Older generations have always had critiques of where the game is going. Each generation, old heads critique how soft and easy the game has become. You can track this through podcasts, interviews, and any episode of the NBA on TNT with Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal. While revisionist history and recency bias can be debated ad nauseam, one of the few points retired players consistently make and agree upon is the necessity of vets.
The essence of this argument has merit, as the NBA is experiencing the highest level of talent than ever before. As a result, players are phasing out of the NBA at an earlier age than ever before. Moreover, as the talent level of the NBA rises, the age of players playing at a star level has gotten younger than ever. But in the year’s playoffs, a group of veterans across both Conferences have been crucial to their team’s success in the first round. We’ve pinpointed these veterans that are helping their teams advance with their leadership and on-court contributions.