Youth (Thunder) vs. Experience (Mavericks) In The NBA Playoffs: Who Wins.

This year’s Western Conference Finals features young vs. old.  The Mavericks’ average age is 31.9; and the Thunder’s is 23.5, an 8.4 year age difference.  This is the biggest difference in recent NBA history(Since 2006), and probably one of the largest of all time. 

So, who has won the “youth vs. experience” battle in recent NBA Playoffs history?   The table above tries to answer the question.  This table shows the playoff series with the top ten age differences between the two teams.  A cursory glance at the table says experience won 7 out of 10 times, but a closer look shows that in 6 of those 7 wins, the older team was also the higher seed.  The only win that might be solely attributed to experience over youth was the 2007 series between Phoenix and San Antonio; the Spurs were almost five years older the Suns and won that series as the lower seed.  The recent history says that since the Mavs are older and the higher seed, they should win this series, and I agree.

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8 Responses to Youth (Thunder) vs. Experience (Mavericks) In The NBA Playoffs: Who Wins.

  1. I'm axious to find out what the age differences are between Grizzlies and Thunder. They both seem pretty young. Also wondering about the Heat vs Celtics Stats. Nice post!Louisville Hoopfest

  2. DRP says:

    Thanks for commenting. The Grizz are 27 years old on average and the Thunder are 23, a 4 year difference. They just missed the top ten.The Celtics average 30.5 and the Heat 27.2

  3. Sports Chump says:

    I am totally digging your site. Consider me a new subscriber.Let me know if you'd like to exchange

  4. DRP says:

    Sure, you're site isn't too shabby either; you're getting a spot on my blogroll.

  5. Crow says:

    Good to look at a theory and another. Often there is more than one variable worth noting. Probably often more than 2 as well, though importance may fall off variably.

  6. DRP says:

    You're right about there being other variables, but I try to convey an idea or theory as simply as practical so the average fan can understand.

  7. Sam Feinberg says:

    Got this link in the comments section from It was a good idea but I think you're actually making this more complicated than it has to be. Your older/younger history doesn't really have enough match-ups to be considered a fair sample set, and the higher seeds usually beat the lower seeds. The best teams are the ones with the best players.

  8. Deron says:

    Thanks for stopping by. Although I didn't convey it clearly in my article, the point was to look at the extreme examples of age difference between two teams. You're absolutely right that this sample size is no where near large enough to form a scientific conclusion, but the article was really just highlighting the historic nature of the age difference between the Knicks and Celtics and subsequently the Thunder and Mavs. However, I still think extreme differences in age between two teams would have some bearing on the series result, but we haven't seen enough higher- seeded extremely young teams playing lower-seeded extremely old teams assert a definite conclusion.

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