younger than San Antonio’s three most-prominent players – Tim Duncan (38), Manu Ginobili (36) and Tony Parker (32) – and that’s why the narrative is often backward.

But those six alone don’t tell the entire story.

The Spurs have given prominent roles to Kawhi Leonard (22), Danny Green (26) and Patty Mills (25). The Heat, on the other hand, have turned to Ray Allen (38), Chris Andersen (35) and Rashard Lewis (34) to fill out their rotation.

Miami has also continuously depended on its big three as they’ve aged a year each season. San Antonio has deemphasized Duncan, Ginobili and Parker as they’ve aged. When evaluating age by weighing for playing time, that matters a great deal.

The Heat aren’t too old to win a title. The Mavericks were even older when they won in 2011.

But if we’re going to question anyone’s age in these Finals, it should be the fogeys in Miami.

  1. kinggw - Jun 3, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    Thursday needs to hurry up and get here, these Finals stories are getting ridiculous.

  2. miamatt - Jun 3, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    How is a team that has won 50+ games for 15 years in a row, including four championships, an upstart?

    • azarkhan - Jun 3, 2014 at 4:49 PM

      It’s ridiculous but he needed a headline attention grabber.

  3. cantonbound13 - Jun 3, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    Spurs in 6. Heat “fans” leave early. Book it!

    • frankyvito - Jun 3, 2014 at 6:09 PM

      You have 2 options. You chose one. Bravo.

  4. jzone954 - Jun 3, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    Upstart? Miami aging? lol. Ok

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 3, 2014 at 5:11 PM

      yeah, the upstart was a bit much…

      but the aging Heat is spot on… at lease as far as NBA age for playoff teams is concerned…

  5. cantonb0und13 - Jun 3, 2014 at 4:49 PM

    Knicks fans stay relevant by talking about the Heat. Pathetic.

    • jimeejohnson - Jun 3, 2014 at 7:17 PM

      Time to ignore the peabrain loser. It’s easy.

      • cantonb0und13 - Jun 3, 2014 at 8:09 PM

        I was speaking about Knicks fans in general. And yeah I agree.

      • cantonbound13 - Jun 3, 2014 at 8:13 PM

        Ignore me. Good idea when you know you can’t debate me.

      • jimeejohnson - Jun 4, 2014 at 4:41 PM

        HA! You are now well trained CantonPeaBrain! You knew I was talking about you when I said pea brain losers. Perfect. My work is done, here.

  6. seattlesuperchronic - Jun 3, 2014 at 4:49 PM


    He was trying to be funny.

    • miamatt - Jun 3, 2014 at 4:52 PM

      yeah, I guess you’re right… key word “trying”…

  7. void96eater - Jun 3, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    Another non-story before the Finals really begin. *yawn*

  8. antistratfordian - Jun 3, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    Well if you had to pick a group of three who you were confident would produce in crunch time, you’d go with Ray Allen, Chris Andersen and Rashard Lewis. Even Pop would take those three over Leonard, Green and Mills. Youth is great in general, but it probably hurts more than it helps over 7 games in the finals.

    • void96eater - Jun 3, 2014 at 5:58 PM

      The best 3PT shooter in history, a top 10 all time 3PT shooter, and strong rebounding. I would go with that.

      • savvybynature - Jun 3, 2014 at 10:26 PM

        I don’t know. Best 3-point shooter in Finals history who happens to be a good defender also, one of the best perimeter defenders in the game who is also a good rebounder, and a spark plug/energy guy off the bench who can light it up from 3 too sounds pretty good as well.
        6 one hand, half a dozen on the other if you ask me.

  9. jimeejohnson - Jun 3, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    Spurs upstarts? I don’t think so. They are a dignified, highly accomplished franchise with three of the top players in today’s NBA. And I think a team that returns to a championship series or game after losing the previous year has a GREAT chance to win it all the second time around.

  10. kb2408 - Jun 3, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    Spurs in 5 or 6….come on Thursday!!

    • kinggw - Jun 3, 2014 at 9:47 PM

      The Spurs have now been given the kiss of death…a victory prediction by kb2408.

  11. pphins4life12 - Jun 4, 2014 at 6:30 AM

    Exactly lol once that clown predicts it usually goes the opposite way

  12. billtetley53 - Jun 4, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    I also love how his m.o. has changed to making an ignorant post, then running away like his hair is on fire. He knows he will get verbally thrashed by several pisters if he tries to debate. Hes a typical loudmouth, CS. Im sure at one time, tjis was a safe haven for him, his everyday life has to be one beat down after another, then he gets it verbally on here.

    Im positive he has a very punchable face, I wish I could find out in person.

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