A press release from the NBA (Retired) Players Association recognized the players in the NBA who are the closest to joining their organization yet, due to their successes, are still the farthest away. From the release:
The NBA has a proud histoy of old, talented men. We are some of the biggest celebrities and figures in our society. And it is the following players of the 2013 All NBA Old Guy Team that we honor for following closely in our very large footprints.
The All NBA ‘OG’ Team honors a combination of both old age and top notch on the court performance. For example Grant Hill is the current oldest player in the NBA at nearing 41 years old, but he did not match the same on the court performances as the 2013 All NBA Old Guy First Team.
Center (& Old Guy MVP): Tim Duncan–37 Years Old
Tim Duncan was the most effective this season of the past 6 seasons, like Jose Reyes in a contract year. He appeared in 69 of the Spurs 82 games this year. But that’s not because he was hurt, but rather because Greg Popovitch benched him so often. Duncan Averaged 17.8 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.6 points per game. Remarkably he also shot 81% from the free throw line. This is the Hall of Famer who used to shoot worse than 60% from the line. Duncan called out all other bad free throw shooters in the league with his performance. Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard have absolutely nothing on Tim Duncan.
Guard: Andre Miller–37 Years Old
37 days older than Duncan, Andre Miller is an old, modern miracle. Despite playing mediocre basketball for much of his NBA career, as his physical gifts left him he gained more skills. Of the 30 oldest players in the NBA, Andre Miller is the only one to play all 82 regular season games. In 26 minutes per game, he averaged 9.6 PPG and 4.9 APG for the deepest team in the league. Andre Miller, at 37 years old, was a critical player for a young, explosive offense. If the YMCA style of basketball Miller played is successful, call me if you’re an NBA General Manager–I think I know a couple guys.
Guard: Kobe Bryant–34 years old
Kobe is not the oldest guy in the league, but because of the mileage on his self-destructing body he belongs on any old guy list in the NBA. Kobe was a man of many faces this season. Kobe the efficient scorer, Kobe the passer, Kobe the buffet dinner eater at 3pm who is asleep by 7:30pm. His body gave out, but his spirit didn’t. But it is no surprise it did since his 27.3 PPG came in an inhumane 38 Minutes Per Game.
Forwards: Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce–37 and 35 Years Old
Basically to make the 2013 All NBA Old Guy Team, you just had to be a member of the Spurs or Celtics. Kevin Garnett has near the same amount of mileage as Kobe Bryant, except he only averaged 29.5, not 38 minutes, to reach his 14.8 PPG and 7.8 RPG. Pierce has had the least vertical skills in the NBA for years, so it is no surprise he is on this squad. He still averaged 18.6 points on his way to filling up a stat sheet and basketball court.
Honorable Mention (aka: Better luck next year, if there is a next year)
Manu Ginobli (35) was the dynamic spark that makes the Spurs go once again, but it continues to singe that bald spot in his head. Jason Kidd (40) is old. Undrafted Mike James (37) is still in the NBA for Dallas, his 11th team in the NBA. Nazr Mohammed (35) punked Lebron. Ray Allen (37) is like a bowler, time passes but he’s still shooting strikes. Vince Carter (36) miraculously played 81 games this season. Tony Parker (30) is really good, but old by association doesn’t quite make the cut.
Good luck to Terrell Owens (39) making this list next year.