People love defining things. Turns out the era between Generation X and the Millennials, something around 1977 to 1983, is now coined Xennials according to some professor in Australia, with the numbers to back him up. All the while I thought that’s Generation Y, but who cares? What’s important is it gave us an excuse to comb through the older generation of NBA players, and pick out the 10 best Xennials still doing their thing in the league.
10. Jamal Crawford
Crawford, who turned 37 last March, remains the same scoring machine off the bench, only less efficient each year. This season the Clippers were 13.1 points better per 100 possessions when he wasn’t playing. A 3-time Sixth Man of the Year, Crawford averaged 12.3 points per game through 82 games. He has one more fully guaranteed season at $14.2 million.
9. Tony Allen
Allen turned 35 last January, and put in another solid season for the Grizzlies, averaging 9.1 points and 5.5 rebounds through 71 games. Surprisingly, he played 27 minutes a night, the highest numbers of his career. While he isn’t the defender he used to be not long ago, he’s still very useful when he’s on the floor, with a +1.4 net rating, and the Grizzlies being 1.3 points better per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor.
8. Tyson Chandler
The Suns expected Chandler to become a building block for something greater when they got him from the Dallas Mavericks, but he’s turned into a perennial trading rumor, while putting up nice numbers, averaging 8.4 points and 11.5 rebounds per game last season. He’ll turn 35 before the beginning of next season, and remains quite important under the post, with the Suns being 3.1 points per 100 possessions better when he’s on the floor. He has two more years on his deal worth a total of $26.5 million.
7. Kyle Korver
After almost 5 years in Atlanta, Korver was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he did what he’s been doing for quite some time on NBA floors: Hit open shots, averaging 10.7 points while shooting 48.5% from beyond the arc. Turning 36 last March, Korver is a free agent heading into this offseason.
6. Tony Parker
The 35 year-old Frenchman is entering the final phase of his career with the Spurs and the NBA in general. His minute average (25.2) was the lowest of his career, while his per minute scoring ratio was the 2nd lowest of his career. Maybe the worst news for him, the Spurs’ net rating without him was better by over 3 points per 100 possessions. Parker has one more year worth $15.4 million on his deal.
5. Pau Gasol
When you’re writing about old NBA players, never be surprised when a lot of Spurs pop up on the list. Gasol, almost 37, averaged 12.4 points and 7.8 rebounds for the Spurs. playing just 25.4 minutes a night (first time in his career averaging under 30). He finished with a +6.8 net rating during the season, but the Spurs were 2 points better per 100 possessions without him. He is a free agent, but plans to re-sign with the Spurs.
4. Joe Johnson
Johnson was used sparingly by the Jazz last season (23.6 minutes), but leaned on him in the playoffs and got a lot more for it, including some of his ‘Iso Joe’ specialities. Johnson turned 36 a few days ago, and has one more year left on his deal with the Jazz.
3. Zach Randolph
Randolph, soon to be 36, became a bench player for the first time since his early days in the league. The Grizzlies big man averaged 14.1 points and 8.2 boards in under 25 minutes a night, posting a +0.5 net rating. Randolph is a free agent and for the first time since 2009, seems more likely to play somewhere other than Memphis.
2. Dirk Nowitzki
Nowitzki turned 39 recently, and is also a free agent after the Mavericks declined the second year of his $50 million deal. He’s likely to return on a more team-friendly contract. Nowitzki went down to 26 minutes a night last season, averaging 14.2 points per game. The Mavs were 1.7 points better per 100 possessions with him on the floor.
1. Dwyane Wade
Wade turned 35 in January, and has one more season to go with the Chicago Bulls (opted into the second year), unless they buy him out. He averaged 18.3 points per game while playing 29.9 minutes a night, missing 22 games. The Bulls, however, were 4.8 points per 100 possessions better without him on the floor, and he also finished with a -2.5 net rating.