Insider-14 players in the twilight of their careers

Insider-14 players in the twilight of their careers

Postby JSM on Wed Oct 01, 2003 8:58 pm

This was an article in INSIDER that I found pretty interesting, list sounds pretty accurate to me besides Karl being on there.

Vlade Divac-Chain smoking, questionable conditioning methods, brutal summers spent in the service of the motherland and a long, productive career are taking their toll. Last season, Divac (35) really began showing his age. At times, his play still bordered on brilliant because of his superb passing ability and his text book flopping. But far too often, his game slipped below the standard we've all come to enjoy, and the results left the Kings reeling. Now you understand their desperation and willingness to overpay Brad Miller. With Miller in the fold, Divac's minutes will dwindle. He'll still play a key role on the team in the 4th quarter and preseason, but after that? He'll be a 36-year-old free agent. His future in Sacramento will be questionable. If Divac wants a ring, this may be his last chance.

Reggie Miller-An ankle injury reduced Miller to just a shadow of his former self last season. Pacers' brass claims that he's completely recovered and ready to reclaim his starting role on the team. But at 38, Miller's inability to create his own shot has severely reduced his ability to be effective. Plus, players like Ron Artest and second-year guard Fred Jones are pining for playing time. While his leadership on this young team is priceless, his days of dropping 20 points a night appear to be over.

Karl Malone-It's almost blasphemy to put Malone in this group. We've been predicting his demise for years, but Malone's superior conditioning has kept him plugging away at a Hall of Fame pace. However, Father Time eventually will catch up. Malone turns 40 this year. With much less to do on a super stocked Lakers squad this may be the year that he starts showing his age.

Eddie Jones-32 doesn't sound too old to me, but given the Heat's new youth movement, you can go ahead and call Jones Miami's crypt keeper. Jones' offensive production, and, even more importantly, his defense has waned slightly the past 2 years. Dwyane Wade was drafted to ultimately take Jones' place. Wade is more athletic, a better defender and is a better fit in Pat Riley's game plan. Given that Jones is virtually impossible to trade because of the huge contract that pays him millions until the age of 65, Jones' production should start dropping off considerably -- if not this season, then next season for sure.

Antonio Davis-It's hard to believe that Davis is 34 years old, but it's true and the Raptors know it. They worked hard to shop him this summer, but too many teams were scared away from the three years, $37 million left on his contract. There aren't many teams willing to pay a 34-year-old center $12 million a season -- especially one who shoots just 40% from the field. There aren't any teams willing to pay a 37-year-old $13 million a year. Davis has tried to force the issue by moving his family back to Chicago. We think Sun City may have been a more appropriate resting place.

Nick Van Exel-What was Chris Mullin thinking? Van Exel may have been brilliant in the playoffs last season, but he was brilliant on 31-year-old shaky knees. The Mavs got that type of production out of him in the postseason by keeping his minutes low during the regular season. The Warriors don't have that luxury. What happens when you mix a bad attitude and bad knees with too many minutes playing in a losing cause? The Warriors of old.

Cliff Robinson- Speaking of Mullin, his deal for Robinson wasn't much better. While it still baffles me that the Pistons offered him an extension last season, at least they were smart enough to read the writing on the wall and move him before everything gives out. Robinson might end up being a good mentor to Mike Dunleavy . . . as long as they NEVER discuss how to step up in the playoffs. The older Uncle Cliffy gets, the longer nap he needs in April and May. Fortunately, with the playoffs looking way out reach for Golden State, the Warriors probably won't need to wake him up.

Glenn Robinson-The Big Dog is 30 years old, but in dog years, that's like 210. While it's clear he can still score at will, I foresee a Glen Rice-like downfall this season. We know for a fact that elderly people live longer when they keep feeding and dressing themselves as long as they can. With Allen Iverson doing most of the feeding and dressing for the Sixers, will Robinson's scoring skills start eroding?

Toni Kukoc-He played brilliantly for the Bucks last season and almost single handedly propelled them into the playoffs. Clearly the fire stills burns for Toni. Still, Kukoc (35) looks like Methuselah compared to the rest of the team. Can he muster the energy to bail out a young team with only slim chances of winning?

Vin Baker-It's great to see that Vin Baker has got his drinking under control. His life will be better for it, but I'm not so sure about his game. He just doesn't have the motor that he used to, and in Danny Ainge's new up-tempo system, Baker could easily become an anchor that drags the rest of the team down.

Derrick Coleman-He's 36-years-old and played 14 more years than he wanted to in the league.

Scottie Pippen-Everyone thought he would retire at the end of last season, but expect him to go out in style by leading his Bulls back to the playoffs for the first time since he left the team 6 years ago.

Grant Hill-Even if Hill's ankle does start feeling better next summer, he'll be a 32-year-old player who hasn't played significantly for 3+ seasons. While a comeback may be inspiring, chances are his days of being even a 2nd-tier player in the NBA are over. As the Magic brass continue to show, it's hard to just let go and say goodbye.
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Postby rydjorker121 on Wed Oct 01, 2003 9:44 pm

don't agree with Kukoc, Van Exel and Jones...don't think Karl would see much of a downfall either..otherwise pretty accurate list
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Postby smilez on Thu Oct 02, 2003 2:27 pm

I agree i dont think Nick showed his age. I think he could still play alot.
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Postby FabFourLakers on Thu Oct 02, 2003 7:04 pm

TOTALLY disagree with NVE, Malone, and Glenn Robinson...

NVE is clutch and he'll be alot liek Gary Payton, he'll stay consistent and will always provide scoring for every team...Malone has stayed solid through out his career, staying in shape, workin out every day, playin ball..etc etc and G-Rob hasnt lost his touch yet, he jus got lost in ATL cuz nobody ever came to tha games....
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