Redick, Iguodala and Under-the-Radar NBA Veterans Who Aren't Done Yet
We all know veterans such as LeBron James and Steph Curry are going to put up huge numbers in 2019-20, barring injury. But what about some of the equally seasoned but less heralded players?
You know, the guys teams may not have built their offseasons around acquiring but who could be deciding factors in close games and come playoff time.
That's who we're looking for here, and we've identified 10 such players, listed in descending order by age.
Vince Carter, Atlanta Hawks
Regular-Season Minutes Played: 45,491
Postseason Minutes Played: 3,033
This isn't a pity entry—Half Man, Half Amazing can still get it done in his bench role. Last season, he played 76 games for the youth-led Atlanta Hawks, averaging a respectable 7.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists in just 17.5 minutes per game.
Don't take our word for it. Just ask New Orleans Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin, who openly recruited Carter on national television to join and help lead his new squad:
"Our big thing with Vince, and I think this is true of all veterans … when you go into a situation with other young players, the most important thing for you as a leader is that you're playing significant minutes. And because you're capable of doing that, the fit for him is find a team where he can do that. I hope we're that team in terms of the one you're drawn to."
He can still get up there with the best of them too, showing that his all-world athleticism hasn't completely disappeared. He's of course no longer a star or a starter, but as a spot contributor and locker room leader, you could do a lot worse than Vinsanity.
Andre Iguodala, Memphis Grizzlies
Regular-Season Minutes Played: 37,034
Postseason Minutes Played: 4,724
There's a sizeable difference in age from VC to Andre Iguodala, but you could say that with Carter and just about anyone. Iguodala is plenty seasoned (15 seasons) and coincidentally went from an Olympian to a role player like Carter too.
Of course, had he been on any other team than the Golden State Warriors the past six seasons, he would have assuredly put up more robust stat lines. He sacrificed individual glory for team success, and there's always room for someone like that—especially when that someone can play lockdown perimeter defense and make plays when needed.
But defense isn't Iguodala's only strong suit. Iggy shines brightest on the grandest stages, as evidenced by his Finals MVP in 2015 and his three-point shooting numbers in 2018-19. After shooting 40.1 percent during 68 regular-season games on 61 attempts from the corner, Iggy converted 47.1 percent of his 34 postseason looks from those spots.
It's unclear where he'll wind up this coming season, but he'll be a positive presence to whatever lineup he joins.
JJ Redick, New Orleans Pelicans
Regular-Season Minutes Played: 21,660
Postseason Minutes Played: 2,910
JJ Redick has only gotten better, if anything, over the last few years, and he recorded a career-high 18.1 points per game last season.
He's no longer just a standstill shooter like he was coming out of Duke many moons ago, although he's still one of the game's most lethal at launching from deep (39.7 percent last season on 8.0 attempts). That includes 42.9 percent from the corners, where Lonzo Ball should look to get him involved early and often.
Redick's overall impact greatly affected the Philadelphia 76ers on both ends. His real plus-minus put him eighth in the NBA among shooting guards, and each of the Sixers' five best lineups included him on the floor in 2018-19.
Despite landing sizeable contracts in his last few stops, he's not generally thought of as a game-changer. It didn't help that he recently signed with the New Orleans Pelicans—not exactly a go-to free-agency destination despite the Zion Williamson hoopla.
In New Orleans, he should continue to have a bright green light whenever he touches the ball, and expect Zion to pull defenders off him, just like Joel Embiid did in Philly the last couple of seasons.
Joakim Noah, Free Agent
Regular-Season Minutes Played: 18,596
Postseason Minutes Played: 2,101
Don't expect Joakim Noah to remain unsigned for long. He showed at the end of last season with the Memphis Grizzlies that he still has plenty left in the tank as a defensive disruptor, tenacious rebounder and clever passer.
Noah finished 23rd in the NBA in defensive real plus-minus among centers, and his per-36 numbers (15.5 points, 12.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists) suggest he can still be an effective backup 5 in the right situation.
He disappeared from sight after his disastrous, injury-plagued stint with the New York Knicks in 2016-17 and 2017-18, but he can still be a vocal leader and box score-filling contributor, even if it likely won't be with the Los Angeles Lakers after some speculation he'd team up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis...at least for now, as Dwight Howard's "summer" contract is unguaranteed.
