Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett have all retired from the NBA. These three legends of the game take with them 11 NBA Championships, four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, and all three of them will almost certainly be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame once the four year wait period has been reached. These men also adjust the list of the oldest players in the league, as all three of these men were among the oldest active players in the NBA during their final season.
With Bryant, Duncan and Garnett retired, and all three of these men guaranteed to reach the Hall of Fame, it is interesting to see who the oldest players in the league are currently. It is also interesting to try to determine if the seasoned veterans of the NBA have done enough to secure for themselves induction into Springfield, Massachusetts.
Each of the men on the list have had lengthy careers, which means that each of them have probably worked their way up one or more career achievement list. However, just having one of the highest numbers of something does not ensure a Hall of Fame induction. The career needs to be one of the best ever, or at least the best of the player’s era, before being considered truly deserving of Hall of Fame consideration.
15. Jamal Crawford – 36
Jamal Crawford is known for having one of the greatest crossover dribbles in the game. He is also known for his three-point shooting. Crawford is a three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award winner, having won the award more times than any other player in the history of the game, which indicates that he is one of the best reserves in the games history. However, of the three players who have won the award twice, only Kevin McHale is in the HOF, but after winning the award, he became a starter and a crucial component to the Celtics three championships during the eighties.
Crawford has moved around quite a few times during his career and he has yet to make the All-Star game or win a championship. Without these accolades, some voters will not look favorably on Crawford’s career. Crawford is one of the best in the game, but that just might not be enough.
14. Matt Barnes – 36
Matt Barnes is known for his defense, for his toughness, and for his ability to make shots when given the opportunity. Barnes is also known for getting suspended due to his temper, as evidenced by his constantly getting into fights. During his career, Barnes has played for nine different franchises, including two stints each with the Clippers and the Sacramento Kings. It would seem that Barnes’ career arc was set right from the beginning when he was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies, traded to the Cavaliers during the summer before his rookie season, and then cut, meaning that he never actually played for these franchises at this point. He would join the Grizzlies later, but after working in several other cities.
Barnes has never been voted into the All-Star game, has no NBA titles, and is not among the tops on any significant career list. Barnes boasts a career 8.3 point-per-game average along with 4.6 rebounds, and voters might see his constant suspensions as a detriment to his career.
13. Mike Miller – 36
Mike Miller is a shooter. Mike Miller is one of the best shooters in the history of the game. He is currently in the top 20 in career three point shots made in the NBA. Mike Miller is also a two-time NBA Champion from his time with the Miami Heat. Miller has had a career that could definitely give him Hall of Fame consideration, but one has to wonder if he has accomplished enough.
Miller was the 2001 Rookie of the Year and, in 2006, Miller was voted the Sixth Man of the Year. These accolades, plus his two championships, put him in better company than many others with regards to the Hall of Fame, because it shows that Miller was better than most. However, Miller is a role player whose specialty is the three-point shot and not many specialists make the Hall of Fame.
12. Metta World Peace – 36
Ron Artest, now known as Metta World Peace, is one of the best defensive players the game has known. Metta has been selected to the NBA All-Defensive Team four times, while at the same time being a double figure scorer for each of his first eleven seasons in the league. 2004 was Metta’s best year, as he made the All-Star team, was Defensive player of the Year and was Third-Team All NBA.
Among Metta’s other accomplishments is scoring the game-winning basket to secure the Lakers the 2010 NBA Championship, and his winning the 2011 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award. Ironically, Metta would miss much of the 2005 and 2006 seasons due to suspension for his part in the Malice in the Palace brawl.
Metta was at one time one of the best in the game and with his list of accomplishments, Hall of Fame voters will have to decide if his multiple suspensions for flagrant fouls outweigh his play on the court.
11. Rasual Butler – 37
Rasual Butler sits high on the list of players who have played for multiple franchises in the NBA. Butler latest deal was with his ninth franchise, which puts him close to the record for most franchises. Butler has made his name in the NBA as a three-point shooter and with the NBA becoming a league where the three-point shot is more important than the two-point shot, Butler will always be able to get signed by NBA teams.
