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The Best Oldest of the Old Players in the NBA

Eric JohnsonCorrespondent IIIOctober 24, 2011

The Best Oldest of the Old Players in the NBA

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    Age 35: the age where most players are out of their primes and retirement seems way more realistic. That being said, have you ever wondered what a 12-man roster filled with older veterans may look like?

    If so, this is a list for you.

    This is a list with numerous NBA MVP's, champions and leaders that still have the ability to do big things on their own, so just imagine what this team could do together.

    The major downfall for this team is the lack of true shooting guards and small forwards, but there are plenty of players who can play multiple positions.

    This team contains many great shooters, defenders and multiple Hall of Fame players that realistically don't have many more years to showcase their talents and pursue a championship.

    Without further ado, I present to you a team I like to call "Squeaky Joints."

Starting Point Guard: Steve Nash

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    Age: 37

    Career summary: In his first few seasons in the NBA, it didn't look like Steve Nash would have a Hall of Fame career. After a few improving seasons in Dallas, Nash put himself in talks for the best point guard in the NBA.

    Nash has never won a championship, but he's been one of the best true floor generals to ever play the game. Averaging 14.7 points and 8.5 assists a game (a league-leading 11.4 last season) for his career, Nash is a two-time MVP (2005-06), as well as a seven-time NBA All-Star.

    While never being a notable defender, he has been one of the best free-throw shooters in history, shooting over 90 percent from the line. Nash's high energy style of play has made him one of the most fun players to watch, as well as leading some of the highest-scoring teams of the last decade.

    What he brings now: Maybe it's just me, but it still doesn't look this this old man is considerably slowing down. Even with a less-than-stellar team surrounding him, he still averages double-digit assists and remains a crafty player.

    Nash is in great physical shape with the ability to still run the floor with the best point guards in the league. A trade to a championship contending team could make them an instant favorite to bring in a trophy.

    He's not going to be an elite point guard much longer, but with his style of play, it looks like he still has plenty of solid seasons left if he continues to play.

Starting Shooting Guard: Ray Allen

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    Age: 36

    Career summary: When it comes to pure shooters in NBA history, Ray Allen has to be mentioned among the greats. In a game last year against the rival Los Angeles Lakers, Allen passed Reggie Miller for most three-pointers in a career.

    Allen was never one of the best rim-finishers in the NBA, but his ability to score from anywhere on the floor has made him one of the hardest players to guard during his time.

    He has one NBA Championship to his name, but he has surrounded that with 10 NBA All-Star games and plenty of All-NBA team nods.

    Oh, and you can never leave out his role as Jesus Shuttlesworth in He's Got Game.

    What he brings now: Allen has been an elite scorer in the NBA in his past, and could still put up 20 points a night on most teams. He's still in peak physical shape and has never been a true injury concern.

    It's no secret that Allen hasn't put up amazing supporting statistics around his scoring, but he's still a great team defender with the skills needed to force turnovers.

    While his shot attempts were down last year, Allen did shoot his best percentages from both the field and downtown in his career.

    Allen has transformed from a star to a great role player, but don't count him out when it comes to exploding for a scoring show.

Starting Small Forward: Grant Hill

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    Age: 39

    Career summary: Grant Hill had the potential in his younger days to be an MVP-caliber player and the leader of an NBA Championship team. Once he got hit by the injury bug, Hill had to settle for being a solid role player and contributor.

    Hill was named NBA co-Rookie of the Year in 1995 (one of the three occasions in history) with Jason Kidd, and since then, has been one of the biggest role models in the league both on and off the court. 

    While being one of the most versatile players in the NBA at one time, Hill was a solid scorer who could rebound and dish assists at a dangerous level. He has 29 career triple-doubles, and has been named an NBA All-Star seven times.

    Hill once had the potential to be one of the greatest players in history, but he still manages to be a factor at such a late stage in his career.

    What he brings now: Now that Grant Hill is a free agent post-lockout, look for many contending teams to swoop in and try to pick him up. He is still a player that can put up good all-around numbers and play solid defense for a team.

    Hill can show success as either a starter or coming off the bench, but most importantly, he brings veteran leadership that could really help younger players come along.

    While injuries have always been his biggest issue, he has stayed healthy over the past few years and can still run the floor like a younger player. Look for Hill to give you his best efforts every night, and possibly win his first NBA Championship along the way.

Starting Power Forward: Kevin Garnett

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    Age: 35

    Career summary: Has there been a more intense player than Kevin Garnett during his time? Many consider Garnett one of the dirtiest players in the game, both physically and verbally, but either way he is a warrior who brings his best every night.

