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Old 12-29-2011, 01:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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No League for Old Men

Basketball has actually never been a young men's game. Regardless of whatever the phosphor dots on your television have told you once upon a time, young players are terrible. In the 80's, everyone went to college for more than one year, including Bird, Magic, and Jordan. Nowadays, the current and upcoming stars either skipped college or went for one year so they entered the league sooner.

That's probably why they're going to leave the league sooner. Kobe Bryant is 33. Michael Jordan won two championships after he turned 33. However, Kobe is finished. He's arguably not even a top five player right now which was also not the case with Jordan who was the best until the moment he retired. However, to put it in perspective, Kobe came into the league at 18 and Jordan at 21.

It's not just the age when entering the league, but that is a huge reason why players aren't lasting as long. The game is getting more competitive and the talent is getting back to where it was in the 80's. Look at Chris Paul, the best PG in the league. He's 26 but he has had knee surgery and lost some form, so after only six years in the league he might not even be enough to influence the outcome of the league. Why? Because you can draft guys like Norris Cole and Ty Lawson late.

I'm not sure Chris Paul stays relevant for three more years. Same goes for Dwight Howard. In their seventh and eighth years respectively. I think with the increasing talent pool nobody is going to be changing the competitive landscape in their eighth or ninth years and more. By that time they're too old, the young guys are too fast.

TL;DR These days I'm looking more at how far into their career guys are. Unless you're a transcendent talent like Wade or James, you aren't a game changer after I'd say your 7th year. Guys the level of Paul and Howard are who I'm talking. Sorry, but I can just draft a Norris Cole or DeAndre Jordan. The league is getting too talented (mean that in a good way).
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: No League for Old Men

this is going to get ugly


I agree with most of it except for the part where you pool Dwight/Paul as non-transcendent players. If they stay healthy they will stay dominant. Especially Howard.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: No League for Old Men

Jordan was in no way a top-five player when he retired.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: No League for Old Men

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this is going to get ugly


I agree with most of it except for the part where you pool Dwight/Paul as non-transcendent players. If they stay healthy they will stay dominant. Especially Howard.
I think the Clippers could have traded for Howard but they recognized the jump from DeAndre to Howard wasn't as large as the jump with Paul. That tells me just how little Howard influences the competitive landscape compared to a guy like LeBron.

Teams around the league are lining up to acquire Howard to retool for years of contending but I just don't see how with time and new players and player movement he can overcome any contender. I think it's too easy to find a player to defend him and most teams already have that player.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: No League for Old Men

Lol, since when is being arguably not a top five guy anymore the same thing as finished? Kobe's still a top 5-7 player in the league and is averaging like 28 a game so far. His prime was never as good as Jordan's so why would his twilight years? Your comparison doesn't make any sense.

I do think that you have an interesting premise though, the league is definitely starting to cater towards younger players and the NBA is going through a resurgence of talent. I just don't know if it's as extreme as you're trying to paint it. Dwight Howard will still be the best center in the world in three years and you can quote me on that.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: No League for Old Men

Yesterday's young is today's old. Teams need to recognize this because a guy like Chris Paul is actually entering his twilight not his prime, so it's something to be conscious of if you're the Clippers and acquiring him. A 26 year old today is not a 26 year old in Jordan's time. The "old" players will still win but people need to be correct about what stage of their career they're in or they're going to get burned.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: No League for Old Men

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Yesterday's young is today's old. Teams need to recognize this because a guy like Chris Paul is actually entering his twilight not his prime, so it's something to be conscious of if you're the Clippers and acquiring him. A 26 year old today is not a 26 year old in Jordan's time. The "old" players will still win but people need to be correct about what stage of their career they're in or they're going to get burned.
Well, that's more to do with Paul's knee than his age(although I suppose you could argue they're one in the same). For what it's worth, I think Paul's got several more years of "prime" left, not in his twilight.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: No League for Old Men

Yeah to piggyback on what Bogg just said, Chris Paul is only in jeopardy of being finished because of his knees, not ability. If he's healthy then he's still a top fiveish player in the league.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: No League for Old Men

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Well, that's more to do with Paul's knee than his age(although I suppose you could argue they're one in the same). For what it's worth, I think Paul's got several more years of "prime" left, not in his twilight.
I think people look at his age, 26, and assume that he's just approaching the crest of the hill, whereas I believe at 26, in the current NBA landscape, he already crested it. He has several years left on this side of the hill but he's still further along than people mistake because of his age.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: No League for Old Men

It used to be a player's prime years were something like the ages 26-32/33. People would lose a step or two around 33/34 and become the old vets. MJ was the absolute without a doubt best player in the league until about age 38 or so. Karl Malone and Stockton played at a high level until around that age as well.

Now a days it seems like a player's prime years are something like 22-28/29. It seems like you lose a step around 30 or so. You could see it with Kobe and I think you'll see it with Lebron and others as well. And it definitely seems like players enter their prime earlier. It seems Lebron and Dwight entered their prime around 21/22.

I don't agree thought that the difference between Deandre Jordan and Dwight is small. There's still a huge difference. The difference between David Lee and Deandre Jordan is small.

It's just that it seems players hit their peak earlier and burn out quicker. I think it probably has something to do with kids being put in AAU ball and such at earlier stages and playing competitive year long ball much earlier and younger.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:39 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: No League for Old Men

The history of NBA players in no way supports this argument. If it did it would only be valid if a player was nothing more than an athlete, a brainless zombie that ran and jumped. You might be able to support this argument with players of limited skill, but when you bring up Chris Paul you ignore the fact that his greatest asset is purely cerebral. Is Chris Paul going to get Alzheimers on his 28th birthday and forget how to run a basketball team?
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:41 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: No League for Old Men

Well LeBron, Dwight, and Kobe are exceptions because they came straight out of high school. By the time Jordan entered the league (age wise) these guys had been playing professional basketball for 3-4 years.

Oh, and Jordan was the best player when he was playing for the Wizards in 2001? Because that's a 38 year old MJ. And that MJ was a fringe all star.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:41 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: No League for Old Men

It depends on your game, and your athleticism to basketball skills ratio. Players like Nash and Ginobili who rely on skills more than athleticism haven't skipped a beat in old age, and their biggest obstacle with age has been injuries.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:43 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: No League for Old Men

I am very interested to see how LeBron ages. He seems to have put in the work around his post game and we all saw last year that he's made great strides with his jumper. Once his athleticism fades he will still have the body/strength to be a top power forward in the league, he will just need to polish his repitore.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:44 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: No League for Old Men

I was thinking about this the other day...Rose, Durant, LeBron and Wade...guys are peaking at a really early age, and maybe wearing down faster too.

If you look at it like the two elevators with athleticism going down and IQ/craftiness going up, they're meeting at a younger age.

I made a thread similar to this awhile back about how years played and mileage overrides age, and you see it. Some of these guys are like 34 which isn't that old and look absolute toast..so coming in early doesnt really extend your career.

But like HKF said, just because you're not top 10 anymore doesnt mean you have to pack it in or you're not relevant. Chris Paul is such a great passer and Dwight is so strong and gifted on the boards they'll have value way past 3 years from now.

Yes, you fall off your peak earlier but with zone D and knowing you'll get calls you can play a long time as long as you're in shape.

Kobe is the oldest 33 ever too. I mean he could play halfway into this decade...and he's a guy that was an all star nearly two decades ago. He can retire today and be more than complete.
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