We are currently in a huge transition period for the NBA. New stars like Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and James Harden have joined LeBron James and Kevin Durant as the top names over the past few years. The prior era of legends are slowly leaving the league. Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have all retired within the past year to truly change the landscape of the league. The majority of All-Stars from a decade ago are gone with new stars in their 20s taking over in the changing of the guard.
There are still some veterans and players past their prime that are on NBA rosters today. Some of them are clearly no longer contributing and need to start planning the next chapter of their lives. Others help their teams by turning back the clock or adding a leadership quality to make it worthwhile. We’ll take a look at some names that have been in the NBA for quite some time now. Both sides of the court will be broken down here as we figure out who should stay and who should go. These are eight NBA players that need to go away and seven that we never want to see retire.
15. Go Away: Deron Williams
Basketball fans used to argue about Chris Paul and Deron Williams when it came to who was the best point guard in the NBA. Paul has created a Hall of Fame worthy career and is still an elite Superstar today. Williams has seen the complete opposite play out over the past few years. The Brooklyn Nets traded for Williams and paid him huge money to be the face of the franchise.
Williams’ career went downhill with both injuries and regression in Brooklyn. The Dallas Mavericks tried to bring him home for a new beginning and that failed as well. Williams was waived and joined the Cleveland Cavaliers as a reserve with very limited minutes. The days of Williams contributing to a team are over. Williams should retire before his legacy takes even more of a hit.
14. Never Retire: Dwyane Wade
The talent of Dwyane Wade is dwindling with his days as the best player on a contender no longer viable. Wade however still possesses star power that adds to the overall experience of attending a NBA game. Fans go nuts for Wade and his pure talent will always be able to deliver a memorable play or two. Wade also had the leadership quality that can help contribute on the bench.
The horrible Chicago Bulls roster stealing the first two games of their first round series in Boston likely was influenced by Wade’s leadership before the talent of the Boston Celtics got the better of them. Wade on a better team could play for many more years providing both entertainment and leadership. Hopefully the legendary shooting guard finds the right fit for him.
13. Go Away: Jason Terry
Jason Terry’s prime years in the NBA saw him play tremendous basketball for the Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks. Aside from Dirk Nowitzki, Terry was probably the most valuable player on the Mavericks team that defeated the Miami Heat to win the 2011 NBA Championship. The current contributions of Terry are very minimal on the court.
Terry is a member of the Milwaukee Bucks providing a veteran presence but averaged just 4.1 points this past season. 2012-2013 was the last time Terry averaged double digits. Many fans are forgetting just how great of a player Terry used to be and all he contributed to the NBA. Terry would be best suited retiring and letting his legacy speak for itself rather than just decreasing all of his career averages.
12. Never Retire: Manu Ginobili
Manu Ginobili is someone that has lost most of his skills but still finds a way to impact the game. The San Antonio Spurs guard helped win them four NBA Championships and is still on the roster. Ginobili conserves his minutes during the regular season due to his older age. The sixth man spot does allow him to provide a burst of energy off the bench in the playoffs.
Ginobili’s stats may not be the best but he definitely helps lead the Spurs second team. A role like that is very important and Ginobili is a proven success. Ginobili can continue going on as the energy source helping San Antonio have a solid backup squad. The love of basketball also sees him play for the Argentina national basketball team as one of their best stars.
11. Go Away: Mike Miller
Everyone assumed Mike Miller was retiring after winning an NBA Championship with the Miami Heat back in 2012. Miller returned the following season and has kept his career going since then. The three-point shooting and veteran presence of Miller has allowed him to continue playing for the Denver Nuggets. Miller however just doesn’t belong on an NBA court anymore.
The averages of 1.4 points, 1.3 points and 2.1 points over the past three seasons each proves Miller just can’t add much on the basketball floor. Other veterans at least get a few more buckets and find other ways to impact the game. Miller should have retired a few seasons ago. You would be hard pressed to find any specific NBA player currently worse than Miller.
10. Never Retire: Joe Johnson
The recent postseason success of Joe Johnson shows his skills have survived the aging process. Johnson will never be a Superstar again, but he has found another way to impact the game. The Utah Jazz defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in their first round playoff series thanks to the fourth quarter dominance of Johnson. “Iso Joe” used his isolation strength to destroy all smaller defenders attempting to stop him.
However, the most important thing that Johnson brings to the table is his clutch gene. Johnson has been hitting game-winners his entire NBA career. A few game changing shots helped Utah in the playoffs showing just how important Johnson can be. Any playoff team would benefit from having Johnson on the bench. The veteran doesn’t have to retire any time soon considering all he contributes to winning.
9. Go Away: Chris Andersen
Chris Andersen is one of the NBA veterans struggling to find a spot in the league. The best run of Andersen’s career came when he played major minutes at the center position for the Miami Heat during two years of the “big three” era. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen being on the court make it easier for a big man to get by with minimal offense skills.
Life has been tough for Andersen following the end of the big three. The lack of offense makes him a hard fit to contribute to the NBA today. LeBron hooked him up with a spot on the Cleveland Cavaliers this past season but an injury forced him out. Andersen doesn’t have much left in the tank and could be better served retiring or leaving the NBA.
