Illustrating the Detroit Pistons’ playing time youth movement

If you’ve been watching the Pistons lately, you’ve surely noticed young players – especially Greg Monroe and Austin Daye – have been getting bigger roles. For years, many have questioned the Pistons’ inability to develop young players, but Detroit appears to be making substantial changes in that department lately.

Hoopism first displayed a graphic with every team’s average age per minute played, and the Pistons ranked among the league’s oldest. But that graph doesn’t show Detroit’s average age per minute played has trended downward during the season.

A few explanatory notes:

  • Will Bynum didn’t turn 28 until Jan. 4, but I counted his age as 28 all season. For all other players, I used their current age.
  • The solid red line represents the Pistons’ season average (27.69).
  • The dotted red line represents a linear regression.
  • The blue line represents the Pistons’ average age per minute played in each game.

Sheet 1
Sheet 1

That’s a statistically significant decline.

Some of the downturn can be tied to Ben Wallace’s injury, but the drop began before that. When he returns, Detroit’s average age per minute played will surely go up, but we’ll see how much. Monroe, the team’s youngest player, has earned playing time.

To add context, I added a few red reference lines:

  • NBA average (26.77)
  • Dallas Mavericks (31.09) – the league’s oldest team per minute played
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (23.59) – the league’s youngest team per minute played
  • Milwaukee Bucks (26.68) – the team directly above the Pistons in the standings
  • Toronto Raptors (24.97) – the team directly below the Pistons in the standings
  • Phoenix Suns (29.59) – the league’s oldest team per minute played with a losing record

Sheet 2
Sheet 2

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Tags: Austin Daye Ben Gordon Ben Wallace Greg Monroe Richard Hamilton Rodney Stuckey Tracy McGrady

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