In 55 games this season, the 34-year-old is averaging 17.6 PPG and 6.6 APG for Oklahoma City while stepping up to be one of the league’s best late-game performers. As Feldman notes, the 15-year NBA veteran became the oldest player to make an All-Star team after not being selected for the honor the three seasons prior.
“Especially the way that my body feels now, I definitely probably at least want to play at least 20 years,” Paul said.
It would be a lofty but not impossible goal for Paul, as seven players in NBA history have played at least 20 seasons. That list includes current Hawks veteran Vince Carter (22 seasons), who is in the midst of his final season. Dirk Nowitzki (21 seasons), Kevin Garnett (21 seasons), Kevin Willis (21 seasons), Robert Parish (21 seasons), Kobe Bryant (20 seasons) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (20 seasons) also suited up for 20-plus campaigns.
A 10-time All-Star, Paul seemed to be at a crossroads this summer when the Rockets unloaded his hefty contract to the Thunder. Injuries and inconsistency hampered Paul during his two-year run in Houston. Then, upon being traded to the Thunder, it seemed unlikely he would even suit up for the team. At 34-22, Paul has helped the Oklahoma City to the current sixth seed in the Western Conference as a likely postseason squad.
While it remains to be seen what Paul’s future holds after 2019/20, his first year in OKC has erased any doubt that he can still be a valuable contributor to a postseason team.