The NBA season is a marathon. Add a postseason that lasts months, and it's an ultramarathon.
The length of the campaign alone can make things difficult on an older roster. The intensity of games (particularly postseason games), can essentially knock those rosters out of the chase for a title.
Of course, experience is generally a prerequisite to winning it all, too. This is one of those delicate balances that have to be struck in team-building.
For a handful of contenders or borderline contenders, there's a chance the balance could get thrown off.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers made a bunch of additions this offseason that seemed to be motivated, at least in part, by a desire to get younger.
Lonnie Walker IV, Troy Brown Jr. and Thomas Bryant are all 25 or younger.
Their signings were a far cry from 2021, when L.A. picked up Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza, Kent Bazemore, Wayne Ellington, Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan and Rajon Rondo.
The Lakers' best and most important player, though, is LeBron James. He turns 38 in December, and he's averaged 55.8 appearances per season since he joined the team.
And during that stretch, L.A. is plus-4.4 points per 100 possessions when he's on the floor and minus-3.2 when he's off. A significant absence in 2022-23 could cost the Lakers a playoff entry.
Beyond LeBron, 29-year-old Anthony Davis is theoretically in the middle of his prime, but he hasn't exactly been a beacon of health throughout his career (he's only averaged 46 appearances per year in L.A.). Expecting that trend to reverse as he approaches 30 goes beyond wishful thinking.
And if Russell Westbrook, who turns 34 in November, remains on the roster, there's one more player who once relied heavily on his athleticism and has lost a step.
Los Angeles Clippers
If the Los Angeles Clippers can stay healthy, they'll almost certainly compete for a championship.
But NBA basketball puts a different kind of mileage on the human body than most jobs, and L.A.'s two best players, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, both have significant injury histories. And durability typically gets more precarious after you pass 30.
Kawhi is 31 and missed all of 2021-22 with a torn ACL. PG is 32 and only managed 31 games last season.
And it's not like the rest of the roster is loaded with spring chickens.
Marcus Morris, Nicolas Batum, Reggie Jackson, John Wall and Robert Covington, all of whom figure to be in the rotation, are over 30 years old.