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Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
We all know veterans such as LeBron James and Steph Curry are going to put up huge numbers in 2019-20, barring injury. But what about some of the equally seasoned but less heralded players?
You know, the guys teams may not have built their offseasons around acquiring but who could be deciding factors in close games and come playoff time.
That’s who we’re looking for here, and we’ve identified 10 such players, listed in descending order by age.
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Aaron Gash/Associated Press
Regular-Season Minutes Played: 45,491
Postseason Minutes Played: 3,033
This isn’t a pity entry—Half Man, Half Amazing can still get it done in his bench role. Last season, he played 76 games for the youth-led Atlanta Hawks, averaging a respectable 7.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists in just 17.5 minutes per game.
Don’t take our word for it. Just ask New Orleans Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin, who openly recruited Carter on national television to join and help lead his new squad:
“Our big thing with Vince, and I think this is true of all veterans … when you go into a situation with other young players, the most important thing for you as a leader is that you’re playing significant minutes. And because you’re capable of doing that, the fit for him is find a team where he can do that. I hope we’re that team in terms of the one you’re drawn to.”
He can still get up there with the best of them too, showing that his all-world athleticism hasn’t completely disappeared. He’s of course no longer a star or a starter, but as a spot contributor and locker room leader, you could do a lot worse than Vinsanity.
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Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
Regular-Season Minutes Played: 37,034
Postseason Minutes Played: 4,724
There’s a sizeable difference in age from VC to Andre Iguodala, but you could say that with Carter and just about anyone. Iguodala is plenty seasoned (15 seasons) and coincidentally went from an Olympian to a role player like Carter too.
Of course, had he been on any other team than the Golden State Warriors the past six seasons, he would have assuredly put up more robust stat lines. He sacrificed individual glory for team success, and there’s always room for someone like that—especially when that someone can play lockdown perimeter defense and make plays when needed.
But defense isn’t Iguodala’s only strong suit. Iggy shines brightest on the grandest stages, as evidenced by his Finals MVP in 2015 and his three-point shooting numbers in 2018-19. After shooting 40.1 percent during 68 regular-season games on 61 attempts from the corner, Iggy converted 47.1 percent of his 34 postseason looks from those spots.
It’s unclear where he’ll wind up this coming season, but he’ll be a positive presence to whatever lineup he joins.
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Chuck Burton/Associated Press
Regular-Season Minutes Played: 21,660
Postseason Minutes Played: 2,910
JJ Redick has only gotten better, if anything, over the last few years, and he recorded a career-high 18.1 points per game last season.
He’s no longer just a standstill shooter like he was coming out of Duke many moons ago, although he’s still one of the game’s most lethal at launching from deep (39.7 percent last season on 8.0 attempts). That includes 42.9 percent from the corners, where Lonzo Ball should look to get him involved early and often.
Redick’s overall impact greatly affected the Philadelphia 76ers on both ends. His real plus-minus put him eighth in the NBA among shooting guards, and each of the Sixers’ five best lineups included him on the floor in 2018-19.
Despite landing sizeable contracts in his last few stops, he’s not generally thought of as a game-changer. It didn’t help that he recently signed with the New Orleans Pelicans—not exactly a go-to free-agency destination despite the Zion Williamson hoopla.
In New Orleans, he should continue to have a bright green light whenever he touches the ball, and expect Zion to pull defenders off him, just like Joel Embiid did in Philly the last couple of seasons.
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Karen Pulfer Focht/Associated Press
Regular-Season Minutes Played: 18,596
Postseason Minutes Played: 2,101
Don’t expect Joakim Noah to remain unsigned for long. He showed at the end of last season with the Memphis Grizzlies that he still has plenty left in the tank as a defensive disruptor, tenacious rebounder and clever passer.
Noah finished 23rd in the NBA in defensive real plus-minus among centers, and his per-36 numbers (15.5 points, 12.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists) suggest he can still be an effective backup 5 in the right situation.
He disappeared from sight after his disastrous, injury-plagued stint with the New York Knicks in 2016-17 and 2017-18, but he can still be a vocal leader and box score-filling contributor, even if it likely won’t be with the Los Angeles Lakers after some speculation he’d team up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis…at least for now, as Dwight Howard‘s “summer” contract is unguaranteed.
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