There has been a lot of talk about the Celtics window of opportunity with this team. Much has been made of the ages of Pierce who will turn 30 in October, Ray Allen who just turned 32 and Kevin Garnett who turned 31 in May. Do we have a brief window in which to win a championship with these guys?
First, we need to look at the condition that these three guys are in. They are all very conscientious about their conditioning and their health. Pierce and Allen are coming off injuries but both are in great shape now and there is no reason to believe that these injuries will resurface or hamper them this season. All 3 of these guys know how to take care of themselves and how to stay in the very best condition.
Last season, KG averaged 22.4 points, 12.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.25 steals, and 1.7 blocks in just over 39 minutes per game. Pierce played 37 minutes per game and averaged 25.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.0 steals per game. Ray Allen played an incredible 40 minutes per game and averaged 26.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.5 steals. These don't look like the stats of players who are slowing down.
I would say that with this group of players we have a 5-8 year window of opportunity. In 5 years, Ray Allen, who is the oldest will be 37. In 8 years he will be 40. There is ample evidence that a player who takes care of himself can play at a high level to the age of 40. In 8 years, Garnett will be 39 and Pierce will be 38 and there is no reason to believe that all 3 can't be still playing at a high level of play.
To back this up, I did some research on players who played very well at 37-40 years of age. First, is Robert Parish. He played until he was 44 years old. At 40 years of age, Parish was averaging 12.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in 27 minutes per game. At 37, he averaged 18.6 points, 12.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.4 blocks in 30.3 minutes per game. Not too shabby.
Another player who took good care of himself and played very well at 40 years of age was Reggie Miller. At 40, he averaged 14.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 31.9 minutes per game. At 37, he averaged 16.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists,and 1.s steals in 36.6 minutes per game.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar played until he was 42. At 40 he played 31 minutes per game and averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.24 blocks. At 37, he averaged 21.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.7 and 3.7 assists in 35.9 minutes per game.
Karl "the Mailman" Malone played until he was 41 years old. At 40, he averaged 20.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 36.2 minutes per game. At 37, Malone averaged 25.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in 35.9 minutes per game.
At 37, Charles Barkley played 31 minutes per game and averaged 14.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 3.2 assists.
Finally, Michael Jordan played until he was 40 and averaged 20 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.5 steals in 37 minutes per game. At 37, Jordan played 38.8 minutes per game and averaged 28.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.7 steals.
There is absolutely no reason to believe that Pierce, Garnett and Allen won't be able to play at a high level until they are 37 and possibily even until age 40, just as the players mentioned above did. In the meantime, our other young players will be getting better and becoming stars in their own right and we will be able to add free agents who want to play in Boston. So, rather than a 2 to 3 year window as has been mentioned in several places, it is very feasible to believe that we have a 5-8 year window. Garnett is under contract for 5 years, Pierce for 4 years, and Allen for 3 years. Assuming we can resign Pierce and Allen and keep this group together for 5-8 years, we could see a few more championships and another Celtics dynasty for several years to come.