Keeping with the theme of ‘Five Guys’ (players, not cheeseburgers) I’ll take a look at five guys over the age of 30 I won’t hesitate to draft next season. Next week I’ll cover five guys over the age of 30 I probably won’t be touching in fantasy drafts.
While the Rotoworld crew isn’t usually fond of drafting old guys, these six players will be the exception to the rule. And not only are they going to be drafted, but none of these guys should make it past the second round.
Damian Lillard – Turns 30 in July – First of all, it’s a little hard to believe that Lillard is already 30 years old, right? Lillard is currently the No. 6 ranked player in eight-cat this season and has shown no signs of slowing down. Until this incredibly strange season, Lillard had never played in fewer than 73 games in a season, meaning he’s as durable as they come. He is averaging a career-high 28.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, a career-high 7.8 assists, 1.0 steals, a career-high 3.9 3-pointers and just 2.9 turnovers per game this season. He still has a lot to prove as well as a lot of gas left in the tank. He’s going to be a first-round pick in almost all leagues again when draft season finally rolls around and there are no red flags with him, including his age.
James Harden – Turns 31 in August & Russell Westbrook – 31 – Harden, who will be 31 in August, isn’t slowing down, either, sitting as the No. 2 fantasy player in the world and averaging 34.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.9 blocks, 4.4 3-pointers and 4.5 turnovers per game right now. And the crazy thing is that none of those stats are even career highs, sans the blocks. He also doesn’t miss games. Westbrook missed some games this season, but not enough to be overly concerned. He’s averaging 27.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.0 3-pointers and 4.5 turnovers in 53 games this season. Despite his knee concerns over the years, Westbrook only has three seasons with fewer than 70 games in his 12 seasons, discounting this one. Harden might be the No. 1 pick in most drafts this year and Westbrook will go in the second round in most drafts. And the fact that they played so well together this season is nothing short of miraculous. They might be even better next year.
Stephen Curry – 32 – Curry only made it through five games this season, breaking his hand after four games and returning for one game in March before the NBA was shut down. He’s going to come back healthy and hungry whenever hoops resume and is still thought of as the best shooter in the league. He averaged 27.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.3 steals, 5.1 3-pointers and 2.8 turnovers in the 2018-19 season, when he played in 69 games. The Warriors, without Curry and Klay Thompson this season, tanked and will get a great draft pick, while both Curry and Klay should come back at 100 percent. Klay is 30 years old and will be more of a fourth- or fifth-round pick in drafts, but Curry is still a guy who should be targeted in the first round of fantasy drafts. He’s going to be trying to make up for lost time next season and aggressive owners should benefit, assuming he can avoid any freak injuries going forward.
LeBron James – 35 – LeBron is now one of the oldest players in the league and certainly the oldest relevant player there is. After missing a bunch of games last season, he led the Lakers to the second-best records in the league this season and played in 60 of L.A.’s 63 games. In this, his 17th season, Bron is averaging 25.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, 10.6 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.5 blocks and 2.2 3-pointers on 49.8 percent shooting with 4.0 turnovers per game and sits as the No. 11 fantasy player. His 69.7 percent free throw shooting is a buzzkill but LeBron will be looking for another title or two (or three) before he retires, in hopes of staying in the GOAT conversation with Michael Jordan. And the fact he played in 60 games this season is a great sign heading into next year. He’s going to likely go late in the first round or anytime in the second round of fantasy drafts. And while I’m not normally into drafting old men early in drafts, I will make an exception for LeBron. Especially if I’m punting free throw shooting.
Paul George – 30 – PG’s shoulder issues scared drafters away this year, but he still came through, playing in 42 of the Clippers’ 64 games thus far and is averaging 21 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.5 blocks, 3.2 3-pointers and 2.7 turnovers in 29.1 minutes a night. His shoulders should both be fully healed, and George should be ready to roll in the new season. And the fact that teammate Kawhi Leonard is the poster boy for load management, George should have a massive role for the Clippers next season. Apparently 30 is the new 25 in the NBA and I have no qualms with drafting PG-13 this season and he might even be a steal after missing the start of the season and sitting as the No. 30 fantasy player right now. He’s going to be a second-round target in most drafts, especially now that he’s healthy.