Basketball is a young man’s game. It is one of those sports in which athleticism is such a critical component that, as soon as a player starts growing old and losing his spring and speed, he starts becoming more dependent on his teammates regardless of how skilled he is. Of course, there are freaks of nature like LeBron James who, at 33, is still running as if he was 18 years old. Aside from people like James, however, older guys tend to have a hard time in the NBA, especially if they were known throughout their careers for their athleticism. We also have to leave aside guys like Dirk Nowitzki, who became great because of their sheer skill.
Another thing that doesn’t help the old-timers in the NBA these days is that kids coming out of college seem to be more athletic than ever before. Have you guys seen Dennis Smith Jr. jump? Yes, those are insane hops, and he is just one of the top guys in a long list of athletic players joining the NBA ranks. Basketball aside, there is also another part of the professional game in which many would think the young guys would have the upper hand. We are talking about the dating game. With the rise of Instagram and social media, people are more connected than ever to whom their favorite players are dating and other details about their personal lives. And we’re here to give you a little surprise and show that, despite common sense saying the young guy should have the upper hand, there are some old-timers who can put the young bloods to shame in this department.
15. Young Blood: Ben Simmons (Dylan Gonzales)
This guy is our surefire candidate for NBA rookie of the year this season. Simmons has been nothing short of amazing during his first year playing with the Philadelphia 76ers. The 21-year-old Australian guard is revolutionizing the way many people see basketball. We have had big guys like LeBron James who took a good deal of ballhandling duty, but none has taken to the point guard role as well as Ben Simmons.
So far this season, the kid has been averaging 16.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game. Yes, this is a rookie. Speaking of revolution, you might remember his ex-girlfriend Brittany Renner because she dated Colin Kaepernick. These days, Simmons seems to be dating Instagram star, Dylan Gonzales. A fun fact is that Gonzales has more than 1 million followers on Instagram.
14. Old Timer: Carmelo Anthony (La La)
Things have not been easy for Carmelo Anthony as of late. It is no secret to anyone that Carmelo is one of the proudest players in this league. That being said, we have to give him props for keeping a straight face while saying he is happy doing what he has to do to help the Oklahoma City Thunder win games. But if you look really closely in every single one of those interviews, you can see that becoming the third option in any offense is far from where he thought he would be at this point in his career. The guy is averaging less than 20 points a night for the first time in his career.
13. Young Blood: Tim Hardaway Jr. (Kylie Bossie)
Tim Hardaway Jr. got a big payday from the New York Knicks. Why he got paid so much, no one really knows. But aside from the amount of money he is earning, Hardaway has been putting up some good numbers and is arguably having the best year of his career. He is averaging 17.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game, all career highs. Are those numbers worth more than $70 million for four years? Probably not, but Hardaway is not complaining.
He is not complaining in the dating department either. Aside from scoring baskets at Madison Square Garden, this guy also loves posting pictures with his girlfriend, Kylie Bossie. The two of them are notorious for their Instagram posts and probably make more headlines for those than for what Hardaway does on the court.
12. Old Timer: Al Horford (Amelia Vega)
The Boston Celtics have been one of the big surprises of this NBA season. After the Kyrie Irving trade that pretty much took the bulk of the core of Boston’s number one seeded team of last year to Cleveland, there was some doubt about how this young squad would fare against the rest of the NBA. Added that to the horrific injury Gordon Hayward suffered in the first game of the season, and the Celtics were in desperate need of leadership in the locker room. Luckily, Brad Stevens had a 10-year veteran to count on in his locker room.
11. Young Blood: Bradley Beal (Kamiah Adams)
We cannot talk about young guys who are having career years without mentioning the name Bradley Beal. The Washington Wizards’ starting shooting guard has been lighting up every single team that comes to play in Washington. Beal is one of those rare players who has been steadily improving year after year without much downside. At just 24 years old, he is averaging more than 23 points per game and is part of what is arguably one of the most dangerous backcourts in the NBA alongside John Wall.
Outside of the court, Beal is also living the life of a young NBA star. Well, kind of. He is not going around hooking up with all the groupies he can. He is living more of that LeBron James kind of lifestyle as he married young to the model and actress, Kamiah Adams.
10. Old Timer: JJ Barea (Vivian Ortiz)
Believe it or not, JJ Barea is still around in the NBA. The 33-year-old Puerto Rican guard is still rocking the Dallas Mavericks uniform, while perhaps having the best year of his career. Barea has taken the role of a backup to a new level and has been deadly effective for the Mavericks coming off the bench this season. He is averaging career highs in all points, rebounds, and assists with 12 points per game, 3.1 rebounds, and six assists per outing so far this season. His performances also seem to be helping the growth of the young Dennis Smith Jr., who is also a headliner in the talks for rookie of the year.
9. Young Blood: Jayson Tatum (Samie Amos)
Another headliner for the rookie of the year award, Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum is one of the big reasons why the Kyrie Irving era has had such an amazing start in Boston. After a short but amazing college career at Duke University, almost everyone in the NBA knew Tatum would probably be able to help any team from the get-go. But no one thought he would be as effective as he has been. This kid is just 19 years old, and he has been averaging 13.9 points and more than five rebounds per game. Oh yeah, he’s shooting better than 46 percent from beyond the arc. How crazy is that?
