During the nineties we had the opportunity of watching games with big men in almost every successfull team : mourning, robinson, holajuwon, ewing, divac, sabonis, mutombo, ratliff, campbell, smits, ilgauskas, brian williams/bison dele, muresan, longley, bradley, austin, reeves, sam perkins, dale davis....
They all were not at the same level, but they all performed at times (some as all stars and hof , others as part time starters). And the game was more "center oriented" than now. I've always heard about lack of big men in the nba (and it should explain their overrated salaries), but if you watch closely the nba rosters are filled with interesting big men :
Bynum, howard, marc gasol, hibbert, monroe, noah, bogut, gortat, chandler, varejao, hawes, okafor, kaman : they all proved they can play the ball and be effective in the right system with a good coaching staff and strategy.
b. lopez, asik, jordan, mcgee, cousins, pekovic, koufos, ayon, vucevic, splitter, kanter : they all performed in several games and should become solid starters.
Valanciunas, leonard, adams, noel, drummond, melo, len, cody zeller.... have all nba perspectives.
I'm fed up hearing about "lack of big men" cause this is not a reality. Maybe their level of play is a little bit under what we lived through the 90's. But maybe that's also linked to the fact that the nba is creating a more pg/sg oriented game and lack of quality in the coaching staff of lots of under performing nba teams.
Nobody is saying there is a lack of big men..They're saying there's a lack of dominant big men..
Even though we have Howard,Bynum,Bogut,Horford,Marc Gasol,Tyson Chandler,Brook Lopez and some others that are successful..All of those guys have holes in their games and arent as complete both offensively and defensively or 1st options on their teams like Kareem,Ewing,Shaq,Olajuwon or Mourning were...While Howard is the best center in the game today,some still say he's limited offensively...
Exactly, there is currently 1 20/10 center in the NBA this season. In 1993 for there were 6 20/10 centers in not to mention power forwards like Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Derrick Coleman, and Larry Johnson all putting up 20/10 seasons that year. Also, only DC, LJ, and Brad Dougherty will most likely not be in the Hall of Fame. That is an amazing amount of HOF big men playing at the same time.
Now, there maybe one PF and one C who put up those type of numbers every year as compared to the 10 players ( 6 centers ) who did so in the 1992-1993 season.
I think that indicates a lack of elite big men in the NBA.
Patrick Ewing was never the second best big man in the league in the 1990's. He'd be the best big man in the league today.
All the dominant centers during the 90's had some hole in their game at the beginning of their career. But their teams were build around their strength. It helped them to develop nicely their strength and worked on their weeknesses.
Lots of big men are not used correctly nowadays, that's why they don't seem to be able to dominate the game.
No 19-22 year old is a perfect player, but these greats of the 80's and 90's came onto the scene with a bang, they had dominant moments and seasons from day 1. Now is time when you hope your rookie center can give you 10 and 7 and develop him slowly over the next 5 years, not back then....and it's because the centers of today aren't as good or NBA ready.
So when Shaq and ZO averaged 20/10 their rookie years' there gaping holes were??? Shaq's free throws...and what else?
Robinson, Olajuwon, Ewing all averaged 20/10 their rookie seasons, what were their holes?
You don't think if David Robinson came out of Navy in 2012 that the team that drafted him would recognize his talent and build their team around his strengths? I certainly do.
It's not like current teams are center biased, they're just trying to make the best of their good but non-dominant centers they have playing on their teams.
The NBA is constantly searching for the next dominant center, they are desperately trying to find the next Olajuwon. Why else do you think a team is willing to take a player in Andre Drummond who is putting up 9 and 6 in college #1 overall?
I'm not strictly comparing talents....
I'm just wondering why lots of people around basketball talk about lack of talented big men (and it should explain overpaying deandre jordan, tyson chandler, brendan haywood.... year after year) whereas I can see plenty of potential solid big men for cheaper money. They always use that comparison with big men of the 90's. But it is biased cause in the 90's the game was more "center oriented" and nba teams were giving more opportunities to their big men.
you have to use correctly those young unproven big men : how many coaches wouldn't have let pekovic play enough minutes to produce what he can bring to the game ? How many big man could be more useful if their teams decided to build some play around them ? koufos, ayon, mullens....
You wanna know why all these guys came out good? College seasoning to be simply put, big men should stay in school for a longer time it's good for them
Joe pretty much nailed my exact opinions on this issue. I also agree with Blazer that centers should truely stay in college longer, it's a lot easier to transition from college to the NBA as a shooter, the transition for big men is huge, it's practically a night & day difference. I'd really like to see more centers(or big men in general) stay in college at least until their junior year. I think we'd have much better big men in the league if that was happening.
Another issue is bulk, a lot of the centers coming out now days are to be quite frank scrawny. Look at those guys in the 90s, most of them were absolute monsters. I think adding some muscle could significantly help a lot of the centers today, not saying they're all lanky but most are.
one big point for Blazermann...
young centers should stay in college more than 1 or 2 years. Maybe they would be more effective and percepted as "talented".
Cause I don't think mourning or robinson were naturally talented. They were good and worked harder than nowadays centers.
Let's take the example of brook lopez...
why couldn't he be a dominant center. He's a smart young man, seems to be a hard working guy, has some technical skills.... not a bad athlete. So why did he underperform last year ?
