↓ Login/Logout ↓
↓ Roster ↓
↓ Archives ↓
↓ About ↓

Pistons could become 2014′s youngest playoff team

Me at the Detroit Free Press:

the Pistons are on pace to hold an annual distinction: the youngest playoff team.

If the season ended right now, the Pistons would hold the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. Their average age, weighted by playing time, is 24.7, third-youngest in the NBA. (The 76ers and Pelicans are not on pace to make the playoffs.)

So how much does being the youngest playoff team matter?

Since the NBA expanded to 25 teams in the 1989 season, a composite view of the youngest playoff team each year yields a more accurate expectation. (If you want to explore further, all 25 such teams are listed below.)

Here’s the average result for…

  • One season after being the youngest playoff team: lose first round
  • Two seasons after being the youngest playoff team: lose first round
  • Three seasons after being the youngest playoff team: lose first round
  • Four seasons after being the youngest playoff team: lose first round
  • Five seasons after being the youngest playoff team: lose first round

Yeah, this is not a surefire route to becoming a good team, but the potential exists.

Let’s look at it a different way. In the year each team was the youngest to make the playoffs and the five years after, their peak result was:

  • Championship: 1
  • Lose NBA Finals: 4
  • Lose conference finals: 8
  • Lose second round: 6
  • Lose first round: 6

There’s a belief in some circles that a playoff appearance, no matter how it goes, will prep a young and talented team such as Detroit for inevitable success. I don’t think it works that way, but how close it comes to the truth will be pivotal for this team.

The Pistons owe the Charlotte Bobcats a first-round pick, drastically limiting their ability to upgrade through the draft. Detroit could have about $10 million in salary cap roomthis summer, even while keeping Greg Monroe, but I doubt they use all that on a long-term contract, so as to leave room for Andre Drummond’s inevitable extension.

That means the Pistons are banking on internal improvement. As potentially the youngest playoff team, they seem well-positioned to get those upgrades from within, but history shows it’s no guarantee.

Here’s the average age of every playoff team since 1989, using the current standings to project the 2014 playoffs:


  • Dec 20, 201312:56 pm


    Dan was gonna mention this in a comment earlier this week…is we took Billups off we’d be even younger….however, Josh Smith has a lot of experience, and Stuckey been around for awhile..and this would be Jennings third year in the play-off so hopefully it all comes together

  • Dec 20, 20131:46 pm
    by Otis


    Age ain’t nothing but a number. If the pieces don’t fit it doesn’t matter how young your team is or how long they have to grow together. I’d like to see what that five-year progress chart looks like if you remove OKC, whose foundation was built on four top-five picks, who happened to play complementary positions. Can we really compare what’s going on in the East right now to playoff history? This is FAR less indicative of real basketball than the lockout-shortened season, and that season was loaded with asterisks.

  • Dec 20, 20131:55 pm
    by apa8ren9


    The playoff dont prep for inevitable success and a loss in the first round is likely but what it does let you know about your team is who the ballers and who will get it done for you?  Remember when the pistons played the Raptors to that 15-9 first quarter after not being in the playoffs for awhile (2002 I believe).   That series let you know that Stackhouse couldnt get it done and he was traded.  
    The series (2003 I believe) when the Pistons made it to the conference finals and Uncle Cliffy couldnt grab a rebound against the Nets and they got swept.  Playoff series let you know who you can count on and who you cant.   Rather or not you can trust Dumars to make the proper adjustments is a separate matter, but its always better to get there than not if you are really trying to win.  Its not easy, its not guaranteed, its sports.

    • Dec 20, 20132:13 pm
      by Tim Thielke


      Good thing we had the 2009 playoffs to let the Pistons know they could count on Ben Gordon to “get it done”.

      • Dec 20, 20137:15 pm
        by T Casey


        Obviously apa8ren9′s theory is pretty flawed, but Ben Gordon is a bad example to the contrary. His 09 playoff performance wasn’t very impressive at all. He shot the 3 well, but, other than that, he was underwhelming in every way. Unfortunately Joe D seems to ignore a lot of the negative and highlight the positive a bit too much when evaluating talent.

  • Dec 20, 20132:04 pm
    by Javell


    I hope we do! I expect us going to the secound round and exploding 

  • Dec 20, 20132:47 pm
    by Tyrell


    somewhat unrelated, but I feel like the east west disparity is a bit overblown. I feel like people just blatantly ignore the major overhaul several of the eastern Conf teams whereas the western Conf teams have been relatively stable for the most part. I feel like there will be a change in the narrative once we get closer to the to 60 game mark

    • Dec 20, 20133:27 pm
      by Tim Thielke


      It’s hard to overblow. This is pretty much the most disparate the conferences have ever been.

    • Dec 20, 20133:50 pm
      by Corey


      This would be hard to quantify, but I theorize the East’s weakness this year is related to two phenomena:
      1 – The Heat’s dominance. Lots of teams in the East have decided that they can’t compete in the short term, and are aiming at being good in a couple years when the Heat’s run may be over.
      2 – The supposedly stellar draft class this year.
      The two together create a perfect storm of teams aiming for lottery placement, not wins.  Of course, most of an  eastern conference team’s games are against other eastern teams, so the east-west disparity primarily shows up in the inter-conference record.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your Ad Here