    Garnett was possibly a top-five player in the last decade, making 12 straight All-Star appearances for both NBA conferences.He dominated defenders with his long frame and the ability to score either inside or from mid-range.

    His best individual season came in 2003-04 when he brought home an NBA MVP Award. That year, he averaged a career best in points and rebounds (24.2 and 13.9 respectively) while leading the Minnesota Timberwolves to a top seed in the Western Conference.

    Garnett has always been a fierce defender, winning NBA Defensive Player of the year in 2008. He's always shown the ability to be a great shot-blocker (1.6 for his career) and to shut down opposing players with his overall skill.

    In his first year with the Boston Celtics, Garnett was successful in helping them win a championship, the first and only of his career. He's on his way to the Hall of Fame post-retirement, and is likely to be in talks when it comes to best power forwards in history.

    What he brings now: Garnett still shows leadership quality and the passion to win every game.  He's still an accurate scorer, last year shooting 53 percent from the field, and can be a force when healthy.

    Defensively, he is still one of the smarter players around. He has the talent to land on a few more NBA All-Defensive Teams as well as pulling in double-digit rebounds.

    He's not going to dazzle you with his production, but it's his intangibles that now separates him from the average players in the NBA.

Starting Center: Tim Duncan

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    Age: 35

    Career summary: I'll say it: Tim Duncan is the best power forward in NBA history. He's one of the few fundamental stars left in the league and has been a true leader every since being drafted.

    After being drafted out of Wake Forest, Duncan showed his ability to be a star right away by averaging 21.1 points and 11.9 rebounds a game while winning the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.

    Duncan is a four-time NBA Champion winning three Finals MVP Awards in the process. Along with that, the "Big Fundamental" has brought in two MVP awards and is also a 13-time NBA All-Star.

    He was never a flashy player, but his ability to stick to the basics made him one of the hardest players to stop during his prime years.

    What he brings now: In the past few years, Duncan has watched his production and minutes drop. He's still an All-Star caliber player with the skills needed to still be dangerous. Coming off his first year in his career not averaging a double-double, Duncan has seen a lot of time on the floor as the team's center.

    If healthy, Duncan can provide this veteran team some solid post play as well as a defender still capable of grabbing big rebound and block numbers.

    Could Duncan still put together another NBA title run? He's got the team and leadership to do so, but his age and declining production doesn't give him a large window.

Bench: Chauncey Billups

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    Age: 35

    Career summary: An NBA Finals Champion and MVP, Billups was a staple in the Detroit Pistons successful run in 2003-04. Billups was never necessarily in talks when it came for the best point guards in the NBA, but he was an above average leader with a nice skill-set.

    While Billups has always had solid scoring numbers, he was never a spectacular option, as he only shot 42 percent throughout his career. However, Billups has never been shy when it comes to taking big shots and hitting threes.

    During Billups' prime, he had five straight NBA All-Star game nods (2006-10) and also received credit on two NBA All-Defensive Second Teams.

    What he brings now: If surrounded by the right talent, Billups can be a great game manager for a team. His statistics have yet to take a major dip, but he is likely going to be on the decline soon.

    Billups will still take big shots and bring a solid defensive mindset, but don't expect him to be a star for much longer. To be at full effectiveness, Billups must distribute the ball and work on getting his assists numbers to par with the top guards in the league.

    He fits well in his current situation, but could be nice shopping bait nearing playoff basketball.

Bench: Marcus Camby

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    Age: 37

    Career summary: Marcus Camby was selected as the second overall pick in the 1996 draft, where he quickly gained a reputation for being a game-changing defender.

    Averaging 10 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and a steal for his career, Camby showed the necessary skills needed to be a nice starting center for various teams. After 11 seasons in the NBA, he finally captured his first notable award as the Defensive Player of the Year.

    He's never been an NBA All-Star or a go-to offensive player, but he's been a solid player and contributor over his long career.

    What he brings now: While Camby is not one of the NBA's better big men anymore, he does bring an intelligent defensive presence that all teams need. Camby can still grab double-digit rebounds as well as blocking a few shots along the way.

    He is a beaten up veteran player, so don't expect too many mintues, but he is effective defensively when on the floor. After failing to shoot 40 percent from the floor last season, don't expect many looks to go his way inside.

Bench: Raja Bell

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    Age: 35

    Career summary: Raja Bell has never really done many great things in his career, but he has been known for being a lock-down defender and a pretty good shooter.

