Your career can end in the blink of an eye and when you less expect it, especially when you're an aging player. If you don't take our word for it, just ask LaMarcus Aldridge, who shockingly retired right before the start of the playoffs at just 35 years old over a heart condition, or Chris Bosh, who couldn't play again due to blood clots.
No one, not even the best players on earth can escape Father Time. Eventually, one way or another, your age will catch up to you and you won't be able to perform at the same level. Even LeBron James is getting hurt more often now than ever in his career.
Some players find a way to still be productive even though they're past their primes. Others struggle to embrace a lesser role and even rather retire than coming off the bench or playing limited minutes.
We're living perhaps the greatest era of NBA basketball but all good things must come to an end some time and this isn't the exception to that rule. That's why we encourage you to enjoy these 10 players while you still can, as they'll be way past their primes in the next 3 years.
10. Draymond Green
Draymond Green isn't exactly the most athletic player in the league. He makes an impact thanks to his outstanding basketball IQ, playmaking ability, and versatility as a switcher. His lateral quickness and ability to contest shots, however, is likely going to be lone gone three years from now.
Green is already 31 years old and he's never been much of a shooter, so if he can't get stops in the defensive end, he's not going to play as many minutes as he plays nowadays. Still, we can envision him being a lifelong Warriors mentoring young players on the bench.
9. Mike Conley
Mike Conley recently turned 33 years old so chances are that he's not even going to be in the league three years from now. He's one of the most beloved and respected players around the league and is a solid shooter, so he could still play some role off the bench.
Then again, he's not likely to be the same defender he is today after three more years have gone by. That, plus the fact that he's never been that quick could end up dooming the final passage of his career, most likely without ever winning a ring.
8. Gordon Hayward
It's sad to think how good Gordon Hayward could've been for the Boston Celtics if it wasn't for that gruesome injury he suffered in his debut. He was never able to go back to his former level after that, even if he's now playing pretty well for the Charlotte Hornets.
The thing is that Hayward is already 31 years old and has now become an injury-prone player. Three years from now, he's not likely to be an aggressive driver as he is nowadays, precisely out of the fear of getting hurt or just because his body won't respond the same way.
7. John Wall
This is another promising career damaged by injuries. Not so long ago, John Wall was one of the best playmakers in the world and arguably the fastest player on earth. Now, he's not even playing back-to-backs while he gets some rest for his knees.
Wall is just 30 years old so he could still be around the league three years from now. Also, he still has some years left in his massive contract, and you know he's not going to give up that much money. However, he's not likely to be a star after so many injuries.
6. DeMar DeRozan
DeMar DeRozan is the kind of crafty scorer that could get buckets until his 40s. He's got the sweet mid-range game, the turnarounds, the fadeaways, you name it. Then again, he's always lived off his athleticism, and that's the first thing to go away.
The 31-year-old DeRozan is no longer an All-Star and his numbers have slightly dipped over the past couple of seasons. He's not getting any younger, so it's not like he's going to revert that trend any time soon. He could play many more years off the bench as a Lou Williams kind of player, though.
5. Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler was a bit of a late bloomer so perhaps his prime isn't going to be as long as other players in this list. He's already 31 years old and has endured quite the physical burden, especially from his days playing for coach Tom Thibodeau.
Butler is now kind of injury-prone and is constantly taking some time off to be fresh for the playoffs. He's an elite athlete and a top-notch defender but not much of a shooter, so once he starts losing his first step and lateral quickness, it'll be all for him. Maybe, he'll have an Andre Iguodala-kind of career towards the end.
4. James Harden
Well, yeah, we hate to break it to you; but James Harden is already 31 years old. He's been a healthy player for most of his career and you know that he can light it up from all three levels, but maybe the years will take a toll on his body over the next couple of seasons.
Harden doesn't exactly take great care of his body in the offseason and it's tougher to lose weight as the years go by. Also, once he starts losing his quickness, he won't be as effective drawing contact and going to the line as he is nowadays.
3. Russell Westbrook
This is your first and only warning: Start appreciating Russell Westbrook while you still can. We're taking him for granted because we're now used to watching him get triple-doubles every night, but we should never normalize such an incredible feature.
Westbrook is already 32 years old and you can see how the years and his multiple knee surgeries have started to slow him down. He thrives off his athleticism and speed and those are the first two things to go away with the years, and he's not going to accept coming off the bench, so he'll likely be out of the league if that becomes a possibility.
2. Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry is the greatest shooter of all time. There has never been something even close to him, and chances are that we'll never see another shooter ever coming close to him. That aspect of his game could prolong his career for many more years to come. Right now, he and Damian Lillard are the only players 30 or older to be among the league's top-10 scorers.
Nonetheless, we just can't ignore the fact that Steph is 33 years old already. Three years from now, he'll be 36 and not likely to play in many back-to-backs and more likely to get hurt more often. He's eligible to sign a contract extension in the summer and that will most likely be his final contract ever.
1. Kevin Durant
And, at the top of this list, we find Kevin Durant. Durant has already missed nearly two full years of basketball due to injuries, and it seems like he's going to be extra cautious with his health going forward, as we've seen this year with the Brooklyn Nets.
Durant has shown no signs of rust whatsoever every time he comes back from injury. He's got the smoothest offensive game in NBA history and could still make an impact at age 40. Then again, we just don't see him dealing with the NBA lifestyle or the media for another 8 years and he's 32 already. That, plus his injuries, makes us think that the end could be near for one of the greatest to ever do it.