There are two players in the NBA who have made seven straight NBA Finals: LeBron James… and James Jones. The streak will end for at least one of them this season, as Jones retired this month and took a front office job with the Phoenix Suns. Jones long outlived his actual utility as a player, serving mostly as a mentor/coach-type his last couple years in the Association (with some garbage-time threes sprinkled in.)
Jones’s recent promotion did get us thinking, however—who are the remaining players in the league hanging on perhaps less because of their game and moreso because of their stature? These are the James Jones All-Stars, the sage vets who add a dose of been-there, done-that guile on the court, and make sure the rookies stay in trouble off of it. Some players were too good to make the team (Manu Ginobili, Vince Carter), others I just forgot about it. Without further ado, the first (and likely last) ever James Jones All-Stars.
PG: Jason Terry
Jason Terry has been hated by every NBA fanbase at least once during his cockroach-in-a-nuclear-war career. And for good reason—his jet reenactment is one of the most annoying celebrations in the world, especially when it‘s happening at the expense of your favorite team. Terry is 39, and he actually played in 74 games for Milwaukee last season. But he averaged only 4.1 points per game, the lowest total of his career. The Jet basically turned into a plane waiting on the tarmac for six hours before taking off. He definitely provided sage advice, though! In fact, Terry detailed exactly what it was like being the wise veteran in a podcast with our Rob Mahoney.
SG: Dahntay Jones
You know how stupid fans always start GoFundMe pages to pay their favorite players’ fines? If any NBA player ever actually needed a fundraiser, it’s Dahntay Jones. The 36-year-old has signed with the Cavs in each of the last two Aprils, only to provide general goonery as he cruised his way to the Finals. At the end of last regular season, Jones had nearly earned more in fines ($6,000) than salary ($9,127). Still, this All-Star team needs a guy like Jones who can take a hard foul and guard the other team’s best player. That’s right, Dahntay is our defensive stopper. Jones may play himself off the team, though, especially if he becomes the Cavs’ starting point guard on opening night.
SF: Mike Miller
Mike Miller is good for about 30 games a season, but every now and then he’ll also go off for a three-point explosion that will convince a general manager to sign him. Miller averaged 2.1 points per game for Cleveland in 2014–15, but still played for two seasons after that! He averaged 1.4 points per game last season, and still managed to shoot 40% from three. Miller is currently a free agent, but someone will sign him, because everybody loves him, and you can never have too many shooters or something like that. Miller will also play some small-ball four on the James Jones All-Stars.
PF: Udonis Haslem
Udonis Haslem is the captain of this team. The greatest moment in Miami Heat history was Haslem threatening to f--- Lance Stephenson up from the bench during a damn playoff game. Haslem hasn’t been asked to contribute a meaningful minute for the Heat in quite some time, but his departure from the team would be on the level—if not worse—than Dwyane Wade’s. Seriously. Haslem was once congratulated by Heat play-by-play man Eric Reid for committing the greatest flagrant foul in team history. Who else has ever been bestowed such an honor? Haslem is the epitome of a James Jones All-Star. He’s the future president of basketball operations of this team.
C: Nick Collison
Nick Collison is the gipper of this team. Everyone’s here trying to win one for Collison. This guy is so old, he played four seasons with the Seattle Supersonics. Some players on Collison’s first team in the NBA: Mateen Cleaves, Robert Swift, Vitaly Potapenko and Danny Fortson. Collison will be our starting center so he can foul out 11 minutes into every game. I’m actually surprised Collison didn’t play more for the Thunder last season. He probably could have hit more threes than Andre Roberson! With Collison and Haslem in the frontcourt, the James Jones All-Stars are going to baseline jumper teams to a slow death.
Sixth Man: Richard Jefferson
Richard Jefferson plays a little too much to be a starter on this team, but he’s sneakily close to cooked. Jefferson is still good for an eye-opening dunk attempt or two a season, but for the most part, you’re happy for him when he makes a positive play on the court. That’s a bad sign. Competence shouldn’t earn an applause. Jefferson, 37, somehow has two years left on his contract, though that last year is mercifully non-guaranteed.
Coach: Metta World Peace
The ultimate end-of-bench guy, Metta World Peace is the perfect person to lead this group. World Peace played in China and Italy before the Lakers incomprehensibly brought him back in 2015. How does that happen? Would World Peace have lasted another season in Italy if the Lakers didn’t bring him back? Still, with all the egos on this team, you need a coach who can keep everyone in line. No one wants problems with World Peace.