As the NBA lockout rages on, one area of concern for veteran squads is the possibility of a lost season and a lost year for their older players. Teams such as the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, and Boston Celtics are teams at the top of this category as their core have logged plenty of on-the-court mileage.
But don’t tell that to Celtics’ Ray Allen as he thinks age is nothing but a number and feels the lockout will have no affect on Boston’s aged core.
“I don’t think so,” Allen told the Boston Herald on Monday when asked if a lockout could doom the Big Three era in Boston. “They’re not going to send us away because possibly we miss a season. We’re not going to say we’re done and we’re not going to play anymore. I still have a lot left in me and I’m sure that Kevin feels the same. At this stage of the game I’m sure he’s rejuvenated and he’ll be ready to go.”
In fact, Allen goes on to say the possibility of additional time off will only do wonders for Boston’s “Big 3,” and he has a point.
Let’s face it, older teams like Boston can stand to use the extra time away from the court. If anything it will just prolong their time in the NBA. It would mean less wear-and-tear, less minutes on their knees, and a chance to make sure any nagging injuries are completely healed.
There’s a good chance some younger players on the roster can lighten the load off Garnett, Allen, and Pierce. Rajon Rondo has proven more than capable of carrying the team, Jeff Green should be better after spending more time in Boston’s system (if he, a restricted free agent, is retained), Glen Davis will provide much needed energy (if he, an unrestricted free agent, returns), and rookie JaJuan Johnson might be just what the Celtics need to give Garnett some relief. And no older player in the NBA is more than physically fit is Allen. And by “physically fit” I mean Allen is a freak of nature. Chances are high he would be more than ready once the season begins.
But the same can go for the Mavs and Spurs. The Mavs proved it is not just a young man’s game as they went on to win the 2011 title, and the Spurs ran all over the NBA during the regular season before running into the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs. If there is a lockout which subsequently results in a shortened season as in 1999, then the precedent is there to show it might just favor the older team.
The 1999 Spurs were not young by any means. The team had players such as Mario Elie, Jerome Kersey and Avery Johnson. Sean Elliott and David Robinson were at the beginning their decline. That team steam rolled over younger teams such as the Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trailblazers, and the Los Angeles Lakers en route to their first of four NBA titles.
But as Allen says, additional time off perhaps is what the doctor ordered for Boston. And it’s not just the physical aspect for Allen, it’s also mental.
“When you lose a season like that, you come back and you’re ready to get after it. It will fuel our fire, and enable us to go after it a little more next year.”