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NBAGround >> What happened to centers?


2/1/12 3:52 AM
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Windfall
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In the 90s... many of the best and most dominant players were Centers - Shaq, Olajuwon, Ewing, Robinson, Mourning, Mutumbo, etc.

Fast forward to now... and every year the commentators are talking about how we need to simplify the All-Star voting to just 'big men' and 'little men' - because there are 10 forwards more deserving of being an 'All Star' then whichever Center gets on there (besides Dwight Howard, obv).

I mean Yao Ming was leading the All Star votes in recent years, and he wasn't even playing.
2/1/12 4:58 AM
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WALES1
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Greg Oden could of helped to fill the void!

What's he doing now?
2/1/12 1:17 PM
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PTM2020
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2/1/12 1:24 PM
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Windfall
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^ There is no way that is Varsity... some of those guys look like they are 13 yrs old, and about 5'2.

Also - he looks slow, and I predict his knees are shot by the time hes 21.
2/1/12 4:04 PM
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dangerboy12
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Coaches and GM's got good at math and advanced stats and learned post play is not as efficient or effective as we used to think.

The pick and roll, iso drive/ free throw game, the drive and dish, and kick out 3pt game are more effective ways of scoring, unless you have a guy like Shaq who is just bigger and badder than everyone, and there are no Shaq's out there.

Defenses are just way better these days. Teams are just too good and doubling and rotating to dump it down low like you used to be able to do.
2/2/12 10:42 AM
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alxholic
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how would the 80's-90's centers fare in the current game? shaq, olajuwan would always be great, but how about the 2nd tier? the ewing, robinson, dauhterty, etc...
2/2/12 10:56 AM
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WALES1
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Robinson wasn't 2nd tier.
2/2/12 11:01 AM
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dangerboy12
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Their stats would be WAY down, because teams don't play outdated offenses anymore. Those guys would get maybe 10 shots a game.

They would still be better than most centers in the league though, because of their defense.
2/2/12 6:12 PM
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PTM2020
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alxholic - how would the 80's-90's centers fare in the current game? shaq, olajuwan would always be great, but how about the 2nd tier? the ewing, robinson, dauhterty, etc...

 prime Sabonis would own the league.
2/17/12 7:26 PM
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grafzep
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Any of those guys would be killing it in the league today. Teams are desperate for legitimate centers
3/2/12 2:31 PM
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acid jazz
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I heard today's rules limit the center position.
3/7/12 9:08 AM
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huhriiight
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dangerboy12 - Coaches and GM's got good at math and advanced stats and learned post play is not as efficient or effective as we used to think.

The pick and roll, iso drive/ free throw game, the drive and dish, and kick out 3pt game are more effective ways of scoring, unless you have a guy like Shaq who is just bigger and badder than everyone, and there are no Shaq's out there.

Defenses are just way better these days. Teams are just too good and doubling and rotating to dump it down low like you used to be able to do.



1) Defenses these days suck.

2) Its the rules.

3) Guards HAD TO jump off two feet just to survive.

4) What the fuck is DEFENSIVE THREE SECONDS???

5) Today's league aint shit.

6) A true legit 7 foot prospect, even today, is more valuable than any guard. Just look at Oden.


Next time you watch the game ... quit watchin the ball and watch what the other 4 guys are doing.
3/7/12 1:34 PM
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dangerboy12
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Of course it's the rules. Big men can get mugged with no whistle, guards get breathed on and they go to the line. Defensive 3 seconds was brought in with the zone they invented to stop Shaq. Now he's gone, but they still kept the zone.

And if you think defenses these days suck, then either you think defenses of the past were downright embarrassing, or you disagree with pretty much every coach and GM in the NBA. Comparing pre 1990's defenses with those of today is like comparing an abacus to a modern day PC.

And yes, 7 foot prospect are still the most valuable, just like they have always been, just like they always will be. Hell, even MJ got drafted behind 2 big men. Guards are a dime a dozen. Big men, especially skilled ones, will always be hot commodities.

and, If you are one of the many who still believe that top to bottom the league, and basketball world wide, was better 25 years ago than it is today, then you are just a lost cause and not even worth discussing this with.

Next time you watch a game, pay attention to what the defenders are doing. They aren't simply chasing their man like they did in the 80's and before. They are doubling, hedging, helping, rotating, redirecting, zoning, trapping, switching, converging, covering gaps, all while keeping their assignments.
3/7/12 1:42 PM
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acid jazz
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dangerboy12 -If you are one of the many who still believe that top to bottom the league, and basketball world wide, was better 25 years ago than it is today, then you are just a lost cause and not even worth discussing this with.

Are you saying today is harder than the Jordan era? The Bird-Magic era? The Isaiah Thomas Pistons era?

