Considering the NBA retirement age, would these NBA players hang the boots in 2023?
The fast-paced game of basketball requires players to exert themselves both on offense and defense, despite the smaller court size when compared to baseball and football fields. LaMelo Ball has been noted by NBA’s Advanced Stats as covering the most distance among all players, averaging 2.77 miles per game, with Fred VanVleet coming in a close second at 2.76 miles.
To play substantial minutes in basketball, players must uphold their physical fitness. However, the extended regular season often leads to injuries. If a player fails to stay in good shape, they may face decreased playing time or an abrupt end to their career. Although players may wish to postpone the inevitable, ultimately, Father Time triumphs.
Despite their lengthy NBA careers, these players are no longer performing at their peak level and are expected to retire after the 2022-23 season due to their limited court time and decreased contributions. However, their younger teammates can benefit from their extensive experience and knowledge.
NBA Players Who May Be Retiring After the 2023 Season
1) JaVale McGee
In the 2019-20 season, the center from the University of Nevada had an average of 12 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. However, three years later, he is now playing for the Dallas Mavericks and only gets limited playing time, averaging 4.2 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 0.3 assists. The Mavericks already have Christian Wood and Dwight Powell in the position, making them well-equipped
If JaVale McGee decides to retire from the NBA, it would be a noteworthy conclusion to the career of one of the league’s most renowned players in a supporting role. It’s easy to forget that he has contributed to three NBA championship victories by executing his duties on those teams.
2) Thaddeus Young
In the 2020-21 season, Thaddeus Young received the NBA Hustle Award for his remarkable hustle statistics, including his proficiency in setting screens and diving for loose balls. While this recognition is commendable, it is noteworthy that Young nearly accomplished a double-double (15.1 points, nine rebounds) during the 2015-16 season with the Brooklyn Nets.
Although initially recognized as a skilled player on both offense and defense, the seasoned athlete’s abilities have significantly deteriorated during his sophomore year with the Toronto Raptors. As of March 11, his average performance has dwindled to only 4.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game. Despite being officially included in the team’s roster, he has yet to participate in any games due to the exceptional performances of Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Jakob Poeltl, Chris Boucher, and Precious Achiuwa.
3) George Hill
One NBA player who may want to think about retiring is George Hill. The 36-year-old point guard has had a long career, playing for eight different teams, including two separate stints with the Pacers. He was with the franchise from 2011 to 2016 and played in 55 playoff games during that time. Although Hill hasn’t been a significant contributor in recent years, his veteran leadership is still valuable to a young Pacers team. His experience could help guide the team’s up-and-coming players. If Hill chooses to retire, he will do so in his hometown of Indianapolis.
As per recent reports, Hill has conveyed his wish to keep playing basketball and has no intentions of retiring anytime soon. Nevertheless, in the event of his deciding to call it quits, he has explicitly stated his desire to conclude his career as a Pacers player. Hill has been an outstanding basketball ambassador in Indianapolis for more than a decade and has become a revered personality in the city. His contributions to the sport and the community will be etched in memory forever.
4) LeBron James
LeBron James, a 38-year-old basketball player with 20 seasons of experience under his belt and currently playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, should contemplate retirement, in my opinion. While I understand that this viewpoint may not be well-received by his ardent supporters, I believe the King must step down soon.
Do not misunderstand me, I have great admiration for LeBron James and regard him as one of the NBA’s finest players of all time. Nonetheless, I think that retiring in 2023 is the best decision for him. His legacy is already established, and he has accomplished unparalleled success in his career, including becoming the all-time leading scorer. He has nothing left to demonstrate on the court, and it is time for him to concentrate on his personal life and other pursuits.
His impressive durability can be attributed to his meticulous self-care and strict fitness regimen, enabling him to remain a valuable player despite minor injuries. However, there are signs of his decline, and it’s unlikely that the Lakers will be contenders for a championship. If he were to retire now, he could avoid the unfortunate fate of being overshadowed by younger players and relegated to a role player.
Despite this, his competitive drive and desire to play alongside his eldest son, who will be eligible for the NBA in 2024, may motivate him to continue playing until then. He is currently under contract with the Lakers until that year and is one of the highest-paid players in the league. Nevertheless, retiring would be a wiser decision for his legacy.
5) Goran Dragic
Since joining the league in 2008, Goran Dragic has been in pursuit of an NBA championship. His quest may finally be fulfilled in 2023 if he signs with the Milwaukee Bucks following his release from the Chicago Bulls. Nonetheless, he may encounter difficulty in earning playing time as a point guard due to the presence of Jrue Holiday and Jevon Carter.
Considering that Dragic’s basketball prime is now in the past, it may be time for him to contemplate retirement. During the 2022-23 season, his performance was underwhelming, with just 6.2 points, 1.3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game, which falls short of his career highs. Despite not securing a championship, he has had a successful career, including winning the NBA Most Improved Player award in 2014, being selected for the All-NBA Third Team, and being named the Most Valuable Player in the 2017 FIBA EuroBasket. He was also a one-time NBA All-Star.