I've always liked old guys, so recently I thought it would only be fair to rank some of the older guys around the league, and see how the "team" of them would do in the real NBA. I'll probably be ranking them by general skill. It will also recognize the people who have been balling in the NBA for so, so long. Much respect to them.
The cutoff is that you must be born on or before Dec. 31st, 1973. This may seem arbitrary, but it makes it a whole lot easier to sort through the Yahoo! Rosters.
All players who are still officially on NBA rosters and have not officially filed retirement papers are eligible. (Comeon, I gotta make this fun!)
3 Players Ranked for each position (to make a 15 man roster), and I'll list Honourable Mentions along the way.
Starter- Shaquille O'Neal
Making a decision between these big men was really, really hard. 2-3 years ago, this decision would have been pie. But the fact still remains that Shaq can rebound much, much better than the other two. True, his defense is about equal and his scoring, which used to be better, has gone down to their level. But if you look at the rbounds this guys got last year, he's a monster. As Shaq himself would say, "I'm the baddest 36 year old on the planet, and I'm looking forward to another 10 years of my NBA career".
Backup- Dikembe Motumbo
Dikembe probably won't play this season, but he's still eligible according to the rules above. He was a benchwarmer for a while, but when Yao got injured, this guy exploded and filled the 7'6" hole remarkably well, leading the team to a #5 playoff seed appearance. Still, his 43 year old body would probably not be able to take a full 82 game schedule at peak performance. So, he'd get light minutes in a backup role.
Benchwarmer- Alonzo Mourning
I know, the words "benchwarmer" and "Alonzo Mourning" should never, ever go together. But he's only 3rd on the Depth Chart of this team....technically. With these big men so old, fatigue and injures are a large factor. Everyone is basically a hair apart, and they'll help each other out a lot and play naught-equal minutes. Still, Alonzo gets 3rd because he retired as a backup to Shaq. It's not GREAT reasoning, but I had to have something!
There are no other Over-35 Centers in the NBA. Imagine that.
Starter- P.J. Brown
Okay, P.J. took a half season, but the dude is hardly missing a step. His 12 foot jumper isn't near what it used to be, but his defense is still among the best in the league. Pair him with any of the 3 Centers above, and nobody's daring to enter your lane. He could probably have another full season if he wanted, and he's pretty well ahead of the #2 PF on this list.
Backup- Kurt Thomas
He used to be an average Power Forward, but now he's kinda below average. In the pack of his career, he shot 3s sometimes. He's fallen below the radar as of late, and this journeyman will most likely have a quiet retirement.
Benchwarmer- Robert Horry
Put this guy as the 12th man and bring him in for the last few seconds of the game. He's a respectable player, but he's only in the NBA because
A. He's a big man who can Shoot 3s
B. He's Mr.Clutch
C. He's on the Spurs, also known as the NBA retirement club. (Indeed, they have the most players on this list at 5).
Honourable Mention- Theo Ratliff
The last time I saw this guy playing basketball, Allen Iverson was playing Kobe Bryant in the NBA finals. What was he doing back then, you ask? He was taking up space on the 76ers roster, of course. Ever since then, I've only seen him on the injury list of Team X, taking up 20 zillion dollars in salary cap space. If he could walk without crutches, he could've probably been a valuable shot-blocker on the team.
Starter- Grant Hill
Some might make an argument for Bruce Bowen (Spurs fans), but to me it's pretty obvious that Grant Hill is the better player. He may fly above the rim like he used to, but the dude has turned into such a fantastic team and defensive player that it almost doesn't matter. Always finding the open man and never missing a defensive assignment. And, if you want him to score, he can do that occasionally too.
Backup- Bruce Bowen
A great guy off the court. A serial killer on the court. In two sentences, that's Bruce Bowen. If you see interviews with him or if you happened to see him on the street, you'd think that he's a pretty nice guy. If you see him play at opposing NBA arenas, you'd think that he was Timothy McVeigh. He plays an increbily dirty, ruthless style of defense that always drives the opposing team and the referees crazy. An asset to our team, but not an asset to our PR.
Benchwarmer- Eric Piatkowski
If you're a newer NBA fan, you're probably thinking, "Who the hell is Eric Piatkowski?" If you're an older NBA fan, you're probably thinking, "Why the hell is Eric Piatkowski still in the NBA?" If you're Doctor Who, you're probably not thinking about the NBA at all. Reguardless, he is easily the weakest link on the roster,and would probably be cut to make room for another guard.
There are no other Over-35 Small Forwards in the NBA.
Starter- Michael Finley
Eddie Jones would have been here not too long ago, but he has taken a big dip recently in his production, while Michael Finley has stayed largely the same. Not at his former All-Star High-Flying level, but still a darn-good scorer. And, if you look up and down this lineup, a darn-good scorer is exactly what this team needs.
Backup- Eddie Jones
He's Michael Finley, but a little bit worse. He did badly in Dallas last year, but his overall talent is probably better than his stats are showing.
Benchwarmer- Brent Barry
He almost plays the same role here as he does on the Spurs. Come off the bench occasionally, hit some 3s.
Honourable Mention- Lindsey Hunter
The eternal Piston used to be a pretty decent player, but his minutes are slowly disintegrating. Played in only 28 games last season with an average of 9 minutes, so he easily misses this list.
Starter- Jason Kidd
This team is stacked with Point Guards. It's really easy to argue that any of them deserve 2nd place, but Jason Kidd is the easy pick for first. Arguably the only All-Star on this list, and is still treated as such by his team.
Backup- Bobby Jackson
Okay, this decision might spark come controversy (as if there's some big controversy over these lists). But this team needs scoring, and that's what Showtime brings to the table.
Benchwarmer- Darrell Armstrong
An unselfish and extremely defensively tough Point Guard. In his late 30s he still manages to be a high-energy player, and looks like he has 4 lungs (Bob Cousy only had 3). You gotta respect that in a guy.
Honourable Mention #1- Sam Cassell
Probably the best guy to be left out of this team. Performed exceptionally, even last year somewhat. But, that's only on paper. If you watch this guy on the floor, he's extremely selfish and likes to force shots. Kind of like pretending he's a young Allen Iverson. Proof here. I just don't think he would help the team out much. But if you go by sheer talent, he's probably 2nd best. Lastly, any blurb about Sam Cassell wouldn't be complete without giving him props for taking the title of the NBAs ugliest man from Jeff Hornacek. Next up? Greg Oden.
Honourable Mention #2- Damon Stoudamire
Production has been way down over the last couple years, as he was left to rot in Memphis. He signed on to the Spurs as a last grab for glory, I guess. He can still help them out a bit though.
Honourable Mention #3- Eric Snow
That's right, Eric Snow is still in the NBA, hanging around on the Cavaliers. Back in the day, he wasn't much better than Piatkowski.
So, how would the team do?
Well, first off, it's obvious that the team doesn't have a lot of sheer talent. But what it doesn't have in talent it makes up for in sheer depth and defense. They have so many former stars that one of them is bound to step up and have a great day.
Still, scoring is a big problem. O'Neal and P.J. Brown are defenders, while Grant Hill and Jason Kidd are mainly passers. This leaves all of the scoring on Finley, which is a bad sign post 2003. Still, Jackson, Thomas, and Jones could come off of the bench for scoring support without giving up too much D.
This team would be formidable, but by no means excellent. I'd wager about 45-50 wins, with a 1st round upset and maybe, just maybe, a Conference Championship.
How many wins do you think they'd get? How would they do in the playoffs? Vote in the poll and/or post a comment below.