The 2021-22 NBA season is almost upon us, but Hot Take SZN is here, and at the end of another eventful offseason we will see how close to the sun we can fly and still stand the swelter of these viewpoints.
Data for the oldest teams in NBA history is somewhat scarce, but the 2012-13 New York Knicks were once dubbed the league’s oldest team ever with an average age approaching 33 years old, and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls’ weighted average age of 32 years old made them the oldest rotation to win a championship.
Given the Los Angeles Lakers entered training camp relying on minutes from Carmelo Anthony (37), LeBron James (36), Trevor Ariza (36), Dwight Howard (35), Rajon Rondo (35), Wayne Ellington (33), DeAndre Jordan (33), Russell Westbrook (32) and Kent Bazemore (32), they could be north of that neighborhood, even if Anthony Davis (28), Kendrick Nunn (26), Malik Monk (23) and Talen Horton-Tucker (20) log major minutes.
So, are these Lakers equivalent to the ’98 Bulls, who won 62 games and a six-game Finals set against a Utah Jazz team that would soon rank as the league’s oldest team in league history by weighted average?
No. James is unlikely to match what Michael Jordan did en route to a sixth ring, and his aged Lakers — still heavy favorites in the Western Conference somehow — will be more pretenders than contenders as a result.
Even if the Lakers do win the West, benefiting from the existing major injuries to stars on their three chief competitors, it is far easier to stare down a 34-year-old Karl Malone than prime Giannis Antetokounmpo or the superstar trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden and (maybe) Kyrie Irving on the other side of the bracket.