A basketball fan is always concerned about his favorite team’s health and aging stars. In regards to the Los Angeles Lakers, fans have to start being concerned about Kobe Bryant’s (31) durability as he has logged a tremendous amount of minutes for a player in his early 30’s. Derek Fisher turned 35 years old in August.
We often hear references to the San Antonio Spurs aging stars. Tim Duncan will turn 34 this year and Manu Ginobili turned 32 in July.
The Cavs, though a relatively young team, have to be concerned about the amount of minutes (and pounding) Shaq can endure. Shaq will turn 38 in March. Cav’s fans will say they have the flexibility to just replace Shaq with Zyrdunas Ilgauskas if he were to get hurt. If I were a Cavs fan, I would not be so quick to spit out that rebuttal as Big Z turned 34 in June and has had a long history of injury problems, dating back to his early 20’s.
How about Kevin McHale’s favorite team? The Dallas Mavs are going to experience the same concerns as the above teams. Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Erick Dampier and Tim Thomas are all either over 31 or turning 31 this season. Jason Kidd is turning 37 in March. The Mavs are, arguably, the most fragile team in the league.
The Boston Celtics, often questioned for their aging core of stars, are now dealing with Kevin Garnett (33), Paul Pierce(32), Rasheed Wallace (35), Eddie House (31) and Ray Allen (34), all over the age of 31.
With most the preseason’s focus on Kevin Garnett’s recovery, Rajon Rondo’s emergence as an all-star and the additions of Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels, the forgotten man has been, arguably, the team’s hardest working.
Ray Allen’s work ethic has become stuff of legend. Allen often declares that his workout and practice routines are directly related to his ability to continue to contribute as he is now playing into his mid 30’s.
In an interview given to the Boston Globe yesterday, Allen said,
There are times when my body’s feeling great that I have to take advantage of it,’’ Allen said when asked why he dedicated himself to getting into pristine shape. “I always said the more we run, the better it makes the rest of our game so I’m just trying to just remember to get up and down the floor. I focused on getting my body fat low but putting more muscle weight on and having my legs good. I think of all the goals during the season, one of the biggest for us is to stay healthy.’’
When asked about his ankles, Allen said,
“I was telling Marquis [Daniels] earlier, all the drills that we do defensively, when I came here in ’08 . . . every time I stepped down, I felt like crunchiness, like it was just stinging me. But training camp-wise, this is the best my feet have felt.’’
It’s apparent that the post season the last two years has been a great topic of criticism for Ray’s dipped shooting percentage and inability to find open looks. I was never very concerned about Ray last season. I understood that, with KG injured, the court was going to get smaller and Ray would be the player to suffer most.
I do have to point out, however, that during the Chicago series, Ray notched a 50 point performance and hit several game clinching shots.
It is often said that “shooters never stop shooting”. I couldn’t agree more with the philosophy, especially when it pertains to Ray Ray.
Ray Allen has always been one of my favorite NBA talents. His on court heroics are well documented, his classy nature has always been admired and his love for the camera sometimes cracks me up. I must point, in reference to that love for the camera, though Ray ALWAYS know where the camera is and when it’s directed towards him, he never allows that love to become obnoxious or distracting to his play.
In closing, I would like to say, Ray may be 0-20 from the field with 20 seconds left int he game and I would still want the ball in his hands.
Nick Gelso covers the Boston Celtics and NBA for Boston Sports Then and Now. You can check out more of his great work on his blog: The Boston Celtics News Station. Check out his special contest this month and register to win a special piece of Larry Bird Memorabilia.