July 10, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; NBA player Grant Hill in attendance during Team USA practice at the UNLV Mendenhall Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

No. 6 in the Countdown to the 2012-13 NBA Season: Age

Most basketball fans began the countdown to the tip-off of the 2012-13 NBA season as soon as the Miami Heat won the 2012 NBA Championship.

Good, you should have.

When it comes to making lists or tacking information with a set number of days–June to October can be a problem. In this case, Fully Clips and I have waited until the season was 10 days away to provide 10 aspects of the game of basketball, story lines or roster management moves the Los Angeles Clippers will showcase in the new season.

The next issue to tackle is one many teams try to stay away from even though cagy veterans have been walking away with NBA Championships more often than not.

No. 6: Age

The 2012-13 Los Angeles Clippers’ team has received many criticisms about the new landscape of the roster even though others are happy Grant Hill, Lamar Odom and Jamal Crawford are Clippers. The reason why–age.

Last season the Clippers were the 10th oldest team, even though starters Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan were 22 and 23-years-old to start the campaign. The additions of the three elder NBA players, will probably put the Clippers higher on the old list and lower on the young list.

Grant Hill is now the oldest person on the team at 40-years-old, while Odom and Crawford are both 32. The Clippers front brass also added Matt Barnes, 32, and Willie Green, 31, to bolster the lineup, but also, to add years to the average age of LA’s roster. Chauncey Billups, 36, and Caron Butler, 32, were two of the oldest players last season and remain in the top four.

Chauncey Billups, 36, is the second oldest Los Angeles Clipper behind Grant Hill. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

To a lot of onlookers, suiting up an older team is a bad idea because youth is supposed to be the ticket to dunking over the competition and of course–winning games.

However, when I think about last season’s team, I think about the lapses the younger guys had in decision making. Eric Bledsoe had a very solid rookie season (2010-11) but only played 11 minutes per game for the 2011-12 campaign because he turned the ball over too much and didn’t know when to take a shot and when not to. I am a fan of Bledoe’s and think he should get more tick this season, especially after his stellar preseason, but I understand why he didn’t last year.

Also, the Clippers got worked in the fundamentals of the game during the season and definitely by the San Antonio Spurs in the semifinals of the playoffs.

The Clippers didn’t have the personal to compete with San Antonio in a seven-game series, but they did have the talent to take a game or two. Instead, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and company walked all over LA in four games–a large factor being that the Spurs did all the little things veterans do to win games.

Actually, when was the last time a young team won the NBA Championship?

The Miami Heat–not old, but not young. The Dallas Mavericks–one of the oldest teams in the league. The Los Angeles Lakers–Andrew Bynum was the only player with regular minutes under 25-years-old. The Spurs are notorious for being old when they won their championships, the Boston Celtics’ “Big Three” were beginning to look their age and the Detroit Pistons had one young player in Tashaun Prince surrounded with guys who had been around for awhile including Rasheed Wallace, Chauncey Billups and Big Ben.

The young guys don’t win. How often do we hear how old Michael Jordan was before he won his first championhip? The same can be said about LeBron James and in due time, probably Kevin Durant. With that said, why are people getting on the Clippers for adding veteran leadership to a team that obviously needed it?

Mo Williams and Randy Foye played very well last season, but they weren’t the answers. They scored points–they didn’t pass, rebound or defend.

I think the Clippers were smart for making the trades they did to bring in veterans who can still play at a high level while guiding the younger guys. In my opinion, I think the elder team has an outside chance to win the NBA Championship while many younger squads with a similar makeup to the 2011-12 Clippers don’t.

The Clippers are going to be a fun team to watch this season and the age factor is one of the main reasons why.

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Tags: Grant Hill Lamar Odom Los Angeles Clippers The Los Angeles Clippers Age

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