10 NBA Veterans Who Will Struggle Mightily In 2013-14
10 NBA Veterans Who Will Struggle Mightily In 2013-14
No one has ever gone undefeated in the NBA; no one except for father time, that is. Father time will continue to triumph over the careers of players year in and year out. While some may last longer than others, all will eventually fall. Just a few days ago we saw the retirement of questionable future Hall-of-Famer, Allen Iverson. Just a year ago, Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd was suited up and playing for the New York Knicks. You never know what can happen in one year's time in the NBA. NBA years are similar to dog years. The entire landscape of the organization has shifted from the start of last season to the beginning of this season.
With the new season comes new opportunities for younger players and fading opportunities for older veterans. While some NBA players do manage to age like wine, their taste always eventually begins to run out. Like every year, this season will be the start of the decline for some of our favorite veteran players. It's tough to watch guys you spent a huge chunk of your life watching slowly start to be forgotten as their skills diminish and the talent around them improves. The veterans we're all used to start get shoved further and further out of sight.
This season may be the last hoorah for a lot of widely respected players. If not, it'll be the year when things started to go south. I do wish some of these players could last forever, entertaining us with their talent on the court and wild antics off the court, but the truth is that everything has to come to end. With that being said, I have compiled a list of 10 NBA veterans who will struggle mightily in 2013-14.Brian Anderson is a NBA writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrAnderson035 “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google
9. Danny Granger
After only playing five games last year, Danny Granger may have lost his place on the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers went 45-31 without Granger, also managing to get all the way to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat. It's obvious that Granger won't have a large role, if any. I don't expect him to be in a Pacers uniform for too much longer.
8. Pau Gasol
The trouble surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers is no secret. With Kobe Bryant out with an injury, their possible future with Dwight Howard in the past and no primary scoring option, the Lakers have to climb over walls before they even attempt to jump over hurdles. The Lakers did surprise everyone with a win over the Los Angeles Clippers on opening night, but their starting lineup sat the entire time as the Lakers made their final push to victory. Gasol is an average player who's stuck in a bad situation, which is going to make for a disastrous season.
7. Dirk Nowitzki
Last season marked the first time since his rookie season that Dirk Nowitzki averaged below 17.5 points per game. Nowitzki only managed to score 17.3 points per game last season. I think everyone is with me when I say that I expected a lot more from the smooth seven-foot assassin. I watched him put on one of the best NBA Finals performances I could ever remember after he derailed LeBron James and the Miami Heat in 2011; Nowitzki seemed invincible. After that seemingly flawless championship series, Dirk has rapidly continued to slide. With the addition of gunner, Monta Ellis, I think the Dallas Mavericks are preparing to head in a new direction away from the likes of Nowitzki.
6. Amar'e Stoudemire
It's hard to imagine that just three years ago, Amar'e Stoudemire was putting up more than 25 points per game, dominating and pumping fear into anyone who defended him. Now, Stoudemire is just a fraction of the dominating player he once was. Reoccurring serious injuries may have already sealed Stoudemire's fate. There's no doubt that he's still a productive player, but I'll be surprised to see him play more than 40 games this season. Eventually, the New York Knicks will have to move on, forcing Stoudemire to do the same. Amar'e has one last shot at redemption this season. He says he feels healthy and ready, but only time will tell if this veteran still has something left in the tank.
5. Kevin Garnett
I'm really hoping I'm wrong on this one. I love Kevin Garnett and the energy he brings to the game. You know he'd play forever if he could, but we know that just won't be the case. The wear and tear of his lengthy NBA career has caught up with him over the last four years or so. He's slowly and steadily been on the decline ever since his Boston Celtics won the championship against the Los Angeles Lakers in 2008. Garnett is now with the newly puzzled together Brooklyn Nets, and he'll be filling a role that he's never had to fill before in his career. Unlike it was in Boston, KG will no longer be the center of attention, and he may not even be the fifth best player on his team. His role will be small and his numbers will take a dip. Things look like they are coming to an end for Garnett's Hall-of-Fame basketball career.
4. Manu Ginobili
Manu Ginobili has been an extremely fun player to watch for so many years. I can't even recall the countless times he's left me angry after hitting a late shot to bury my team for the game. Ginobili is just one of those players who command respect. With his limited ability and lack of eye-popping athleticism, it's truly remarkable that he's done some of the things that he's done on a basketball court. Especially catching a flying bat with his bare hands; that's something you'd only expect a player of LeBron James' caliber to be able to do, right? If you ask Ginobili now, he'd tell you that eventually age will take away your bat catching ability and most of your hair. His poor performance in last year's NBA Finals was a preview of things to come this season. If it weren't for the excellence of the San Antonio Spurs, Ginobili wouldn't be able to shine as much as he has in recent years.
3. Kevin Martin
I would wishing the best for Kevin Martin if he gave a little more effort in Oklahoma City last year, but he didn't so now he'll be fading into non-existence pretty soon. Seriously, after watching Martin stand around waiting for screens and spot up jumpers all year, it became obvious that he's not the same player that he once was. If he couldn't rejuvenate himself on the Thunder there's no way he'll find his way on the Minnesota Timberwolves. The T-Wolves aren't complete pushovers, but they're just not as powerful as a team the Thunder were a year ago. Martin's 14 points per game mostly came on handouts from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Martin doesn't posses the ability to find his own shot anymore. Although, his opening night stat line against the Orlando Magic of 23 points looked pretty good, it actually came on a pretty bad 6-of-19 shooting, as Martin went 9-for-9 from the stripe. Look for K-Mart to shoot himself out of a job in the NBA.
2. Dwyane Wade
I know a lot of people are going to raise their eyebrow at this selection, especially since it's so high up on the list. Dwyane Wade is another player who put up his lowest point per game average since his rookie season; after averaging 21.2 points per game last season. On the flip-side of things, Wade managed to reach the best mark of his career as he shot 52 percent from the field. Give or take, Wade has been up and down as of late. One thing that has kept Wade down has been his health. He's yet to play a full 82 game season since he's been in the league. Wade has missed a combined 46 games in the last two regular seasons. A mixture of spotty play and injuries have dimmed the lights on Wade's future. During last year's playoffs, Wade only helped his team out by putting up 15.9 points per game and shooting around 25 percent from beyond the arch. To start the 2013-14 season, Wade has already missed one of two games and is only averaging 13 points per game. Beware Miami Heat fans.
1. Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo is the Gilligan of the NBA. He was left alone on a green island with no help in sight as the world watches on. Everything and everyone involved with the Boston Celtics' 2008 championship team is gone. That includes former teammates Kevin Garnett andPaul Pierce, who are currently aboard a cruise ship that's headed for land. Then there's head coach Doc Rivers, who split in hopes of actually being apart of a team that'll be contending for a title anytime soon. Not to mention the fact that Rondo himself is coming off a serious injury. Unlike most of the veterans mentioned before him, Rondo will bounce back. It's just a dark time for the Celtics. Hopefully they'll be able to hold onto their All-Star point-guard if things continue to spoil. If Rondo leaves so does all hope for the city of Boston.