The big man’s role has changed in the NBA recently. With the big man being more athletic that has opened the court up to never seen before play from players.
The big man in the NBA has changed roles. Back in the day you would see your favorite big man like Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Hakeem Olajuwon on the block using their fancy moves to put the fear in opposing teams defenses.
Now the big man can pass, shoot from deep and even bring the ball up.
With the big man able to set your offense, that has led to mismatches on the defensive side and the lanes to open up for drivers. New players like Karl Anthony Towns, Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic are big time representers of the new wave of big men in the league.
Towns and Embiid have proved that they can step out and shoot the three and they have proved that they can take the ball from one end to the other.
These point guard like skills have been proven worthy enough to get them in the rookie of the year conversation. Towns actually won the Rookie of the Year award and Joel Embiid was nominated for the Rookie of the Year. He was a runner up this past year.
Jokic showed his skills when he participated in the skills challenge on All Star weekend the past year.
With the skills of these centers the NBA is being taken to new levels. A center on defense is not going to want to step out and guard a seven footer at the three-point line. Getting the center on the defense to come out and guard the perimeter opens up driving lanes for the other players on the floor.
The opponent has to respect the big man’s ability to shoot and you can’t forget that they can pass the ball too so when you do close out they can make the right pass to the right player.
The big man is developing these skills when they are young and they are smaller. They then grow up and get a growth spurt along with the skills they already have. Now they have height and skill.
With all their skills retained and size gained they cause mismatches within the game that have to be paid attention to.
Anthony Davis was a player like this. While he was in high school he had a significant growth spurt that helped him combine size with the talents he had at point guard. Davis has the ability to shoot the three, put the ball on the floor and rebound. When he runs the floor his slender size and long legs help him get to the basket in three to five steps from half court. Davis has the potential to one of the greats.
The big man was dead for a while in the league and teams were relying more on wing players and guard play to get their teams to where they wanted to go. Now the big man has returned and has changed the minds of how teams look at them.
They are now needed.
Getting a Kristaps Porzingis, Anthony Davis, Karl Anthony-Towns, or Embiid can help start your team and they are a vital aspect to your squad. When you have that player that can do everything like that, all you need is players that have solidified roles and that helps get your organization to a good start when you are trying to rebuild.
When I have a big man that can do what these players do I can play anyway I want. Since he can run I can have a fast paced offense that uses his length to get me easy baskets in transition,
I can play a slower pace that uses his three-point ability to spread the floor creating open shots for other players and I can have a balanced attack that uses everybody on the floors strong points to attack the defense.
On the defensive side they are no joke either. Their size helps in rebounding and guarding the rim. I can take chances and be more aggressive on defense because I can trust their athleticism to recover at the rim and to rebound at an incredible rate.
In the recent past the small guy was the king of the NBA but the height eventually developed and now the big man has caught up.
In the coming years the big man will develop even more and we might even see big men having the ball in their hands more and more during the course of a game.