The True Center
What happened to the 90s when teams had true centers 7ft and above. Shaq, Ewing, Hakeem, Mutombo, Smits, Sabonis (short career), David Robinson, etc. Just tall and big centers with a great post game. If I were to name true centers in the NBA right now I would say Dwight Howard, Bynum, Lopez, Shaq, Dalembert, maybe a couple others. I know during the 90s was a special time for Centers, but what happened to all those big centers. I don't think guys have got shorter, but what is everyone's thoughts?
i always hear in life that everything changes....and also goes in cycles. The league gets smaller or different every decade.
Good point. I think right now the league has become smaller, but longer. The big thing now is a guy's wingspan, if a guy is 7-3 his wing span is irrelavant b/c he's tall. Though, if a player is 6-9 with a 7-5 wingspan ppl are drooling over that.
you left out marc gasol ;)
Sorry about that. I also forgot Biendrins.
I've said this before, but I think with the group of young centers now, in addition to who you mentioned there is Bogut, Kaman, Marc Gasol, Noah, Oden "when healthy" and guys like Hibbert and others that are a much better group than maybe 5 or 6 years ago. The center position is down from the 90's for sure, but I think the position as a whole as far as talent goes is on an upswing from the early 2000's. Whether any of those guys can take their games to the next level is the bigger question, but if they could the 10's could be another decade of centers.
NBA GMs are placing more emphasis upon athleticism and quickness than they did back in the 80's and 90's. There was a time when GMs thought the answer to their championship prayers was finding a big man. They haven't given up on big men but now they realize that a talented, athletic roster can sometimes make up for the lack of a true center.
Center is the hardest position to fill in the NBA. If you examine the other 4 positions on every team in the league, you will find a bevy of extremely talented guys at all four slots. However, if you check out the starting center on all 30 teams, it should become obvious there is a shortage of talented big men in the game. In fact, that's always been the case.
Bill Russell 220
Wilt Chamberlain 250-300
Lew Alcindor 230-260
Bill Walton 250
"His combination of size, strength, and athleticism made him one of the best post players in the history of the game."
countless "Baby Shaqs" followed:
Dwight Howard (via weight training)
I think we will see more perimeter oriented centers
to draw those power guys away from the basket
I Honestly think there are so few dominant centers is from a genetic standpoint. How many people in this world are 6'11'' - 7'6'' tall are cooridinated, fast, and strong enough to play basketball at a high level, and THEN add in how much of a toll it takes on the human body to play basketball at a high level for 5-10 years before you even make it to the NBA and then upto 20 years more! Not a lot of people out there, not surprising it is the hardest void to fill on an NBA roster. A shorter or weaker guy may have to play out of position because there are so few centers so in order to compensate they perfect there shot ( a perimeter big man like Bargani ) or perfect their defense and just try as hard as you can to stop the 7' 260 pounder ( Ben Wallace)
Very good point. There are actually more giants in the world then people think, but only a small percentage of them can handle the NBA. Actually I think Big Ben was more like 6'8 with a ridiculous wingspan.
on the topic of trying hard to stop a post player
y'all see Dirk vs Grant Hill yesterday
The reason why you see a decline in centers is two fold. First, 7 footers gifted with athletic talent are abnormalities. To have been a fan during an era of great centers (90's) was a treat, but like all things there are waves, or cycles, so possibly in 5-10 years we will see another wave of athletic bigs utilizing post game as defenses adjust to perimeter oriented offenses and weaknesses in the interior can be exploited by Bigs. Second, Jordan changed the game his dominance as a consistent post scorer, coupled with his versatility from the perimeter and his defensive prowess showed gm's that Guards and long agile forwards can impact the game at both end at a similar level to bigs. Further the rule changes allowing teams to play 'zone' defense coupled with restrictions for guarding perimeter players (Imagine Jordan with no hand checking or contact facing bucket) gave the league what they desired an up and down high scoring game, led by ultra athletic guards/forwards and spelled the demise of the true center. Further the fan disconnect had to be addressed. How many people can truly relate to being gigantic? But the average fan in a dwindling ticket base can 'connect' much easier to players closer to their stature and abracadabra we have the era of the guard. The league is a business, but eventually that 'abnormlity' will emerge and 7'2+ 300lbs+ with agility and skills will mature, his impact will be undeniable and we will witness the renewing of the cycle and the next great center.
oden was supposed to be the second coming if that...
Center are not being developed like they used to. Most seven footers are just happy being able to dunk a lot until they get to the nba and get exposed. The hook shot isn't a hard shot, if you practice shooting it with arc it is very hard to block. I'm not saying be the next Kareem doing that hook from the free throw line and always make it but a little low post touch shot should be ingrained into their offence.
The game is quicker so having a typical post player at the 5 has changed to you having a guy who in reality should be a power forward sometimes. Shaq used and still does have trouble running up and down the court. Not a lot of things love slow big guys who can pound the post anymore you have to have posts moves and be able to run too and most athletic bigs now like to face up and drive and dunk.
If you are going to have a true bigman you need to have good transition defence. The shaq example, if lebron had a center that could get back on defence he wouldn't need to get all of his "chase down" blocks. Those blocks are always funny though.
AAU summer tourney's have helped College Recruiting tremendously, but it has destroyed the game of basketball. If you go look at the better teams on an AAU circuit, they almost all have a guy 6'11-7'1". A true post player, or any player for that matter, needs ALOT more practice time than game time. Best time to develop your game is in the off-season, the same time AAU tournaments are going on. When many of those guys were developing their games in the early 80s, there was no AAU, they practiced in the summer and were much more developed when they reached the NBA. If you notice now, there are NO polished players entering the NBA at the Center spot. Granted leaving early for the money is beneficial to most of them, I think the days of a Rookie Center averaging 20 and 10 are over. But that's just my opinion (rant), how do you guys feel?
"there are NO polished players entering the NBA at the Center spot."
That i very true, but only for U.S. players, Euro bigmen are polished at mostly every asset of the game when they come over. U.S. bigmen, not so much because of the reasons you stated