5 NBA Veterans Who Have Rejuvenated Their Careers
Every season, a group of veteran players exceed expectations and return to a dominant form experienced earlier in their careers. Whether the cause is an increase in minutes, a new coach, positive attitude or just being healthy, this NBA season has ushered in the next batch of rejuvenated elder statesman.
Last year, Tyson Chandler returned to All-Star caliber form and was a huge factor in the Dallas Mavericks' championship run.
The following list is comprised of players who have breathed new life, much like Chandler did last season, into their respective careers.
Coming into this truncated season, Chauncey Billups was set to dominate on the new-and-improved New York Knicks squad.
However, the Knicks had other plans, as they cut Billups in order to make room to sign Tyson Chandler and fill their massive hole at center.
Due to possessing both rising point guard Toney Douglas and newly drafted Iman Shumpert, the organization did not see Billups and his $14.2 million contract as a necessity.
Billups was obviously hurt by the Knicks amnestying him and warned non-contenders not to claim him off the waiver wires.
The veteran point guard even threatened retirement if taken by a rebuilding franchise.
However, the Clippers took a chance and picked up Billups. Many were confused and wondering if LAC, a team notorious for their losing ways, completely ignored Billups' request.
But just a few days later, the Clippers swung a deal to acquire superstar Chris Paul.
For the first time in franchise history, Los Angeles' second team was looking like a force to be reckoned with.
Despite all the buzz around the organization, many were still questioning how coach Vinny Del Negro was going to utilize Billups.
Well, Del Negro decided to place Billups in the starting lineup as the shooting guard next to Chris Paul.
Despite not playing his natural position, Billups has flourished and revitalized his career. The former University of Colorado star is averaging an efficient 16 points and four assists per game.
The future looks bright for Billups and the Clippers.
Coming into the offseason, many fans were wondering what organization would take a chance on veteran small forward Caron Butler.
After tearing the patella tendon in his right knee last season, many doubted whether the 31-year-old swing-man would ever return to his previous form.
Despite all the doubts, the Los Angeles Clippers signed Butler to a reasonable three-year, $24 million dollar contract and have not looked back.
Butler has become a solid starting forward on the team and has developed great chemistry with his teammates. The former All-Star is showing flashes of brilliance that we haven't seen since his days in a Washington Wizards uniform.
Butler is often assigned to guard the opposing team's best player and has been quite effective shutting down dominant players.
Plus, Butler is averaging almost 15 points per game on a roster with a plethora of scoring options.
Not bad for a player coming off knee surgery.
Both parties were unhappy with the situation, but neither side could find a resolution, as there were no suitors to take Hamilton and his massive contract off the Pistons' hands.
However, the Pistons finally cut ties with the disgruntled star and reached a buyout.
When Hamilton finally reached the open market, the Bulls saw a perfect opportunity to fill their huge hole at the shooting guard position.
Not only does Hamilton possess a knack for knocking down jumpers, but the veteran brings leadership and experience to a young Bulls squad. When the organization reached an agreement with the veteran guard, many believed it was a perfect fit.
So far this season, all indications point to the fact that the pairing is indeed a great match.
Hamilton is averaging a solid 14 points per game alongside Derrick Rose.
What a start to the season for the Indiana Pacers.
Not only do they possess a fantastic 13-6 record, but they have won huge games against dominant teams like the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.
Much of the team's success can be credited to newly acquired star David West.
After tearing the ACL in his left knee last season, the former All-Star signed with the Indiana Pacers to a two-year contract worth $20 million. Despite all the question marks with his health, West has been a dominant force for his new franchise.
Even though West's statistics are considerably down this season, his most valuable contributions are his leadership and experience. On a young team like the Pacers, the two aforementioned qualities are going to be extremely important come playoff time.
The former Xavier star is currently averaging a shade under 12 points and seven rebounds per game after suffering that gruesome injury last regular season.
On a Denver Nuggets roster with a ton of depth at every position, nobody expected Al Harrington to emerge the way he has.
After a dismal 2010-2011 season in which he only saw 22 minutes of action per night, Harrington has raised his game to the next level and has solidified himself as the team's sixth man.
One of the reasons for the increase in level of play is his new-found maturity.
For much of his 13 years in the association, many questioned his shot selection and whether he was a team player. Harrington has finally answered his critics and raised his field-goal percentage to an astonishing 51 percent.
Plus, Harrington is finally helping his squad on the boards and bringing down a little under six rebounds per night.
Harrington may have finally removed his locker-room "cancer" label with his efficient and refined play.