Marc Gasol, Toronto Raptors
Regular-Season Minutes Played: 26,565
Postseason Minutes Played: 3,079
This Spanish big man may finally slow down after placing a trophy in Gasol Manor next to brother Pau's, but it won't be this year.
With averages of 13.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks in 79 games, he remains one of the most versatile and durable big men in the NBA, even after 11 seasons.
Gasol's numbers and minutes dropped with the Toronto Raptors, but his efficiency from three-point range skyrocketed. His eFG (effective field-goal percentage) climbed from 49.9 percent to 52.7 percent, while his three-point rate went from 34.4 percent to 44.2 percent.
His on-court effect was reflected by his real plus-minus, which placed him in the top 30 in the NBA (3.37).
PJ Tucker, Houston Rockets
Regular-Season Minutes Played: 16,725
Postseason Minutes Played: 1,246
PJ Tucker may be known for his sneakers as much as his game, but he's a quality three-and-D option, even at this stage of his career.
Tucker's 1.86 defensive real plus-minus ranked him eighth among small forwards, and his three-point shot from the corner (39.4 percent, 45.6 percent in the playoffs) was good enough to keep defenses honest.
James Harden and Russell Westbrook will provide plenty of offense for Houston this coming season, and the Rockets are going to need Tucker to continue his under-the-radar solid play for them to be legit championship contenders.
He'll never garner much publicity for his on-court exploits, but if he can keep knocking down corner threes off kick-outs, he will prove indispensable for the high-octane Rockets.
Paul Millsap, Denver Nuggets
Regular-Season Minutes Played: 27,721
Postseason Minutes Played: 2,976
A resurgent year puts Paul Millsap back into the conversation as one of the NBA's most underrated players. While his modest scoring campaign (12.6 points per game) insinuates regression, his efficiency (52.8 eFG) was its highest since 2010-11.
The true embodiment of a two-way player, Millsap finished third among power forwards in real plus-minus and 19th in the NBA. His defensive real-plus minus (2.74) played a significant role in that.
Expect big things this season from both Millsap and the Denver Nuggets.
Taj Gibson, New York Knicks
Regular-Season Minutes Played: 19,069
Postseason Minutes Played: 1,443
New York Knicks fans may not have loved the Taj Gibson signing, especially since they now have a zillion bigs on their roster, but he's quietly been a durable, productive role player his entire career.
None of his box-score stats jump off the page—career highs of 13.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks when you combine his best stats—but he plays tough defense and offers a solid, if unspectacular and somewhat dated, low-post game.
If the Knicks are tanking and looking to deal vets at the deadline, Gibson should attract suitors. And if they hold on to him, he should help change the losing culture that has permeated Madison Square Garden for some time now.
Rudy Gay, San Antonio Spurs
Regular-Season Minutes Played: 29,888
Postseason Minutes Played: 618
For years, Rudy Gay put up gaudy stats on bad teams, be it with the Memphis Grizzlies, Toronto Raptors or Sacremento Kings.
You'd look at his points per game, and you'd think this guy is a star, but his teams never did anything.
Now with the rock-solid San Antonio Spurs the past two seasons, Gay has become a more well-rounded player on a contending team. He's not going to average close to 20 per game anymore, but he's found his niche as a do-it-all forward under Gregg Popovich, and he was justly rewarded with a two-year, $32 million deal this offseason.
Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers
Regular-Season Minutes Played: 23,018
Postseason Minutes Played: 1,455
This guy is continually slept on when discussing elite NBA scorers. Lou Williams has averaged over 20 points per game the last two seasons in only 20 combined starts. In fact, he only averaged 26.6 minutes per game last season and still roasted defenders whenever he got some run.
First in the NBA in offensive real plus-minus among shooting guards, Williams dished 5.4 assists per game, making him a deadly scorer and facilitator in his somewhat limited role.
He'll likely get more national exposure this coming season with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard in tow, and you can bet he'll continue to produce when he gets his looks. He's quietly been in the league for 14 seasons and is a three-time Sixth Man of the Year, and he's not done by a long shot.