This year, the NBA finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs feels like déjà vu. It’s probably because it is — the same two teams met up at this time a year ago. As we know, the Heat took home the championship — albeit in thrilling fashion — and everybody was questioning the Spurs’ future. Would Tim Duncan come back another year? Would Manu Ginobili do the same? Well, those questions have been answered; the answer was yes.
And not only did the aging San Antonio roster all return, but they have put together a dominant playoff showing thus far. Duncan is playing like he’s 25 years old again, and head coach Greg Popovich is the magician you want leading your troops into battle. Now there a lot of story lines out there concerning this rivalry — just read any NBA-focused article. There’s a good reason for the hype: a hype built around two of the most dominant “Big Threes” in the history of the NBA. But there’s also some lesser-discussed common knowledge about this series and rivalry. Here are five things you probably did not know about this matchup.
1. The average age of Heat is older than that of the Spurs
There’s a perception that San Antonio is older team. Sure, Duncan has been playing in the league since 1997 and Ginobili and Parker are no spring chickens either. But when you look closer, the Spurs are younger as a whole — though not much. San Antonio’s total average age is 28.6 years old. Miami has an average of 30. 3. That’s almost two full years older. If you look at the Heat’s roster, you’ll notice more than a few wily veterans — take Ray Allen for example. But it’s guys like Shane Battier and Chris Anderson (both 35) that show Miami’s lack of youth.
Here’s an even crazier statistic: The Heat’s youngest player checks in at 24 years old. Considering we’re in the one-and-done era, that’s impressive (or unimpressive depending on how you view it). Some NBA teams have 20-year-old, straight-out-of-college stars playing 35 minutes a night. So yes, the Spurs have some bigger names who are on the older side. But as a whole, San Antonio is just as young as Miami (even younger, as the numbers don’t lie).