Athleticism, speed and jumping ability are three aspects that will diminish as every player grows older. So why is it that so many older, veteran players are still putting up the same numbers as they were when they were in their primes?
Footwork is probably the biggest contributing factor to why those players last so long in the NBA. Unlike the Amar'e Stoudemires and Vince Carters of this world, these 10 players have expanded their game beyond raw talent and athleticism.
This slideshow will feature the top ten players in the league who possess the best footwork skills in the NBA.
Zach Randolph is probably the least athletic player with the lowest vertical in the league. However, his bull-like body and exceptional footwork have kept him in the league for over a decade.
He's a round, stocky power forward who has been scoring by outwitting his opponent and rebounding by positioning himself in the right spots on the floor. Randolph doesn't have remarkable quickness, but his smooth footwork combined with his soft hands helped establish him as one of the best power forwards in the business.
Two years ago, he single-handedly dismantled a veteran San Antonio Spurs and one of the best post defenders of our generation—Tim Duncan. Randolph wasn't born with spectacular athleticism, but his footwork and intelligence have made him the player he is today.
Speaking of top power forwards, LaMarcus Aldridge is probably the most complete power forward in the league today.
He can face-up, shoot a jumper, do a fadeaway or take it to the rim. Aldridge's footwork and spacing between him and his defender is what makes him such a potent scorer.
His movements with his feet are quicker, smoother than Randolph's, but sometimes he doesn't take his opponents down into the post frequently enough, even though he has a pretty off-the-defender spin move.
According to Synergy Sports, Aldridge has been scoring nearly 15 percent of his points from spot ups. Although he's a decent mid-range shooter, he has fallen in love with shooting jump shots too much for his own taste.
Even after 14 years in the league, Paul Pierce has still got it.
He's slow, methodical and has one of the most lethargic releases on his jumper we have ever seen. Yet, he still beats his defender time and time again.
Pierce is deceptively quick and has made a living off of step-back jumpers. He has a knack for positioning his feet and body in order to create enough space to get off a good shot.
Even in his prime, he was never an athletic specimen who could leap over a building, so it just exemplifies how important footwork is to Pierce's longevity in the league.
Carmelo Anthony doesn't have the most fancy footwork, but he's effective at what he does.
Most of his moves in the post are predictable, but that doesn't mean he can be stopped.
He's one of those guys that won't surprise anyone with a quick spin or up-and-under, because they know he is going to score when he gets that close to the basket.
Although Anthony is a proficient shooter, his dominant pivot moves in the post is the reason why he has the most versatile offensive skill set in the league.
Like Aldridge, Anthony can face-up bigger defenders, or take a smaller defender in the post with quick turns and spins to the rim.
The Big Fundamental is still working younger opponents with his post moves and patented bank shot.
Although Tim Duncan doesn't have the quickness that he had during the San Antonio Spurs' championship years, he can still use his wits and craftiness to score against athletic defenders once in a while.
Duncan is having a resurgent 2012-2013 season, registering his best stat line in three years with 17.5 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 2.8 APG and 2.7 BPG.
The fundamentally sound power forward has incredible footwork on both ends of the floor, while positioning his body to consistently fend off faster opponents.
Although Kevin Garnett is more known for his great interior defense at this stage of his career, he still possesses some of the best footwork of any big man in the league.
At 36 years old, Garnett's post moves have usually been limited to a fadeaway jumper after spinning off his opponent. In recent years, however, Garnett has shown he's still capable of performing a magnificent display of footwork.
I wanted to put Garnett higher up on this list because I know he still has it in him, but he just hasn't had the opportunity. The Boston Celtics need him to do so many other things while he's on the floor, like screening for the ball handler and fighting around the basket for rebounds.
Luis Scola wields a fancy array of different post moves and spins in the low post, and he's incredibly entertaining to watch.
There's just something about Scola's game that seems so smooth and effortless. He makes every spin move, every pump fake at precisely the right time.
It's too bad that he hasn't had a bigger role with the Phoenix Suns, as the team prefers to run the offense through Goran Dragic on the perimeter, instead of Scola in the post.
The gentle giant Marc Gasol possesses the silkiest, smoothest footwork skills in the low block out of all other centers in the NBA.
Along with his soft shooting touch and fancy passes, Gasol conducts an artistic masterpiece every time he touches the ball in the post.
His arsenal of spins, running baby hooks and quick pivot moves combined with his big body is a luxury for any avid basketball fan to be able to witness.
Furthermore, Gasol is probably the most complete center in the game right now, so he would be the perfect guy for any aspiring center to watch.
Let's take a moment to put defense and versatility aside, then take a look at Al Jefferson's footwork.
He has, arguably, the most polished post game out of every big man in the league. Jefferson isn't as flashy as Luis Scola or Marc Gasol, but he's effective, especially given he's only 6'10".
Year after year, it seems like Jefferson has always been snubbed from the All-Star game, even when putting up spectacular double-doubles. Maybe it's partly due to his lack of effort on defense, but nobody can deny his offensive prowess.
Jefferson, like Zach Randolph, wasn't born with exceptional athleticism or quickness. He shrewdly maneuvers around defenders with a plethora of shot fakes, spin moves, jump hooks and up-and-unders that it seems like it's too easy for him.
Simply speaking, it's a beauty watching Jefferson operate in the paint.
Sometimes you just have to give credit where credit is due.
Kobe Bryant is a good shooter, an adequate athlete and moderately quick. However, his skill in manipulating his opponents with his brilliant footwork is what sets him apart from every other shooting guard in the league.
I'll be honest—watching a guard perform fadeaways off of turns, pivot moves and up-and-unders is much more exciting than watching a big man do it. It's kind of similar to how a 6'6" guard dunking from the free throw line simply looks cooler than when a seven-footer does it.
However, that shouldn't take anything away from Bryant, as he still retains the best footwork out of any player in the league.
If there's anybody in the NBA who can create his own shot without taking a single dribble, it's Bryant.