Alidar Jarok wrote:
I agree about Miami's smallball (as a strategy) being incorrect (although I suspect they'll mostly be small ball because of Oden's health problems), but I have no memory of claims that stockpiling centers was a trend. Can you find any stories reporting on this trend because I just don't remember it?
ETA: In other news, Lebron James finally shaves his head
. Good, now we can stop dealing with this headband bullshit.
The trend in the NBA is towards putting the best five players on the court, regardless of position, and sharing the responsibilities on the floor (ball-handling, shooting, rebounding, defense, etc.) with all five players. Why? Because teams will force you to put the ball in the hands of the guy who cannot shoot the basketball. They will force a bad shot. The game is quicker because the rules ask it to be. Transition hoops are best because there's a large area of the floor, around the basket, where you cannot stand. The key. Big men cannot keep up with those players running the floor. They are too big and usually lack the quickness or skill to swipe a ball. They usually commit a foul. 2 of those in the fourth quarter, the big man is done until the 2nd quarter. One more, he's done for the half. They get pulled. Even Dwight Howard.
Going back to 2009, the Lakers won, but the Orlando Magic was re-defining positions around the league with Ryan Anderson, Rashard Lewis, and Hedo Turkoglu, and taking Howard off the floor in key moments because of his foul shooting and foul trouble. The Seattle Supersonics, for instance, were a token team in 2005, one that couldn't make it past the second round, doing a lot of the same things.
The problem with a big man, in the traditional sense, is that they can only catch the ball, and score, in a certain area. The trend is for more athletic big men (Chris Andersen, for instance, was the guy for the Heat) and less of the back-to-the-basket players. This is because no one can stand in the paint anymore, except on a rebound. This, again, is because of the rules. Teams that play with bigs, traditional bigs, need shooting around them. When they have good guards, and not spot-shooters, the big man becomes almost irrelevant, with exceptions to rebounding, on the offensive end. Why pay Kendrick Perkins 12 million dollars if he can't stay on the floor and can't stop the other team from scoring, can't score on the block (because he has no post game)? Andersen came at 1 million dollars this season? No need to get him a shot, just keep him around the rim. And even San Antonio exposed him. But he's not eating the cap when they happens now.
The league is built for speed and shooting now. Teams that are quick to get up the floor, players that have a good first-step to create seperation, they are the ones making an impact around the league. Go back 10 years and watch the Sacramento Kings, a fun offense, and nothing like what we see now in terms of pace. So you have a player that's lumbering up and down the court with 250-300 pounds on his backside, who starts at the worst possible position for transition defense. He's standing under the basket at the other end of the floor. He's not mobile enough to stop the outlet pass to a player that can run the court end to end. So it's an easy score. Watch how the Grizzlies play sometime. Now, they are the token team.
This is not to say that post play is entirely dead. It's just not the seven-footers doing the posting up. And when you do, if the ball is dribbled more than 2 dribbles, the defense collapses and you're putting up a bad shot, and that's before they call defensive 3-seconds, or get you for backing down a player from 20-feet out. So there's no room to stay in the lane anymore. Dikembe Mutombo wouldn't be waiving his finger in today's NBA. Pay attention to the rules.
The Lakers' big men were able to pass, shoot from the outside, and hit their foul shots. Bynum is the only one who couldn't and how many times did they make the Finals with Andrew Bynum lost for the playoffs? 2 out of 3 years?