What sets Butler apart from other players is the fact that he was named the NBA D-League Impact Player of the Year, which means that he joined the D-League mid-season and made the greatest contribution to his team’s success following that acquisition. However, this happened after Butler had been in the NBA for 10 years, when, if the NBA no longer is interested in a player, most other players would go to Europe to continue their careers. Butler made his way back to the NBA as a three-point shooting specialist and that will be his legacy.
10. Elton Brand – 37
Elton Brand was the first overall pick in the 1999 draft and Brand, along with Ron Artest, who was drafted later in that same draft, was supposed to lead the resurgence of the Chicago Bulls. After the departures of Phil Jackson and every key player except for Toni Kukoc, the Bulls would go from NBA Champions to a 13-win season. Brand would go from College Player of the Year in 1999 to NBA Rookie of the Year in 2000, but with Brand as the leader of the new Bulls, the team would only improve by four games.
Brand would finally reach the All-Star team after leaving the Bulls for the Clippers, but it would not be until 2006 when Brand would lead his team to the playoffs. Brand would average double figures in points and rebounds in six of his first seven seasons, but his inability to elevate his franchises,or even be among the best enough to merit multiple All-Star selections might be to his Hall of Fame deficit.
9. Chris Andersen – 38
“The Birdman” Chris Andersen is more known for his tattoos and his hairstyle than for his game on the court. However, Andersen was able to gain for himself an NBA Championship, as he was a member of the 2013 Miami Heat. Andersen is an energy player whose length and hustle have made him a league favorite, and favorite of his teammates, which is how he can always get another job.
However, despite his always being in demand, Andersen’s stats have never been among the best in the league. His career 5.5 point and 5.1 rebound averages make him nothing more than a role player and it is virtually impossible for players with numbers like these to make it into the Hall of Fame. Andersen, will seemingly be remembered for his Slam Dunk Contest performance, when he attempted the same dunk eight times with no success.
8. Dirk Nowitzki – 38
With Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant retired, Dirk Nowitzki becomes the active leader in most seasons played in the league for a single franchise. He is also currently 6th on the all-time scoring list and is the highest-scoring foreign-born player in NBA-history. Dirk has also led a team to the NBA Championship and has won the NBA Finals MVP Award. He’s also won a league MVP award and has made 13 trips to the All-Star Game, Nowitzki would seem like a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame after he retires.
It could be said that Dirk’s never having been named to the All-Defensive Team is a knock against his career, but being the first European-Born player to be named the league’s MVP, and with all of his other accolades, there is no way that Dirk will not be elected when his time comes. However, that might be a while, because Dirk is still as productive as he has ever been.
7. Paul Pierce – 38
Paul Pierce has an NBA Championship to his credit, as some of the others on this list do, but the difference between Pierce and the others is the fact that Pierce also has an NBA Finals MVP Award. Everyone who has ever won the Finals MVP, and is eligible for the Hall of Fame, has been inducted except for Cedric Maxwell, who won the award in 1981. That award and Pierce’s ten appearances in the All-Star Game will definitely help his Hall of Fame cause.
The knock against Pierce is the fact that his Celtic teams were not competitive until Garnett and Allen were added and the three of them won the NBA Championship in 2008. The trio would make a second trip to the Finals two seasons later, but then Pierce’s teams in Boston, Brooklyn and Washington would repeatedly fail to get past the Miami Heat. However, since Pierce’s numbers were always better in the playoffs than in the regular season, this will help his cause as well.
6. Jason Terry – 39
Jason “The Jet” Terry is the 2009 Sixth Man of the Year, won an NBA Championship with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011, and currently sits third all-time in 3-point Field Goals made, behind Ray Allen and Hall of Famer Reggie Miller. For thirteen straight seasons, Terry was a double-figure scorer and was considered one of the top point guards in the game. Unfortunately, as his career continued, many quality point guards joined the NBA and Terry was gradually pushed down the list of the tops at his position.
