Big Man Decline

I would like to address the decline of the big man in the NBA. Some people believe that having a great big man in this day and age is not an advantage unless they can shoot three-pointers or defend multiple positions. I disagree.

A great coach can make a great big man dominant in any era. Players like Anthony Davis and Nikola Jokic had to adapt to the game. Coming into the draft, Jokic was seen as a player who had the size, passing ability, and IQ to play in the NBA, but he could barely shoot and play defense, and he dropped to the second round. Now he is the best player in the NBA.

If Anthony Davis wanted to play in the post even 20% more than he does now, he would be extremely dominant because of his size and physicality. 10-15 years ago, Hassan Whiteside would be a very sought-after player because he rebounds at a high level, blocks shots better than anyone, and is extremely physical and dominant; but he is looked down upon because he cannot shoot and is not very mobile.

Obviously, it would be nice for your 7-foot, 250-pound center to shoot, but it should not matter if you build the right team around him. There is a reason why Shaquille O’Neal is widely considered the most dominant player in league history. Shaq could not guard positions 1-3 or shoot well at all, but that did not stop him from having the career he had, averaging 24 points and 11 rebounds with 2 blocks for his career. I am not saying that having a center who can shoot and defend 5 positions is not great.  What I am saying is that players in today’s NBA, such as Hassan Whiteside, Dwight Howard, Deandre Ayton, Steven Adams, and even Andre Drummond, are not utilized the way they should be.

A dominant big man who can play inside can still make a huge impact, because a lot of teams do not have the size and strength to compete. Steven Adams is said to be the strongest player in the NBA, and I believe that if he got the ball in the post and in the paint more than he does, he would be an easy 20-point, 10-rebound player. Big men have a place in the league and post-play has a place in the League. Strength and rebounding have a place in the league, but it is on the coaches to utilize them and give them the ball the right way.


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