8. Old Timer: DeAndre Jordan (Amber Alvarez)
DeAndre Jordan is one of those guys who is getting to the point where he can be considered an old timer. Despite being 29 years old, the Los Angeles Clippers’ center has been in the league for nine years. If that is not enough for you to be considered a veteran, we don’t know what is. An elite rebounder and rim protector, Jordan is having the same kind of year as the rest of his team. The Clippers are okay, but they are not at their best. For example, Jordan is averaging a career-high 15.1 rebounds per game, which is a ridiculous figure. At the same time, he has his lowest block average since the 2009-10 season with just one per game.
7. Young Blood: Harrison Barnes (Brittany Barnes)
A former University of North Carolina great, Harrison Barnes has decided to take an unusual path in his career. Not many players would be okay with leaving a championship team of the caliber of the Golden State Warriors. Nevertheless, that is the path Barnes decided to take when he cashed in a huge contract to play for the Dallas Mavericks. The now-25-year-old signed a four-year deal worth almost $95 million.
So far, that contract seems to be worth it for Dallas. Barnes is still not an All-Star level player, but he is getting pretty close to that. Averaging 18.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, the guy is as efficient as they come. He is also a happily married man who tied the knot with his wife Brittany not too long ago.
6. Old Timer: Blake Griffin (Kendall Jenner)
If we had a category between old-timer and young blood to put on this list, that’s where we would place Blake Griffin. But since he has been in the NBA since 2010, we thought it would be only fair that we would rank him as a veteran. After Chris Paul bolted to Houston, there was some serious doubt about whether or not Blake would be able to become the number one guy for the Clippers. On one side, it has not been pretty since the team is still struggling to get there record up to .500. At the same time, Blake has been having a great year individually. He has averages of 22.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game.
5. Young Blood: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (McKenzie Caldwell-Pope)
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a.k.a. KCP, has become the go-to guy for the Lakers when they need a clutch three-pointer near the end of a close game. At 24 years old, he is expected to be one of the leaders of the young Los Angeles Lakers squad coached by Luke Walton. To his credit, Caldwell-Pope has been delivering as much as he can whenever he is out on the court, and his number is called. After all, it cannot be easy to play alongside guys that are as ball-hungry and trigger-happy as sophomore Brandon Ingram and rookie Kyle Kuzma.
4. Old Timer: Ersan Ilyasova (Julia Ilyasova)
Ersan Ilyasova is the very definition of an average NBA player. They say that the hardest thing is not getting into the NBA, but managing to stay there. Unless you have some unnatural talent like the guys who become all-stars and win a barrage of awards, the key to keeping your job in the NBA seems to be consistency. And if there was one thing that we can easily say Ilyasova was during his NBA career is consistent.
The guy is not someone who would lead a team to a championship, but he has played for six different teams and contributed well for every single one of them.
3. Young Blood: John Wall (Hazel Renee)
If Bradley Beal’s steady development has helped Washington reach a new standard when it comes to how deep they can get into the playoffs, his backcourt teammate has been playing at an All-Star level almost from the get-go of his career. John Wall is one of those point guard talents we seldom see in basketball. Even though the NBA seems to be full of skilled guards these days, Wall is still someone who stands above the pack.
After having a career year in 2016-17, when he averaged more than 23 points and 10 assists per game, the former Kentucky star seems to be struggling with his shot a little bit, but is still as deadly as they come, averaging 18.7 points and nine assists per game. He also seems to have a talent with the ladies. A testament to that is his girlfriend, Hazel Renee.
2. Old Timer: Steph Curry (Ayesha Curry)
It is hard to grasp the idea that the “Baby-Faced Assassin” is coming close to his 30th birthday. Yes, Steph Curry is about to turn 30 this year in March. Still, this guy who looks so young is one of the most seasoned and battle-hardened veterans in the NBA. Bandwagoners can talk all they want about how Curry has it easy with his team now and things like that, but only true Golden State fans really know what this guy had to go through in order to become great with the Warriors.
After being drafted in 2009, it took Curry three years to qualify for the playoffs. It took him two more to get past the second round. After he did that, however, the rest is history.
1. Young Blood: Karl Anthony Towns (Kawahine Andrade)
There are a bunch of amazing prospects at the center position in the NBA. Perhaps we are living in a new age where big men are not a scarce resource. Nevertheless, there are only a few who can be compared to a guy like Karl Anthony Towns. At just 22 years old, we cannot see a way that this kid is not selected for his first All-Star game. The 2015-16 rookie of the year has developed quicker than even the most hopeful of Minnesota Timberwolves’ fans would have hoped. After averaging 25.1 points and 12.3 rebounds per game last season, Towns is still following that upward trend. His total numbers might be down as he is averaging 20.2 points and 11.9 rebounds, but his shooting percentages are off the charts, especially from beyond the arc. Remember, this is a seven-footer who is shooting better than 40 percent from three-point range.
Another person who is definitely happy with his improvement has to be his girlfriend, Kawahine Andrade.
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