Youngest Bucks

For the first time in franchise history, the Bucks will have more teenagers than 30-somethings on the roster.

Also: Three times as many.


You could say that Zaza Pachulia (30) is the youngest oldest Buck in franchise history. (And you would be approximately correct, as there have been a few at 30.) Meanwhile, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damien Inglis, and Jabari Parker will start the season at age 19.

To put this into perspective, the 76ers (even the 76ers) enter the preseason with exactly zero teenagers and a couple of players who are 33 and 34 respectively in Jason Richardson and Keith Bogans. Granted, there is time for this to change before the regular season starts. We are a couple weeks before final rosters are to be set on Oct. 27. The Bucks have their 15 in place already, but the 76ers (who have 20 players under contract, which seems like a lot) might cut Richardson and Bogans and thereby become the youngest team by average age.

But in terms of players under contract right now, the Bucks are the youngest team in the NBA. This is part-trivial and part-important.

Sometimes: Old teams win.

In each of the past two seasons, the Heat and Spurs have both ranked among the seven oldest teams in the NBA. The last time the Bucks counted as a title contender (2000-01), they also ranked as one of the older (28.2), with key contributors such as Sam Cassell (31), Lindsey Hunter (30), Ervin Johnson (33), and Scott Williams (32) in the second halves of their careers.

Sometimes: Young teams win.

Back in Year Two of the Bucks in 1969-70, the team went 56-26 with the youngest squad in the league. The team carried an average age of 24.9, led 22 year-old Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lew Alcindor, at that time). They also had just one player out of his 20s (Guy Rodgers, 34).

And so: Good players win.

Assuming no more roster moves, this Bucks edition is on track to be the second youngest team in franchise history.

The only younger team (1977-78) was led by a 21 year-old Marques Johnson and a 25 year-old Brian Winters. Here is the wild part: That team added 14 wins from the previous year, finished 44-38 and went to the playoffs, and then beat the Suns in the first round. Opponents actually outscored the Bucks overall during the regular season, so it was one of their most fortunate seasons ever according to Pythagorean winning percentage. In any event, the coach and the base of a very, very good team were hatched.

One season earlier, the Bucks had started 3-15 before hiring a new coach by the name of Don Nelson. They won 30 games that season. Four years later, led by a 24 year-old Marques Johnson, they doubled that number with 60 wins. That was part of seven straight division titles under Nelson.

All of these years later, Nelson (who debuted at 36 on the sideline) also happens to remain the youngest Bucks coach in franchise history… a few years younger even than Jason Kidd.

(Thank yous to basketball-reference.com and enhispanosnba.com for the statistical magic. Note: basketball-reference measures average age of rosters as of Feb. 1 each season, so player ages were recalculated to reflect.)