8. Never Retire: Zach Randolph
The decision to move Zach Randolph to the bench has given him a new life in the NBA. Randolph appeared to have very little left in the tank after years of hard work piling up. Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale moved Randolph to a role off the bench. The managing of his minutes and being able to have more of an offensive role allows Randolph to be a more effective asset.
Randolph typically plays with the second team in the late first quarter/early second quarter and plays the crunch time minutes to end the game. No one better defines the gritty and tough style of basketball that Memphis exudes more than Randolph. The power forward should stay around for many more years in his new role.
7. Go Away: Al Jefferson
Al Jefferson went from one of the best centers in the NBA to someone struggling for playing time in just a few years. The numbers of Jefferson during the 2013-2014 season saw him put up an incredible 21.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. Sadly for Jefferson, the NBA has completely changed in the past few years and the traditional center is becoming obsolete.
Centers have to be more athletic with speed and an outside shot to keep up with the competition. Brook Lopez developing a three-point shot and a shorter big man like Draymond Green often playing the five shows what has happened to center position. Jefferson is one the slower big men that needs to post up in the paint to be effective. It has led to him becoming a forgotten center in the NBA. Retirement or playing abroad may be the best choices for Jefferson in the current climate of basketball.
6. Never Retire: Vince Carter
Vince Carter is currently the oldest player in the NBA and he isn’t planning to retire any time soon. The Memphis Grizzlies saw the 40 year old contribute to the team having a good season. Carter often played the crunch time minutes following the injury to Chandler Parsons shortening his season. Fans were shocked to see Carter still play at a high level.
The occasional highlight dunks and high scoring games made Carter one of the biggest fan favorites of the season. Many diehard fans remember his prime days as the most exciting star in the league. The retirements of most other stars from him era is giving us the chance to appreciate Carter as he turns back the clock in spurts. Carter is the definition of a veteran we never want to see retire.
5. Go Away: Andre Miller
Andre Miller is someone you likely might have assumed retired a few years ago. The veteran point guard has been a very good facilitator throughout his career. Miller is still an active player on the free agent market hoping to continue his NBA career. The San Antonio Spurs signed him last season to be their reserve point guard but no one wanted his services this season.
At the age of 41, it is difficult to imagine Miller keeping up with the young stars of the NBA today. Point guard has become the most important position. Every team has extremely fast and athletic point guards on their roster now. Miller is not fast enough to keep up with them at his current age. The official retirement should be coming from Miller soon unless he finds an alternative to keep his career going outside of the NBA.
4. Never Retire: LeBron James
LeBron James is not as old or past his prime as the rest of this list, but he’s still getting up there. The fourteen year career of James has seen him average 39 minutes per game. Many would expect a decline or early retirement from someone to play as many important minutes in their career as James. However, the iconic Superstar doesn’t show any signs of slowing down and he’s a basketball genius.
There will come a time when James starts to hit a wall in regards to not being able to dominate the game any longer. The basketball intelligence and tremendous passing skills could still keep him relevant for many more years. James could play for another decade if things work out in his favor. We can only hope such a legend will want to keep going with no plans of retirement.
3. Go Away: Tony Parker
The current perception of Tony Parker is that he was a Superstar of his time and will be remembered as a San Antonio Spurs legend. Parker may want to retire sooner than later to avoid this being tarnished. The past few seasons have seen Parker take a huge fall between both the aging process catching up to him and the competition getting stronger.
An argument can be made that Parker was overrated during his time due to being placed in the perfect system on the Spurs. Regardless of the viewing of his best years, it’s obvious that he no longer can contend with the new core of Superstar point guards. Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving and many others are pushing the position forward. Parker’s reputation will take a hit if he keeps having more below average seasons to end his career too late.
2. Never Retire: Dirk Nowitzki
Basketball fans were ecstatic at the news of Dirk Nowitzki returning for at least one more season next year. Nowitzki is a legend that still contributes to the game. Dallas Mavericks fans will never get sick of him and the rest of us still find entertainment in him. The shooting touch and offensive game of Nowitzki is still impressive enough to belong at the NBA level.
Nowitzki will never average 25 points again but he’s still a credible starting power forward in the NBA. The beautiful outside shot of Dirk is still deadly. Aside from Vince Carter, Nowitzki is the only true legend of his time still in the NBA. We are holding out hope he can at least give us a few more seasons. The news of Nowitki retiring will be a very sad time for NBA fans.
1. Go Away: Metta World Peace
Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace was known as one of the best defenders in the NBA. No one wanted to see him defending them. The clutch play of World Peace on offense helped bring the 2010 NBA Championship to the Los Angeles Lakers. World Peace would see his career go downhill after the peak. The end of the Lakers dominance saw him join the New York Knicks for a horrible run.
World Peace tried his luck leaving the NBA for a basketball career in China. The Lakers convinced him to join the team again but he barely does anything. World Peace primarily sits on the bench helping the young stars progress. The days of Metta being a lockdown defender or successful contributor to a NBA team are over. Maybe it’s time he faces the facts and heads into retirement to start the next career.
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