    Being somewhat of a journeyman in his NBA tenure, he's never had much time to settle in a comfortable position. Bell had his best success with a three-year stint with the Phoenix Suns, where he played significant minutes and was a role player in a few playoff appearances.

    What he brings now: Not much honestly, but hey, someone has to fill some spots, right?

    Or you can look at it this way: He's still a threat from deep and can still defend some of the better players in the league.

Bench: Antawn Jamison

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    Age: 35

    Career summary: Maybe it's just me, but it seems as if Atawn Jamison has played a rather unnoticed career. It could be because he has rarely played for a relevant team, but Jamison has still been a good individual player in his 13 seasons.

    While he has never received many accolades in his professional career, Jamison has brought home a NBA Sixth Man Award as well as two NBA All-Star Game appearances.

    Jamison has averaged almost 20 points a game over his career, and has shown to be a solid rebounder by bringing in eight a game. For a power forward, he has always spread the floor well using his long frame to shoot over defenders.

    He's nowhere near Hall of Fame status, but there is no doubt that he has always been a great player in his years.

    What he bring now: Jamison can still score 20 points a night in an expanded role and is still useful defensively. He's shown signs of decline over the past few seasons with sub-par field goal percentages and rebounding numbers, but he is another example of a player who would be effective as role player.

    Perhaps a return to a sixth man role would help a contending team have an extra bench boost, but Jamison could still be a starter for plenty of teams in the league.

Bench: Kurt Thomas

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    Age: 39

    Career summary: Once again a player who isn't the most talented when it comes to ability, but his leadership qualities and willingness to throw his body around make him a valuable player. He literally has never won any awards or had any accolades during his career, but he's had a few solid seasons and been a factor for several teams.

    Kurt Thomas had his best seasons in the middle of his career with the New York Knicks. He was a solid starter who averaged a double-double in 2004-05, his last season with the team.

    He has only managed 8.6 points and 6.9 rebounds a season over his career, but his contributions shouldn't be measured by numbers.

    What he brings now: Thomas is still a nice option to come off the bench for many teams in the league. If you need proof, just ask the Chicago Bulls how valuable he was when Joakim Noah went out to injury.

    Thomas still gets up and down the floor without problem and can be productive in a limited role. Don't look for him to blow you away statistically, but he still hustles and will still make the necessary plays that coaches love.

Bench: Jason Kidd

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    Age: 38

    Career summary: Jason Kidd finally won his first NBA Championship last season to make his case even better for one of the best point guards of all time.

    While never being the most prolific scorer for a guard, Kidd contributed in other ways that helped propel teams into playoff contention. With his leadership on the floor, he has made three NBA Finals appearances in his historic career.

    Kidd has been impressive over his time, leading all active players in triple-doubles with over 100. Along with that, he has been selected to 10 NBA All-Star games, five All-NBA First Teams and nine combined All-Defensive teams.

    He has only averaged 13.2 points in his career, but he is third all time in three-point field goals made with 1,795. However, it is his overall ability to lead a game and make players better that Kidd will be known for once he retires.

    What he brings now: It's fair to say that Kidd isn't the same player he used to be. The fact remains that he is still a solid point guard who makes smart decisions with the ball.

    He doesn't possess the speed to keep up with the younger elite point guards in the NBA, but he's still a threat defensively, averaging 1.7 steals a game last season (2.0 for his career).

    Kidd can still play significant amounts of minutes, but don't expect his overall production to be that great for the rest of his career.

Bench: Andre Miller

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    Age: 35

    Career summary: Andre Miller has always been considered a mid-tier point guard, but he has had plenty of All-Star worthy seasons.

    While never cracking any relevant NBA accolades, Miller sits 14th on the list of most assists by a player of all time with 7,031. With a healthy and average season, Miller can make his way onto the top 10, passing names like Tim Hardaway and Lenny Wilkins on the way.

    Miller has always been a valid scoring option, never failing to average less than 11.1 points a game since his rookie season. He's always shot a good percentage from the field as well as from the free-throw line.

    He's also been an average defender during his time, stealing 1.4 balls a game and having par rebounding numbers at 4.1.

    Miller will not be a liability in many areas besides his shooting range, but he's always been a nice starter and slightly underrated.

    What he brings now: Miller is a perfect example of a veteran player playing to his strengths at an older age. He doesn't turn the ball over at a high rate and also opens up many opportunities for teammates.

    He's a valuable player to have and still has a few good years left in him. Look for him to continue to pile up his career assists and help by putting up double-digit points a night.

    He's declined in physical ability which hurts him defensively, but he's still got the IQ to make smart decisions.

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