How salary and age are reflected in NBA standings

The Vertical Front-Office Insider Bobby Marks, a former 20-year executive with the Nets, analyzes the standings based on team salaries and average age.

Eastern Conference
Team                 Record        Salary           Average age*
1. Cleveland          13-2      $129.3M (1)        30.0 (28)
2. Toronto             12-6      $106.7M (9)         25.3 (5)
3. Chicago             10-7       $97.1M (18)         27.3 (19)
4. Charlotte          10-8      $99.7M (13)        26.7 (16)
5. Boston              10-8      $95.8M (20)        25.6 (9)
6. Atlanta              10-9      $98.3M (17)        28.2 (25)
7. Detroit               10-10     $107.9M (7)         26.1 (13)
8. New York           9-9       $102.6M (11)        27.4 (20)
9. Milwaukee         8-8       $98.5M (16)        25.8 (12)
10. Indiana            9-10      $90.0M (23)        27.5 (21)
11. Orlando            7-11      $106.8M (8)         25.4 (6)
12. Washington     6-11     $103.3M (10)        26.1 (14)
13. Miami               6-12     $101.5M (12)        25.7 (11)
14. Brooklyn          5-12      $76.1M (29)         26.9 (18)
15. Philadelphia    4-14     $78.4M (28)         24.9 (3)

The defending champs

The team with the top salary in the NBA has justified the cost with the top record in the East.

Cleveland, with a $129.3 million payroll, also ranks 28th in average age (30.0) among players who average at least 13 minutes per game.

Despite the average age, LeBron James (31) has shown no signs of decline, and Kevin Love (28), Kyrie Irving (24), Tristan Thompson (25) are still in their primes.

Built to win now with youth and veterans

The Toronto Raptors, one of the Cavs’ chief rivals in the East, have one of the youngest teams in the NBA but with the sixth-highest payroll.

Toronto has six players – Cory Joseph, Terrence Ross, Pascal Siakam, Lucas Nogueira, Jakob Poeltl and Norman Powell – under 25 who either start or are part of the rotation.

The Raptors have only two players who are 30: Kyle Lowry and DeMarre Carroll.

Expensive and outside the playoff race

Orlando and Washington, a combined 13-22, aren’t showing much with salaries that total $210 million.

After shifting from building through the draft with the Serge Ibaka trade, Orlando still ranks as the sixth-youngest team in the NBA and is coming off an impressive win Tuesday at San Antonio.

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