If you, like me, are steeling yourselves for Gar’s format (typeface: bullshit) post-season press conference where he says this team is a young one now so you can’t expect much success, I found this article from Nylon Calculus interesting. In it, there’s work done on calculating effective age as it moved over the course of this season.
Before the year, I questioned Gar’s insistence in how young the team was really going to be, as though there were more guys on rookie deals, the ones who were actually going to play were likely going to be the veterans. Using preseason minutes projections, the average weighted effective age was over 28. I also added: “Unless it all goes to hell and the youth movement Gar predicted will be indeed sopping up more minutes. “
The deadline move of swapping out 31 year old Taj Gibson and 25 year old Doug McDermott, plus injuries/benching to old-ass Dwyane Wade, has indeed tilted the Bulls towards a younger team. By a 10-game moving average, the Bulls effective age is now tumbling towards 26 years of age.
So that’s interesting. Though while the youngins the Bulls do have are indeed inexperienced, but not altogether that young. The Phoenix Suns made history recently with the youngest-ever NBA starting lineup, at 21 years and 14 days old. The Bulls don’t have a single player 21 or younger.
And, more subjectively, there’s of course the problem of none of these players being very good. As I said after hearing GarPax’s latest wretched plan, it’s kind of self-indictment that you don’t anticipate having many large contracts on the roster over the next couple years because the guys you have aren’t good enough to pay. There wasn’t a single Bull in the Rising Stars challenge at All-Star weekend. ESPN recently ranked the top 50 players under 25 years of age...and the Bulls won’t have a single guy on it.
There’s always the option this summer that the Bulls try and package assets to get a high-salary player back into their cap space. Like Carmelo Anthony, a very Bullsian move. But what assets do they even have? It’s an interesting exercise to try and rank this collection of young talent GarPax have acquired in terms of actual value around the league. They either young but haven’t shown much (Portis, Payne...and this is being kind to the latter), aren’t that young and stalled in development - no thanks to their coach - (Grant, Valentine), or going to be free agents (Felicio, MCW, Lauvergne). Is Paul Zipser the Bulls best young asset under contract? Holy crap.
Now, either the Bulls use their late-lottery (or make the playoffs, yikes) pick and draft another ‘proven winner’ who is ‘NBA ready’, or they deal Butler and get some leapin’ teens on the roster. But right now the cupboard is pretty bare, despite going in a more youthful direction.