A new NBA season begins with five new faces on the list of the 10 oldest players in the league, joining those who are quite used to this distinction of being elderly – Vince Carter, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Andre Miller and Steve Nash.
Due to Ray Allen still without a team; and being either too bad to pick up or retired keeping Antawn Jamison, Derek Fisher, Mike James and Chauncey Billups out of the “top” 10 this time, newcomers like Paul Pierce, Nazr Mohammed, Pablo Prigioni, Manu Ginobili and Jason Terry suddenly became old enough to be featured.
Number 10: Paul Pierce, Washington Wizards – 37
Pierce, born on October 13, 1977, will be starting his 17th NBA season with his second team in two years after spending most of his career with the Boston Celtics, winning one NBA title there and making it to ten All-Star games. He experienced a significant drop in his production last season with just 13.4 points per game, the lowest of his career. That trend should continue despite a starting role on his new team as well.
Number 9: Jason Terry, Houston Rockets – 37
Born on September 15, 1977, Terry is beginning his 16th NBA season with a new team, the fifth of his career. After spending more than a decade between the Hawks and the Mavericks, which includes playing a big role in the 2011 Mavs championship, Terry has been with Boston and Brooklyn these last two years. He played only 35 games for the Nets last season, averaging just 4.5 points per game. He won’t be playing a lot for the Rockets as well.
Number 8: Nazr Mohammed, Chicago Bulls – 37
Born on September 5, 1977, Mohammed is kicking off his 17th NBA season and third with the Chicago Bulls. He has played for the 76ers, Hawks, Knicks, Spurs, Pistons, Bobcats, Thunder and Bulls throughout his career, winning the title in 2005 with San Antonio. He’s nothing more than a fringe player on the bench, averaging 7 minutes a nights for the Bulls last season, although he did appear in 80 games.
Number 7: Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs – 37
Born on July 28, 1977, this will be Ginobili’s 13th NBA season, all of them playing for the Spurs. His minutes keep dropping from year to year (22.8 a night last season), but he’s still one of the best bench players in the league, playing a big role (14.3 points per game) in the postseason for the San Antonio Spurs, helping the team win their fourth NBA championship with him on the team (five overall). As with almost every season for the last four years, this might be his last.
Number 6: Pablo Prigioni, New York Knicks – 37
Born on May 17, 1977, Prigioni is the second Argentine on this list. Unlike Ginobili, the NBA is a new experience for the Knicks’ point guard, arriving in the NBA in 2012 after more than a decade of European basketball. He’s the kind of player who does a lot of things that don’t show up on the stat sheet, making for some very unimpressive numbers, like 3.7 points and 3.2 assists through his short NBA career.
Number 5: Vince Carter, Memphis Grizzlies – 37
Born on January 26, 1977, it’s surprising to see Vince Carter still in the NBA considering how injury prone he was during large parts of his career. However, over the last three seasons he has missed only seven games combined, doing quite well as a scorer off the bench, averaging 11.9 points in 24.4 minutes for the Dallas Mavericks last year. An 8-time All-Star, Carter has also played for the Raptors, Nets, Magic and Phoenix Suns in his career. It’ll be his first season with the Grizzlies.
Number 4: Kevin Garnett, Brooklyn Nets – 38
Born on May 19, 1976, Garnett is still pushing on, although the dream of winning another NBA championship is gone and dead, unless someone trades him at some point to a team with a chance to win (not going to happen). A one-time MVP with the Timberwolves in 2004 and an NBA champion with the Celtics in 2008, Garnett has been in the NBA since 1995, and has struggled staying healthy in recent years, playing just 54 games last season for the Nets, averaging 6.5 points per game. It’s not going to look a lot better this season, probably his last.
Number 3: Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs: 38
Born on April 25, 1976, Tim Duncan enters his 18th NBA season with a very different momentum pushing him forward compared to Garnett, probably a player he dislikes, maybe even hates. Duncan keeps on ticking despite time suggesting he should be useless at this point. A two-time MVP and five-time NBA champion, Duncan averaging 16.3 points and 9.1 rebounds for the Spurs in the playoffs last season, ending the seven-year wait for another NBA title.
Number 2: Andre Miller, Washington Wizards: 38
Born on March 19, 1976, Miller was traded to the Washington Wizards last season after he and Brian Shaw didn’t really get along in Denver, resulting in Miller getting shut down for a while before finding a team to take him via trade. He’ll be playing in his 16th NBA season and on his sixth NBA team, playing in the past for the Cavs, Clippers, Nuggets (two different tenures), 76ers and Blazers before landing the John Wall backup job.
Number 1: Steve Nash, Los Angeles Lakers: 40
Born on February 7, 1974, Nash is the oldest player in the NBA heading into the season for a second consecutive time. Part of the incredible 1996 NBA draft, he’ll be playing (hopefully, as back problems once again are keeping him out) in his 19th NBA season, trying to somehow remain relevant for the Lakers, who are used to seeing him out with injury problems: He has played only 65 games for them over the last couple of years, including just 15 in 2013-2014, which almost led to his retirement.