Laying the groundwork for their proposal for a new downtown arena -- including a pitch for public financing -- the new owners and executives of the Milwaukee Bucks are touting a new era for pro basketball in the city.
A new arena will allow the Bucks to play a more active role in the community, team president Peter Feigin said Jan. 6, 2015 at a luncheon sponsored by the Rotary Club of Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Press Club.
The Bucks players, he said, will play a crucial role in the efforts to build goodwill.
"In the next few months we’re going to be humanizing our players, getting them out," Feigin said. "We actually have 15 good guys who love being in Milwaukee and want to start doing it."
He added: "They haven’t been out on the marketplace because….they also happen to be younger than the Marquette team. And we have to actually coach them and kind of teach them what it’s like to live alone and be an NBA professional player."
The Bucks certainly are young. The two most recent draft picks were Greek teenager Giannis Antetokounmpo (now 20) and rookie forward Jabari Parker, who left Duke after his freshman season.
But younger than a college team?
Time to dial up the rosters.
The Golden Eagles have a somewhat different lineup from when the season began. Marquette lost two players, Deonte Burton, 20, and John Dawson, 19, who left the team in December 2014 and were replaced by a pair of walk-ons -- twins Michael and Matthew Mache, 21.
The average age of the Golden Eagles at the start of the season was 20.4 years old; it’s now 20.9.
According to NBA.com, at the start of the season the Bucks were the second youngest team in the NBA with an average age of 23.7. The team was second to the Philadelphia 76ers, with an average age of 23.4 years, and just ahead of four teams -- New Orleans, Minnesota, Boston and Orlando -- all tied with an average age of 24.9.
A couple of birthdays pushed the Bucks’ average age to 24 years old at the time of Feigin’s claim.
So, in terms of the average age, Feigin clanked one off the rim.
His broader point, of course, was that the Bucks team is very young.
Some other comparisons with the Marquette team underscore that point. For instance, the Golden Eagles have only one teenager -- 19-year-old Sandy Cohen III, a freshman -- on their 10 man roster. Four are age 21.
The Bucks have two teens -- Parker and Damien Inglis. (Both are out for the season with injuries but remain on the roster.) Antetokounmpo, in his second season, turned 20 in December 2014.
Also, four Bucks players are under the age of 22, which makes them younger than some of the Marquette players. Also eight players -- more than half the team -- are under the age of 24.
The average age of the Bucks is skewed a bit by six players over the age of 26, including the oldest Buck, center Zaza Pachulia, who is 30.
(Feigin’s claim came before news that the team signed free agent forward Kenyon Martin, who is 37, and waive guard Nate Wolters, 23. Those moves push the Bucks’ average age to 24.9.)
In building the case for a new arena, Feigin says his team will become more engaged with the community -- and that the young Bucks were learning about life as professional ballplayers.
The team did start the season as the second youngest of 30 NBA teams. But the claim we are looking at is whether they are younger on average than the Marquette squad. They are not.
We rate the claim False.