Older teams are usually more successful when it comes to winning NBA titles, so there’s no surprise quite a few teams in the NBA playoffs have two or more veterans among the top 10 oldest players in the postseason, with the Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls and the San Antonio Spurs each represented by two players on this list.
Some players like Mike James won’t see a single second of basketball in the postseason, but there are those like Tim Duncan and Paul Pierce who are still vital pieces in their team’s plans and aspirations, while Ray Allen, Vince Carter, Manu Ginobili and Kevin Garnett are also playing a big role despite their age and limitations.
10th – Paul Pierce, Brooklyn Nets – 36
Born on October 13, 1977, Pierce is in his 16th NBA season and for the first time playing on a team not named the Boston Celtics. He is in his 11th playoff campaign, doing rather well on the aging Nets team, averaging 13.5 points per game during the season. He is slower and weaker physically than before, but it seems that his performance fluctuates depending on the opponents: The bigger the better so far.
9th – Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs – 36
Born on July 28, 1977, Ginobili managed to bounce back from his traumatic NBA finals finish and average 12.3 points per game for the Spurs while coming off the bench as usual, playing in 68 games.
8th – Nazr Mohammed, Chicago Bulls – 36
In his 16th NBA season (born on July 5, 1977) Mohammed played an impressive 80 games for the Bulls, averaging 7 minutes a night. He featured for two minutes in the postseason opening game vs the Wizards, and the last time he had more than 10 minutes of basketball in a game was back in early March.
7th – Vince Carter, Dallas Mavericks – 37
Born on January 26, 1977, Carter is playing in his 16th NBA season, doing quite well coming off the bench for the Dallas Mavericks. He averaged 11.9 points per game during the regular season, playing in 81 games for a second consecutive season, as the injuries that plagued the earlier parts of his career not in the way this time.
6th – Kevin Garnett, Brooklyn Nets – 37
Born on May 19, 1976 and into his 19th NBA season and his 14th postseason, Garnett is doing as well as one might expect from a player in the twilight of his career. He played in only 54 games this season for the Nets, averaging 6.5 points and 6.6 rebounds on 20.5 minutes a night, doing better in the center position than as a power forward next to Brook Lopez until the injury. Offense from him is something of a bonus these days, but he’s still solid on the boards and most of the time on defense.
5th – Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs – 37
Out of all the players on this list, Tim Duncan isn’t just the best but the most important to his team’s chances in the postseason. Born on April 25, 1976, Duncan doesn’t know what it’s like not to be in the playoffs once the regular season ends. No injury problems, just rest, made him play “only” 74 games this season, averaging 15.1 points and 9.7 rebounds.
4th – Mike James, Chicago Bulls – 38
James is signed on the Bulls as insurance, but it’s not very likely he’ll get any minutes this postseason. He did play 11 games at the beginning of the year as Chicago struggled coping with the Derrick Rose injury, but his last time on the floor was back in January.
3rd – Ray Allen, Miami Heat – 38
The Heat’s hero in the 2013 NBA finals with the huge game 6 shot declined a bit this season, averaging 9.6 points per game. As one might expect from an “old man” playing in his 18th NBA season, it’s been quite an up & down performance curve from him, which includes dropping in his 3-point accuracy to 37.5%.
2nd – Andre Miller, Washington Wizards – 38
Miller didn’t have a good time in Denver under Brian Shaw so after a period of being ‘frozen out’ waiting for a trade, he got his wish and became John Wall’s backup in Washington. Born on March 19, 1976, he averaged 3.8 points in 14.7 minutes a night for the Wizards and had a fine start to the series against the Bulls with 10 points in game 1.
1st – Derek Fisher, Oklahoma City Thunder – 39
Fisher, born on August 9, 1974, remains a big part of the Thunder’s bench effort, playing in 81 games this season and averaging 5.2 points per game. He is expected to shoot well when he’s open and bring the ball up the court before handing it off to someone more capable. Touching 40, he is still capable of that.