Saturday’s 107-101 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers was another in a long string of disappointments for the Dallas Mavericks this season. The team simply isn’t where it wants to be and you can hear it in the players’ voices after games. This is especially true of Dirk Nowitzki. After the loss to the Lakers, he spoke to the media about the team’s struggles.
“It’s just not consistent enough,” Nowitzki said. “A young team trying to find its way, trying to get better. There will be some ups and downs and unfortunately the downs are tough when they happen at home—so many home losses now.”
He went on to lament how the team isn’t able to close out games. It’s all true. Well, except for one thing. Nowitzki said the Mavericks are a young team. He’s not the only one in the locker room to refer to the team as young this season. It has become a common refrain. The problem is it’s not true.
Dallas sports one of the oldest rosters in the NBA. Their average age is 28.2, according to RealGM. Only five teams—Cleveland, Golden State, Houston, San Antonio, and New Orleans—have older rosters. Each of these teams is currently in the playoff picture. For the Mavs to have any hope of even sniffing the eighth seed in the West, something dramatic has to happen to change their trajectory. Don’t hold your breath.
While there are some younger players on the team like Dennis Smith Jr. and Nerlens Noel (lol), the majority of the roster is composed of players who are 26 and older. In fact, the majority of the best players on the team are over 30. Nowitzki is 39, Wesley Matthews is 31, J.J. Barea is 33, and Devin Harris is 34.
To be fair to Nowitzki, this is one of the youngest teams he has played on since the championship season. In the previous seven seasons, the average age of the Mavericks was 29. Last season, however, the team was the youngest it has been in years with an average age of 27.3. By that mark, this year’s team is ancient.
Just because players like Harrison Barnes, Smith, and Yogi Ferrell are 25 and under doesn’t mean the Mavericks are young. While they’re technically younger than many of the teams Nowitzki played for during his career, the difference is negligible. Dallas is an old team, let’s stop saying otherwise and acknowledge it.