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Thunder, Grizzlies have two of the youngest playoff rosters in NBA history

BY JOHN ROHDE Staff Writer jrohde@opubco.com Published: April 30, 2011
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Three rounds, six weeks and 12 victories remain before this year's NBA champion is crowned, but the playoff series that starts at high noon Sunday inside Oklahoma City Arena will showcase the league's future.

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies possess two of the youngest playoff rosters in history.

The 1976-77 Portland Trail Blazers had the youngest roster ever to win the NBA crown with a weighted average age of 24.5 years old.

OKC's weighted average is 24.2, which means the Thunder potentially could become the youngest team in NBA history to ever win the title.

Again, this achievement is a long ways away, but either OKC or Memphis is roughly two weeks away from advancing to the Western Conference finals, where it will play the Los Angeles Lakers-Dallas Mavericks winner.

Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins and assistant Johnny Davis comprised the starting backcourt of the champion Blazers, who also started Bill Walton at center, Maurice Lucas at power forward and Bobby Gross at small forward.

There are various ways to determine a team's average age.

Basketball-reference.com uses a "weighted mean" to calculate the average age, where instead of data points contributing equally to the final average, some data points contribute more than others.

In other words, The more minutes or games a player has, the more he influences the team's weighted mean. (B-R.com uses Feb. 1 as its age cutoff date.)

You also could calculate it by a team's starting lineup.

Portland's starters had an average age of 23.2 with Davis (21), Gross (23), Hollins (23), Walton (24) and Lucas (25).

OKC's starters have an average age of 23.4 with Serge Ibaka (21), Kevin Durant (22), Russell Westbrook (22), Kendrick Perkins (26) and Thabo Sefolosha (26). That average will increase to 23.6 when Sefolosha turns 27 on Monday.

If coach Scott Brooks were to replace Sefolosha with James Harden (21) — which won't happen — Thunder starters would have an infantile average age of 22.4.

Memphis starters have an average age of 26.4 with Mike Conley (23), Sam Young (25), Marc Gasol (26), Tony Allen (29) and Zach Randolph (29). That average would be 25.4 if usual starter Rudy Gay (24) were not injured.

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