I think the way the nets are using him is a big issue. I don't think lopez is SO less naturally talented than ewing (in his beginning in the league). But who are the men around him ?.... The knicks build the perfect team around ewing. I don't see lots of nba teams trying to build something serious around their big men.
To the argument for "seasoning" through college experience (ala 4 years in school), is the fact that today's game is different than the 90's. During those years when Robinson, Ewing, The Dream, etc were dominating, teams were smaller. Look at the athletes at OTHER positions now. Big dominant men were at a premium back then, just as they were at more of a premium in the 80's, more so in the 70's all the way back to when Bill Russell and Wilt were the only two dominant big men in the league.
Nowadays you have guys that are 6'10 and 240 lbs playing small forward for some teams. It's not a lack of big men, it's quite the opposite. There are now a PLETHORA of big men, making the position at a smaller premium, and now not worth nearly as much as it once was.
Just look at Ewing.. according to basketball-reference.com, he was listed at 7'0, 240 lbs. Like I just said, there are guys ALMOST that size playing small forward nowadays.
During those years when Robinson, Ewing, The Dream, etc were dominating, teams were smaller.
Big dominant men were at a premium back then, just as they were at more of a premium in the 80's, more so in the 70's all the way back to when Bill Russell and Wilt were the only two dominant big men in the league.
Also untrue. Russell and Wilt were the most dominant but they weren't the only two. In the early part of their career two other hall of famers dominated the league as well Walt Bellamy and Bob Petit (and yes Petit did play center for a few years before Zelmo Beaty joined the Hawks), in the latter half of their career two other HOFers emerged in Willis Reed and Nate Thurmond. Pretty impressive considering that their were only about 8-12 teams in the league at the time. So a third of all the teams in the league had a HOF center playing at a high level in the 60s.
In the 70s Abdul-Jabbar, Dave Cowens, Bill Walton and Bob Lanier dominated as well, and that's not even including Artis Gilmore and Dan Issel in the ABA.
Let's face facts. There are fewer dominant centers in the League today than there have been at any time in the last 50 years.
I hear what you are saying, but I think Brook Lopez was one of those guys who they were trying to build around. He is no Ewing, but he's one of the best young bigs in the league. Then again, there is such a gap between Lopez and Howard that Lopez' team want's Howard because they know they are one of only 2 teams in the league with the assets at C to get him in a trade.
But again, I think you don't have other teams building around some of the starting centers in the league, BECAUSE, they will never be dominant centers. Roy Hibbert is a very nice young center, but if Indiana decided to make him their center piece and build around him, that would be a horrible idea. He's an All-Star, but he's no David Robinson, just the same way Chicago was wise not to build around Luol Deng or NO around David West. It takes a certain type of player to build a team around, and if a player isn't that type of guy, then no strategy in the world will make him a dominant player.
Most of the starting centers in the league I would consider 2nd teir centers. They would have been good in the 80's in 90's but they were the Rik Smits, Kevin Duckworth and Hot Rod Williams' of this current generation. They're good players, they have size, but no strategy in the world will make them David Robinson.
Yep, staying in college longer let's big men learn to be the focal point of an offense and score as first option, as opposed to the NBA where most of them are relegated to defensive duties.
The problem with bringing big men along slowly in the NBA is that they don't develop that killer instinct to succeed and take responsibility for scoring that they would have in college.
Young Cs are in such a hurry to get paid that they don't see the bigger picture though, and GMs keep rewarding them by hoping to bring out potential.
Guards should make the jump to the NBA sooner rather than later, but I think PF/Cs should give it a bit more seasoning. Take Greg Monroe for example, he played two years in college and is highly polished big man who knows how to consistently score and lead a team.
i read a story long ago that caught my eye by ira winderman on the heat, about their lack of big men not being a huge problem, because the league's future is heading towards a -fast tempo kinda game-.
I should rephrase, or correct myself about my previous post. It wasn't so much intended to say that the "center's of today" are bigger, stronger, and more dominant, I'm saying that back in the day it was ONLY centers that were able to dominate inside like they did. Since Jordan started posting up guards, it's become a staple of truly dominant players at EVERY position. Lebron had to develop it, Kobe, etc etc.
What I am trying to say is that the post game is being developed and utilized by players at EVERY position now, rather than only having your Centers and truly big men do so. Which, considering how saturated post play has become now, by players at every position, makes the situation at less of a premium than the past.
I'm not disagreeing with the fact that there are less dominant CENTER's now, than in the past, my point was that there doesn't have to be, because the rest of the positions have been able to manufacture the same principles and fundamentals that Center's in the past were burdened with. Russell, Wilt, Bellamy and Petit were able to dominate because when they weren't playing each other, they were destroying the opposition that was far less able than they.
The game is different today (I usually dislike the 'different eras' argument, but it strongly applies in this case). Shaq was dominating so decisively in the early 00's that they had to CHANGE the rules! He's obviously not the first big man that caused such a thing, but the most recent, and yet another reflection of such things.
Also, if you use that same link that @ItsDwightHoward used..
you can use the Weight Category and view in descending order. Weight is a HUGE sign in "size" or "big"..
The top 18 average weight classes are from the past 2 decades. Just another FYI.
I see what you're saying now Weavw
I don't think I got it at first.
No doubt 25 years ago guys like Duncan, Pau, Dirk and Garnett would have been true centers with their size.
I think well see another big man boom in the next few years..not at the caliber of the 90's..but better than now