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Time To Hang It Up: Five NBA Centers That Should Retire During The Offseason

Robin Lopez - NBA Injury News, Daily Fantasy Basketball, DFS Lineup Picks

As the NBA landscape continues to evolve and young talent takes center stage, it's essential to reflect on the players who have defined an era and left an indelible mark on the game. While it is never easy to discuss retirement, there comes a time when even the best athletes must contemplate hanging up their jerseys.

In this article, we turn our attention to five NBA centers who have had illustrious careers but should seriously consider retirement before the upcoming 2023-24 season.

From injuries that have taken a toll on their performance to a decline in production simply due to age, these players face challenges that suggest the time might be right to bid farewell to the hardwood.


#5. Taj Gibson (Washington Wizards)

It feels like Taj Gibson has been around forever, and it's true. Gibson is by far the oldest player on this list, as he'll turn 38 in June, but he's not the most experienced player here. Much of that is because Gibson started his NBA career at the age of 24, after spending three solid seasons with the USC Trojans.

At USC, he played with many future NBA players, like Nick Young, high school phenom O.J. Mayo, Nikola Vucevic, and DeMar DeRozan. As a first-round pick, he was expected to immediately contribute and he did, playing in all 82 games for the Bulls and putting up solid numbers. Gibson spent seven and a half seasons in Chicago, putting up fine stats, before moving to OKC and bouncing around the league.


OKC is where he had his most memorable moment, hitting a ridiculous shot from beyond half-court as time expired against the Portland Trail Blazers. Until that point, that was just the fourth three-pointer of his career. Gibson changed his playstyle, as he has drained 48 threes since then, and in the last two seasons, over 20% of his attempts from the field were threes. The problem is, that Gibson can barely see the floor now, as he has played in just 480 minutes this year, and 2,362 minutes in the past three seasons combined. With over 80 million in career earnings, Gibson can retire with a smile on his face, earning a lot of money after a long, decent career.


#4. Serge Ibaka (Free Agent)

Despite being drafted one year earlier than Gibson, Serge Ibaka is way younger, as he'll be turning 34 before the start of next season. But now, it seems like Ibaka's days in the NBA might be coming to an end. Ibaka was the final first-round pick in Seattle history, as the Sonics picked him 24th overall. After a stash year in Spain, Ibaka joined the team, now named the OKC Thunder. Ibaka was a dominant shot blocker right out of the gate, and he got even more dominant over time. He averaged an absurd 3.7 blocks per game in 2011-12, and 3.0 blocks in the next season. Since Ibaka entered the league (2009), he is the only player to have blocked over a thousand shots in their first six seasons.

For reference, Jaren Jackson Jr., who is the king of blocks in today's NBA, would need to reject 442 shots (or 5.4 a night in an 82-game season), to get to 1,000 rejections in his first six seasons. After a cup of coffee in Orlando, Ibaka played some of the best basketball of his career with the Raptors, winning an NBA championship with them in 2019. Ibaka has been looking to add another ring to his collection, as he bounced from the Clippers to the Bucks, but was traded to the Pacers in the Kevin Durant to Suns trade. He was waived by Indy, and the man who has blocked the 25th most shots in league history currently finds himself without a team. Having won a ring during a very memorable career, it might be time for Serge to say goodbye to the game.


#3. Robin Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks)

One of the best locker room guys in the league, Brook Lopez's younger twin brother (younger by one minute) has stuck around for quite a while. Lopez was never dominant but was a reliable role player. Lopez is 96th all-time in blocks and had a knack for grabbing offensive rebounds, as he's 80th all-time in offensive boards. Robin never had the stability that Brook had in his early days. Robin averaged just 14.4 minutes per game in his first four seasons in Phoenix, while Brook averaged 34.1 minutes a night in his first four seasons. In the six-season stretch from 2011-12 to 2016-17, Robin played for five different teams and has worn a different jersey every year in the last four seasons, which included a season of backing up his twin brother.


Maybe Robin never realized his full potential due to being moved around a lot, but he still had a solid career. From the ages of 24 to 29, Lopez averaged 10.8 points, 1.4 blocks, and 6.6 rebounds a night while just playing 27.9 minutes per game. Those days are long gone though. Now a member of the Cavs, Robin Lopez played just 299 minutes this year, and with a Plus/Minus Net per 100 Possessions of -16.2, it's pretty obvious that Lopez was used as a "Human Victory Cigar". A player who sees the floor once the game is done, AKA "Garbage Time". Lopez recently signed a free agent deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, which will reunite him with twin brother Brook. While the family affair might be fun, it could well be Robin's final destination in the NBA.


#2. Boban Marjanovic (Houston Rockets)

Boban has been proving doubters wrong long before he entered the NBA. After impressing on weaker teams, he joined Russian giants CSKA Moscow, but Boban was very disappointing. To give you an idea of how disappointing Boban was in Moscow, since the founding of the new Russian league in 2008, CSKA has dominated the league, winning the title in 10 of its first 11 seasons. Guess the one season where they didn't win? That's right, it was Boban's first and only year with the club. After that season, Boban joined Žalgiris, another European giant that was the first team of the legendary Arvydas Sabonis. Boban was poor once again and didn't get signed by a top EuroLeague team. It looked like he had blown his chance of ever playing in the NBA.

Boban refused to quit. He spent some years in the Serbian league, away from the bright lights of the EuroLeague to perfect his craft. After winning the Serbian league's MVP in 2013, Boban got another chance, as he was signed by Serbian giants Red Star Belgrade. Boban was good in his first year but was straight-up dominant in year two. He made the All-EuroLeague First Team, proving that he could hang with the big boys. Boban's NBA career has been pretty short (fewer career minutes than Mikal Bridges' minutes played this season), but he has been a fan favorite. His time might be coming to an end, but he completed his true mission, by proving his doubters wrong. Also, he can become a star in the movie industry one day.


#1. DeAndre Jordan (Denver Nuggets)

Marjanovic's teammate in 2017-18, DeAndre Jordan lived for two things. One was grabbing boards (14.1 rebounds per game from 2013-14 to 2018-19), and the other was dunking. In that same stretch, Jordan dunked the ball 1,356 times out of 1,510 dunk attempts, which was 47.8% of his shot attempts. It seems like his time has been up since the moment Chris Paul left him. In six seasons with CP3, Jordan averaged a Plus/Minus Net per 100 Possessions of +10.2, with a total of 26.9 Defensive Win Shares.

In the six seasons since CP3 was traded to Houston, Jordan has averaged a Plus/Minus Net per 100 Possessions of -5.8, with a total of 12.1 Defensive Win Shares. That -5.8 number is the reason why teams have been discouraged from playing Jordan for too many minutes. He has only averaged 18.4 minutes per game since 2019-20. The former All-NBA center gave us many highlights and has a good chance of adding a ring to his resume this season, but he has been quite useless without CP3, and now, it's time to hang it up.

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