With Shaq officially announcing his retirement, it brings to mind some other NBA players who need to be put out to pasture. Sometimes it's just time to go. This list is based on performance from the past 2010-2011 season and has a good mix of well-known players, Hall-of-Famers and some bench scrubs. Anyone I missed?
Could it be time for Tim to make an exit?
Simply, Telfair has not evolved as an NBA player, even after being much hyped coming out of high school. After being on five teams thus far, Telfair, still only 25 may be the first NBA player to actually play for all teams in the league. Telfair's jump shot is weak, his shot selection is terrible, he can't finish at the rim and he is about to be replaced by Ricky Rubio. Not a good sign for a guy who averages more splinters on his backside than he does points.
If there were no Indiana Pacers, would Jeff Foster still be playing in the NBA? The answer is no. Watching this guy play is like watching a wounded buck in the middle of the forest. Not only that, after this years' playoff thuggery against the Chicago Bulls. You have to wonder whether Foster at 34 is now a one trick pony. Sure, he's one of the games best offensive rebounders, but when you consider that the Pacers front line is as formidable as balsa wood, you have to wonder how much of his play is due to the fact that he is merely in the right place at the right time.
Heralded as the next Shaq by people who drink out of brown paper bags, Kwame Brown can safely be called the "No Shaq". Reportedly, upon being drafted in 2001, he told Doug Collins then coach of the Washington Wizards, "If you draft me, you'll never regret it". Collins left the Wizards three years later. Brown is an absolute waste of a contract, he has no court sense, can't shoot from the floor or free throw line, and it would be easier to start a fire under a polar bear's furry butt on a glacier in the Arctic Circle than it would be to fire up Kwame.
Dampier could be the worst center in the NBA, but surprisingly he keeps finding himself on winning teams, most recently with the Dallas Mavericks and now with the Miami Heat. Is someone seeing something I'm not? A marginal offensive player with poor hands, bad court vision, no drive, lead feet, and little basketball IQ? When he's done with the Heat, he'll be done with his career.
Okur's actually not a bad player, but he is coming off of an achilles tendon injury. His numbers have been in consistent free fall since his career year in Utah in the 2005-2006 season. Achilles tendon injuries for big men like Okur are not easy to come back from. That being said, if you like soft, jump shooting centers who play defense as if they are a matador with a bull chasing after them, he may be able to stay around for your club for a few more years.
Besides being known at LeBron's pet center, Ilgauskas is now 35, shoots set shots, is 7' 3", can't play defense on any center in the league, can't post up and can't take the ball inside. Why does Cleveland miss the clumsiest big man in the league since Shawn Bradley? The Big Z is in the perfect city for retirement and if the Heat cash out, you can expect him to ride off into the sunset.
Thomas is the oldest active NBA player now that Shaq has retired. Now he's good for five fouls a game. If Kurt were to foul players every time they flew in for a dunk past their own defender he'd foul out in two minutes. Kurt is the recipient of NBA welfare. He comes to your team, gives a solid performance or two and you end up losing in the playoffs.
Ratliff, once a pretty good center and shot blocker, has a left knee made of glass and who's last name should be Theo "expected be sidelined from four to six weeks". After 15 years in the league, its time to hang it up. Declining minutes, a huge expiring contract and 38 years of age makes for the end of a better than average career.
Redd in 2009 tore his ACL and MCL in his left knee and re-tore the same two ligaments in his knee in 2010. This past year, he played ten games. Redd is a shell of what he was, now regulated to an over-paid jump-shooter. Redd, the class act that he is should do the right thing, and stop stealing money for a team that has a chance to compete for the playoffs next year with the right pieces.
Fisher is a warrior, but all warriors have to hang it up eventually. He reminds me of an old family dog: can't bark, doesn't move, has no sense of smell, and doesn't recognize anyone. You could justify Fisher's presence as he was money in the playoffs, but the Lakers need to make changes, and Fisher is 37 years old.
McGrady's scoring career scoring average was well over 21 points per game, but this past season saw him averaging 8 points 3 rebounds and 3 assists per game with the Pistons. Now as an unrestricted free agent, his explosion is gone, his durability is suspect and he's a fading star at 32 years old. These questions and back problems also add to the list of questions about his relevance in the NBA.
Oden is a walking piece of peanut brittle. A player with huge promise, Oden is more of a tease than anything else. In four years, Oden has had three season-ending knee surgeries and is doubtful for the beginning of the 2011-2012 season. Yeah, Grant Hill has made it back to salvage an NBA career, but Oden is a center, 22 albeit, but playing a pretty demanding position with two bad knees.
Ming has been injury-plagued since he arrived in the league and has shown flashes of brilliance. But he has the durability of cotton candy. He's mentioned himself that the various foot and ankle injuries that he's had will limit his effectiveness and his best days may be behind him. He sounds like a man with one more comeback left.
A former perinnial All-Star, O'Neal wasn't even the best O'Neal on the team this year. When you consider his two bad knees and a bad left wrist, you can see why he can't rebound and score anymore. O'Neal has fallen completely off of the map, and he is nothing more than a waste of space at this point.
As crazy as this sounds, consider the following: Timmy is coming off the worst year of his career—averaging just 13.5 points and 8.9 rebounds—the first time in his career he's been under 17 points and 10 rebounds per game. The "Big Fundamental", has slowed down a notch and should consider retiring while we still remember his greatness. Also, Spurs fans can be spared the agony that Celtics fans went through when watching Larry Bird run out the string at the end of his career.