News Flash: It’s not 1965 anymore. The Beatles and Rolling Stones have given way to Jay-Z and Lady Gaga and traditional centers in the NBA seem about as useful as a transistor radio.
In the NBA of the 21st century versatility and athleticism rule the NBA. The league is driven by athletic guards such as Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo and Deron Williams, just to name a few.
In the past few years we have seen traditional centers slow the fast break and offensive flow of a team. Last year we saw in Cleveland how Shaquielle O’neal slowed down the Cavaliers and Lebron James. The NBA isn’t college basketball in which there is a 35 second shot clock and teams run slow methodical offenses.
I am not suggesting that the NBA should be played like the Suns, and now the Knicks, under Mike D’Antoni. I am simply suggesting that big, traditional centers clog the paint and ruin the flow of an offense.
If you look at teams that are going to be in contention this year, they all have big men who are versatile.
Lakers- Pau Gasol is arguably the most skilled big-man because of his ability to pass and shoot jump shots. The Spaniard is just a very intelligent player who can do more than just post up and clog the lane.
Heat- Chris Bosh is another multi-talented big man who can run and shoot as far out as the three point line. He certainly won’t be holding down the explosive Miami Heat.
Magic- Some will argue that Howard is as close to a traditional Center as we have. He rebounds and shoots from in close, but he is also able to move and run in the fast break.
While the Celtics do have Shaq starting, they still are led by guards Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen and forwards Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
Guards and versatile big men rule the NBA because guards are able to shoot from the outside and also drive the ball to the hoop, which makes them harder to defend.
Versatile big men are able to shoot jump shots and post up, which once again, makes them harder to defend.
Centers that just clog up the paint are easy to defend because all they do is stand near the paint and clog areas for lightning quick guards like John Wall to drive to the hoop.
In today’s NBA it is all about versatility and guard-driven play.
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