This compressed, lockout-shortened NBA season was supposed to be discriminatory against one group of players in particular – the aged. The theory was that the NBA’s equivalent of that bald, hairy-backed, smelly, goggle-wearer old guy you play pickup against and who fouls too often were going to have a hard time with this brutal, 66-game schedule, what with the back-to-back-to-back games and whatnot.
And, for the most part, this reasoning has proven to be true – veterans around the league are struggling this season, at least in these early stages. But not all of the graybeards are succumbing to Father Time and the NBA’s scheduling Gods. These five players, all among the NBA’s top 20 in career minutes played by active players, are excelling this wacky season.
16.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.4 apg, 31-54 3Pts
We all knew Jesus Shuttlesworth could shoot, but this is just ridiculous – Allen is hitting his three’s at a 57.4% clip this year! Amazing shooting for any player, especially for a 36-year-old with over 41,000 minutes on his odometer.
30.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 5.5 apg, 1.3 spg
Sure, Bean is only 33-years-old, but he’s already played over 40,000 career minutes and he is chronically banged up (check that – chronically injured seriously enough that a mere mortal NBA player would go on the injured list). So, to quiet the doubters, Bryant thought he’d try to win his first scoring title in five years. The early-season MVP for sure.
13.2 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 10.1 apg
Sure, most of his stats are down, and his three-point and free throw accuracy aren’t up to his normal standards, but Steve Nash is leading the league in assists per game. If he keeps it up, at age 38 he’ll be the oldest player in NBA history to lead the league in assists, beating out the previous record holder…… Steve Nash. And this on a team whose biggest scoring threat is Marcin Gortat.
14.4 ppg, 3.8 apg, 33-76 3Pts
No championship hangover for JET, as his numbers are right where they should be and his Win Share/48 minutes is his highest since 2007/08. Now if the only rest of his teammates came to play from the jump this year.
7.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.1 apg
The least expected name to show up on this list has to be Tracy McGrady‘s, but he’s had a very efficient season for Atlanta. While he is posting modest numbers, he is also only playing modest minutes off the bench. His WS/48 is his best since 2002/03.