Ranking the 10 Best NBA Players over 30
While the NBA is filled with talented players in their 20s, the league possesses a good number of quality 30-somethings as well.
The San Antonio Spurs employ a trio of great pros 30 and over in Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
Each player has a high basketball IQ and knows what it takes to win. Also, all three are highly respected throughout the league.
Once you reach the age of 30, you’re closer to retirement; however, you’re usually much wiser and a lot more mature.
Here are the league’s top 10 players who are 30 and over.
10. Joe Johnson
Team: Brooklyn Nets
Traded from the Atlanta Hawks to the Brooklyn Nets last offseason, Joe Johnson was supposed to form an incredible backcourt with Deron Williams.
So far, that hasn’t been the case.
Johnson has been a bit of a disappointment in his debut season as a Net. The 6’8” shooting guard is averaging 16.6 points per game, his lowest average since the 2002-03 season. And his 43 percent field-goal percentage is also the worst since ’02-03.
Although Johnson hasn’t played like the six-time All-Star that he was in Atlanta, he has been clutch all season long.
Check out the video above for proof.
9. Dirk Nowitzki
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Team: Dallas Mavericks
Dirk Nowitzki would be much higher on the list if it weren't for a less-than-spectacular season.
The 11-time All-Star and future Hall of Famer is averaging 16.1 points per contest, the worst since his rookie year way back in 1998-99. If this continues, his streak of 12 consecutive seasons of at least 21 points per game will be snapped.
And he’s shooting a very un-Dirk-like 44 percent from the field, also the lowest since his rookie year.
Nowitzki missed the first 27 games of this season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, which is why he hasn’t been himself.
Hopefully he can improve in the near future, as the Mavs need him to land a spot in the postseason.
8. Tyson Chandler
Team: New York Knicks
Dropping in at the No. 8 spot is New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler.
Unlike Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler is known for his defense rather than his scoring. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year has served as a quality big man in NYC, helping Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks stay relevant.
Chandler was named an All-Star this season for the first time in his 12-year career, an honor that he truly deserved. He played a huge role in the Mavericks’ title run two years ago, and it’s possible he could help the Knicks have a successful postseason this year.
7. Kevin Garnett
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Team: Boston Celtics
This is Kevin Garnett’s 18th season in the Association, but he’s still an impact player.
KG’s numbers (14.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game) are very respectable for a guy who’ll turn 37 in two months.
He isn’t the same super-athletic big man who could dunk all over the league and give you 20 and 10 like he did with the Minnesota Timberwolves. However, he remains a terrific defender, and his mid-range jumper is pretty much automatic.
This year could be Garnett’s last chance at championship ring No. 2. It would surely be nice to see him win another title before he hangs up the sneakers for good.
6. Paul Pierce
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Team: Boston Celtics
We go from one Celtics future Hall of Famer to another. Putting together a top NBA 30 and over list just wouldn’t be right without the name Paul Pierce.
Pierce somehow managed to slip to the 10th overall pick in the 1998 NBA draft. The former Kansas star would emerge as a fantastic player for Boston, making the teams that passed him pay.
At age 35, Pierce is still a solid pro and leads the Celtics in scoring once again.
When Rajon Rondo injured his ACL earlier this season, many figured the C’s would fall off the face of the earth.
However, the team has played well thanks in large part to Pierce’s leadership and scoring.
5. Zach Randolph
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Team: Memphis Grizzlies
You have to be proud of Zach Randolph. Earlier in his career, he experienced a great deal of off-the-court problems.
Nowadays, though, he has his head on straight and is known as one of the league’s top big men.
You can’t have a discussion about elite power forwards without tossing in Randolph’s name.
Z-Bo was named an All-Star this year for the second time in his career. He’s the type of player you can dump the ball to inside and expect to get an easy bucket. He’s basically the epitome of a superb low-post scorer.
The Indiana native is a top-notch rebounder as well, currently ranked third in the league in that department.
4. Tim Duncan
Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Team: San Antonio Spurs
Is Tim Duncan really 36 years old? He certainly doesn’t play like it.
Timmy D is averaging 16.9 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game this season. And his impressive defensive rating of 94.2 is tops in the league.
“The Big Fundamental” has never won Defensive Player of the Year during his illustrious career. Maybe this will be the year he finally wins the award.
San Antonio owns the second-best record in the entire NBA this season, and Duncan is one of the main reasons why.
He recently recorded 28 points and 19 rebounds in a win over the Dallas Mavericks. Again, is he really 36?
3. Dwyane Wade
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Team: Miami Heat
D-Wade is an unstoppable scorer who’s capable of dropping 30 points on any given night.
Now that’s high praise.
Wade has been instrumental in the Heat’s insane 21-game winning streak, contributing on both ends of the floor.
He helped Miami win it all last year, and nobody would be surprised if he did that again this year.
2. Tony Parker
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Team: San Antonio Spurs
It’s hard to believe Tony Parker is 30. It seems like only yesterday he was a 19-year-old rookie straight out of France.
There’s a plethora of outstanding point guards in the league, and Parker is clearly one the best at the position.
The five-time All-Star is having an unbelievable season, averaging 21 points and 7.6 assists per contest. He’s shooting a red-hot 53 percent from the field as well as career-high 83 percent from the foul line.
Currently sidelined with an ankle injury, Parker should be back before the start of the playoffs. We’ll see if he can lead the Spurs to their fifth title this June.
1. Kobe Bryant
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Team: Los Angeles Lakers
Were you expecting to see either Kurt Thomas or Derek Fisher? Sorry to disappoint.
Not many would dispute that Kobe Bean Bryant deserves the No. 1 spot. He just might be the best player in the game right now not named LeBron James or Kevin Durant.
Bryant is currently the league’s third-leading scorer, averaging 26.7 points per contest. That’s not bad at all for someone his age. He has been a scoring machine this season, dropping 40 points on seven occasions. He even reached the 30-point mark in 10 consecutive games back in December.
Bryant recently sprained his ankle in a game against the Atlanta Hawks. He was supposed to be out indefinitely, but of course, played in the very next game versus the Indiana Pacers.
Bryant is simply too tough to miss many games and allow his Lakers to miss the postseason.