The End of the 6'10'' Power Forward
I was reading this article on this summer's NBA free agents, and I noticed something about all five of the power forwards. They are all shorter than we think of typical power forwards: Smith 6'9'', Milsap 6'8'', West 6'9'', Landry 6'8'', Hickson 6'9''.
Typically, we call a 6'8'' power forward 'undersized,' but is that the case in today's NBA?
In fact, I looked at the top 38 power forwards in PPG, and only eleven of them were 6'10'' or taller. It seems that the average in today's NBA is closer to 6'8.5'' to 6'9''. Although, honestly, as previously noted on this forum, it seems like standing reach is a more accurate measurement of a players true playing length.
Game is now so much about versatility and speed so no surprise that this trend is happening. Really big kids that can play seem to be harder and harder to find now a days. It will be interesting if you get a handful of legit 7' centers who have all legit star prowess in the league at one time... Will the trend reverse? Nothing gets GM's more worked up than franchise once in a generation big men.
Look, nobody at the professional level in the NBA, scout or front office type is looking at height, everybody is looking at wingspan and reach. If you compare these measurements you would see how long are the guys historically. Dwight Howard is only 6 9 bare foot, but wingspan and reach are longer than most sevenfooters in history.
In shoes Karl Malone was 6'9", Charles Barkley was 6'6" and Moses Malone was 6'10". In reality Chuck was 6'4" in socks (per his book).
Recently we've had a spike in height at the position because of KG & Duncan (both legitimately 6'11"). However, those players really aren't PFs. They're 5s who get listed as 4s for historical glorification. There are (and always have been) a handful of solid 6'10+ PFs around, but my guess is that the current rate is similar to or higher than the historical rate.
Since when has anyone been that "typical" size scouts and gms talk about so much. I hate when I read something about 2-guard being too short to play the position at "only" 6'4 or 6'5". Pretty sure almost every 2-guard starting in the league is between 6'3 and 6'5.
I'll still rather have the 6'11/7ft guys like Duncan, Garnet, Gasol and Aldrige. It's not just arm length, it's a combination of height that goes with arm length that is most effective. Dwight was measured at 18 years old straight out of HS. He likely grew a little taller because he is taller then all the 6'9/6'10 guys. It's just rare for people to grow that tall.
The knock on height is crazy to me.. The difference between 6'6 and say 6'4 isn't going to affect anything, it's mostly standing reach, wingspan, etc that make the difference in basketball.
The Celtics say Olynyk will play PF mainly.
Bass and Sullinger are going to sit while wilcox or fab melo gets minutes? not likely
To be honest height doesn't really make a big difference as long as a guy can play and or has a high motor. No one is going to lose a title due to height
I miss watching guys like KG, Duncan, Rasheed, Chris Webber, Jermaine O' Neal, young Z-Bo, Dirk, etc. battle it out in the early 2000's. I know a lot of people don't actually consider all these guys PF's, but most of these guys did start alongside other near 7 footers who were classified as C's. Regardless, it's crazy how much the NBA has changed in the last 15 years or so. You just don't see great post games like these guys had anymore.