Terry has an NCAA title to his credit, and that, combined with his single NBA Championship puts him is a slightly better position than many other players with regards to the Hall of Fame. However, Terry was never considered one of the best in the game or even one of the best point guards of his era. Terry will get consideration for his three point shots, but not for what he means to the game.
5. Nazr Mohammed – 39
Nazr Mohammed is another player who is one of the NBA leaders in the number of different teams for which he has played. Mohammed has played for eight different franchises, including two stints with the Oklahoma City Thunder. His 2005 stint with the Spurs brought Mohammed his only NBA Championship. As a center, Mohammed is always in demand because of his defense and size.
Mohammed came to the NBA after winning two NCAA championships with the University of Kentucky. Since the Basketball Hall of Fame covers all of basketball and not just the NBA, these titles might help his cause. However, during his NBA career, Mohammed could never be considered one of the best in the game. With career averages of 5.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, Mohammed is a serviceable player who can play as long as he is able to be productive, but will not be remembered as one of the greats of the game.
4. Manu Ginóbili – 39
Manu Ginóbili is one-third of the big three that has won four NBA Championships for the San Antonio Spurs Franchise. During the five seasons between 2003 and 2007, the Spurs won the title three times and Ginóbili was a key player in each of those victories. Ginóbili was also the leading scorer for the Argentine Olympic team that defeated the United States in the semi-final game of the 2004 Summer Olympics. While not being a consistent starter, Ginóbili has been counted on to help carry the Spurs to the top of the NBA.
In 2008, Ginóbili was named as one of the 50 greatest contributors and one of the 35 greatest players in EuroLeague history and, in that same year, he was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year while coming off of the bench for the Spurs. In addition, Ginóbili, along with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, have won more regular season games and more playoff games than any other trio playing together for the same team in NBA history.
3. Pablo Prigioni – 39
Of the 15 oldest active players in the NBA, Prigioni has had the shortest career. Prigioni began his NBA career in 2012, at the age of 35, after nearly twenty years of playing professionally in South America and Europe. During his international career, Prigioni won several Spanish League Championships, as well as several medals as a member of the Argentine National Team.
As a pass-first point guard in the NBA, Prigioni has been an asset to teams with other scorers, but he has thus far not been able to crack into the starting lineups of any of the teams for which he has played. In the NBA, Prigioni has been nothing more than a journeyman player and with much of his international career being spent as a reserve as opposed to being a starter on his teams, Prigioni could not be considered a star player.
2. Vince Carter – 39
“Half Man, Half Amazing,” Vince Carter came into the NBA as one of the most spectacular players in the game. His victory in the Dunk Contest made him must-see television whenever his games were broadcast. After winning the Dunk Contest, Carter made the All-Star team during each of his next eight seasons in the league and Carter was consistently among the top ten scorers in the league. Unfortunately for Carter, these teams could not advance past the second round of the playoffs.
Carter is currently on his sixth different franchise and only once so far has Carter advanced past the second round. Carter is among the leaders in many career categories, but playing a lot of games will accomplish this as much as career excellence will. Seemingly, Carter’s career achievement will seem to be dunking over 7-foot-2-inch French center Frédéric Weis during the 2000 Summer Olympics.
1. Andre Miller – 40
Andre Miller is currently the oldest player in the NBA. Miller currently sits in the top ten in career assists, on a list that features names such as Magic Johnson, John Stockton, Oscar Robertson and Isiah Thomas. However, of the individuals in the top ten, Miller boasts the lowest per game average. Miller has also played for nine different NBA teams, three short of the league record. This means that either teams are always looking to get rid of him or are always looking to add him to their rosters.
One knock against Miller is the fact that through 17 NBA seasons, Miller has never been selected to an All-Star Game, even though he led the league in assists in 2002, albeit on a bad Cavaliers team. Also, only once has Miller been on a team that has gotten past the second round of the playoffs. This shows that Miller has not elevated his teams and was not among the best of the best.
Hall of Fame Chance: Definitely Not
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