Watching Zach Randolph succeed in the NBA playoffs reminds me of pickup basketball at the gym.
There is always that one old man that has no athleticism at all, but continues to do his thing and before you know it, he has scored six times in the last nine possessions. The old guy will embarrass anyone he is playing against with a flurry of mid-range jump shots and several below-the-rim rebounds.
Randolph plays the same way as that old man at the gym at the highest level. Randolph may be the only 6’9″ player in the NBA that cannot dunk a basketball, but he also averaged 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game last season.
With Randolph in mind, I thought it would be fun to put together the “all-old man game” roster based on current NBA players that have an old man game.
The starting point guard on the “all-old man game” team has to be Steve Nash with two MVP awards, a three-time All-NBA first team player, more than 10,000 career assists and less than one dunk. A sure-fire sign that a player has an old man game is when they cannot dunk on a breakaway.
Finding a shooting guard for the team was difficult because the position lends itself to athleticism. Players such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are shooting guards, leading us all to think the spot is reserved for excellent athletes. So, the rules were bent just a little bit to allow Andre Miller to play the shooting guard.
Although Miller is technically a point guard, he is viewed as a combo-guard, which is a player that can play the point guard and the shooting guard spot. One thing is for sure about Miller; he does not rely on athleticism to be successful on the court.
Miller looks like he’s added a few pounds during his 15-year NBA career. Miller’s best feature is his ability to spot up and shoot the basketball, but it shouldn’t necessarily be called a jump shot. Miller barely gets off the ground, making his long-range shot look almost like an old school set shot. There is nothing that represents and old man game better than a set shot.
The starting small forward for the team has to be Paul Pierce. The lack of definition in Pierce’s arms, headband and unkempt facial hair is a great start, but Pierce’s game seals his place. Pierce jogs down the floor, goes immediately to the high post and calls for the ball. Then Pierce faces up, pump fakes, jab steps, pump fakes and hits a fall-away 18-footer.
The starting power forward is Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk also features a fall-away mid-range jumper with a minimal vertical jump. Dirk is also an excellent shooter and plays solid defense by positioning and basketball intelligence, which is a perfect representation of an old man game.
Of course, the starting center and team captain is Zach Randolph. He is the perfect embodiment of an old man game and so he has earned his spot as captain.
Coming off the bench would be Nene, Luis Scola, Mike Conley and Mike Miller. The team would be coached by Gregg Popovich and the general manager would be Larry Bird.
I see this team winning about 60 games in the regular season and being a real contender for a championship because they would out-execute and outsmart all of the other teams in the league, despite their lack of athleticism.