Sunday, April 28, 2013

Are Derek Fisher, Kenyon Martin Starting an NBA Trend?

30-Somethings are dominating the NBA these days.  They're everywhere, making their presence felt in crunchtime.

Almost every team in the 2013 playoffs has at least one 30 year-old plus player making a difference:

Ray Allen, Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, Chris Anderson, Shane Battier/Miami Heat, Jason Kidd, Pablo Prigioni/New York Knicks, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, Paul Pierce/ Boston Celtics, Kirk Hinrich, Carlos Boozer/Chicago Bulls, Chauncey Billups/LA Clippers, Tayshaun Prince/Memphis Grizzlies, Kyle Korver/Atlanta Hawks, Andre Miller/Denver Nuggets, Nick Collison/OKC Thunder, Pau Gasol, Antawn Jamison/LA Lakers and Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, Matt Bonner, Tony Parker/San Antonio Spurs.

There are more 30 year-old plus players on the rosters of playoff teams, but not getting as much playing time:

Marcus Camby, Quentin Richardson/Knicks, Chris Wilcox/Celtics, Rashard Lewis, Mike Miller, Juwan Howard/Heat, Richard Jefferson/Golden St. Warriors and Boris Diaw/Spurs.

Then, there's the list of 30 year-old somethings not able to play because of injury:

Amar'e Stoudamire/Knicks, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Steve Nash, Steve Blake/Lakers.

Also, a couple of elder statesmen, Rasheed Wallace and Kurt Thomas, both playing for the Knicks earlier this season, were forced to retire because of injuries.

What makes 38 year-old Derek Fisher of the Thunder and 35 year-old Kenyon Martin of the Knicks different from the rest of the batch of 30 year-olds?

Fisher and Martin were signed very late in the season and there was less chance for them to be injured from the grind of an entire season.  The advantage for the Thunder and Knicks has been in receiving the benefits of Fisher and Martin's consistent and impacting play without giving up a lot or taking any big risks.

Should teams just wait to use these players at the end of the seasons instead of risking them for early and mid-season play?

Tracy McGrady was signed by the Spurs with one week to go in the regular season.  It remains to be seen if he will be a difference-maker, but he is healthy.  He has plenty of experience to draw from and plenty of disappointment to motivate him.

These late season signings of veterans have become more strategic every season.

The Heat added huge strength to their frontcourt with Chris Anderson (the Birdman).  The defending champs have shored up their defense and rebounding to make it that much tougher for any opponent to win a game or series.

Every team is aware of the potential of these 30-Something players.  The timing of the signing late in the season in order to make enough room for chemistry to form with teammates is what can boost a team to a higher level.

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