With the lockout in full sway and the training camps and preseason postponed or cancelled NBA fans should probably just expect there to not be a season. Who is hurt the most by a lockout? Veterans like Steve Nash and Grant Hill.
Nash, at age 37, is producing essentially the same numbers he has the past 6 seasons in Phoenix. This is impressive considering the number of significant roster and coaching changes that have taken place during that same stretch. He led the league in assists last season. He had Bird-like shooting numbers. He stayed positive and motivated and continued to work hard.
But a lockout puts a damper on any small chance he may have had to get on a team with a chance to get him a ring. While he is definitely a tough competitor, I don’t see Nash wanting to sit a year and then sign any type of long-term contract with anybody, and probably no team would want to sign a 38-year old when there is a plethora or young guard talent. If for nobody else, the league and the players should get their acts together to help this guy not lose his spark.
Hill, at 38, has had a career unlike anybody else. After having missed 6 of 7 seasons in a row with severe ankle injuries and other serious illnesses, Hill found a home in Phoenix. His 12-foot jumper was nearly automatic, and he was asked, and even at times volunteered, to guard the other team’s best player. Because his legs are younger, some might argue, he was able to play is if he were still young. But playing takes a toll on not just your legs, but your whole body, your emotions, and your mind. While Hill is a fan favorite in Phoenix, he was likely robbed of a Hall of Fame ticket because of his injuries while in Orlando.
A lockout for him means that he will either decide to retire, or he will return in 2012-2013 as probably the oldest player on any roster in the NBA (now that Mutombo has finally retired, even though nobody, including him, ever knew his real age).
While a lockout is bad for the league, the owners, the media, and everyone in between, let’s not forget that a lockout hurts these older, but still productive players. They may only have a season or two left, and if the season is taken away, their body still gets another year of wear on it.