Those guys got mauled back then, today you just look at someone and it's a foul. It's harder to score when someone is trying to KO you for real.
3/7/12 1:56 PM
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dangerboy12
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No, the skill level is higher.

The flagrant fouls were a lot worse back then, no doubt about it, and that's what we all remember. We also remember hand checking.

What we don't remember was the other 99.9% of the time where teams basically took turns shooting the basketball. Today's NBA, teams play tough defense every night, 75% of the possessions. Pre 90's, teams basically waited until late in the 4th to play any real defense, even then it was almost all 1 on 1.

Once the playoffs came around they played a little better D, and didn't allow layups, but don't let that fool you into thinking those guys were playing great defense. The reason so many guys got clotheslined is because guys would get beat and the back lines were clueless on recovering and drawing the charge. Instead of actually trying to make a play, they just hacked a guy.
3/7/12 2:03 PM
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dangerboy12
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Also, modern stats have proven that fouling a guy attempting a layup is FAR less efficient than simply contesting.

Fouling leads to basically 1.5 pts per attempt, puts you deeper into the penalty, and puts fouls on your players. Simple contesting leads to only the 1.5 pts per attempt.

They call fouls quicker on the perimeter and drives than what they used to, but they actually let as much or more go when it comes to post play
3/7/12 2:39 PM
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acid jazz
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dangerboy12,

You have some good arguments for the old days defenses not being as good as today. Maybe the players were tougher then rather than better.

I just know that until recently I lost interest in basketball when the Heat won the championship due to Wade getting all those foul calls that I thought were bogus and I was a fan of Wade at the time. The game seems softer today.
3/7/12 2:47 PM
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dangerboy12
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well, I agree that was the worst reffing I have seen in my lifetime, and I also was very unhappy with the NBA after that series.

The NBA still gives slashers more than their share of the calls, but it's not nearly as bad as it was that series.

I think I have just accepted big guys aren't fan friendly, and the NBA is all about pleasing the fans.
3/7/12 2:51 PM
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acid jazz
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dangerboy12 - I think I have just accepted big guys aren't fan friendly, and the NBA is all about pleasing the fans.
I miss the days of the dominant centers. I have recently started wacthing the game again and it is still fun to watch.
3/7/12 5:35 PM
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Windfall
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4) What the fuck is DEFENSIVE THREE SECONDS???
Agreed, there should be no such thing as 'illegal defense' or 'illegal offense'. You should be able to place your men anywhere on the floor you want. What gives?

6) A true legit 7 foot prospect, even today, is more valuable than any guard. Just look at Oden.
?

You mean their 'perceived' value is greater, yes? Certainly Oden is not more valuable than the smaller players drafter after him.
3/8/12 6:26 PM
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huhriiight
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Edited: 03/08/12 7:34 PM
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Dangerboy - Good points.<br /><br />Thanks for keeping this civil.<br /><br /><br />Only the cream of the crop today is more athletic. <br /><br />MOST of the players are sub-par with both fundamentals and athletic ability.<br /><br />Sorry it doesnt matter what the justification is for the defensive 3 seconds ... the reason defense is played the way it is today is because big guys cannot wait in the lane to WIPE YOU OUT if you got in there... hence jumping off two feet.<br /><br />hard fouls back in the day are flagrant twos today.<br /><br />when the word PROSPECT is used - it means UNPROVEN ... so of course that means perceived value.<br /><br />its juts that all the tall big guys today want to do crossovers and shit.<br /><br />dude...with all due respect - <br /><br />TODAY's CENTERS ARE FORCED TO ROTATE TO BLOCK SHOTS.<br /><br />I think that fools you into believing how athletic people are.<br /><br />seriously man - u dont see the difference between having an open lane and a shut lane???<br /><br />u dont see how that completely changes the game for the guards????<br /><br />and please if you think today's league is easier to win the championship in...<br /><br />lastly ... it seems like skill to you means only on the ball skills ... seriously dude ... watch the other four guys ... skill level in most FUNDAMENTAL areas of basketball has diminished and it is not because of increased athletic ability or skill with the ball. THese guys simply dont practise this shit.<br /><br /><br />THATS WHY EUROPEAN TEAMS FUCK UP NBA ALL STARS TODAY>>> NONE OF THE EUROPEANS CAN HANG AS FAR AS ATHLETIC ABILITY AND ON THE BALL SKILL.<br /><br />Crossovers dont work very well if handchecking is allowed.<br /><br /><br />the only reason isos, pick rolls, pick slides, and all that one and one creation shit works ( except the shot jacks ) is because they dont have to worry about the center cleaning their clock.<br /><br />They changed the rules so guards could pull off the crazy shit. <br /><br />wow ... big post. <br /><br />
3/8/12 7:51 PM
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dangerboy12
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yeah athleticism is the same. strength however is miles higher now than before. everyone weight trains now. back in the 80's virtually no one did. MJ even talks about how much better he got after he added a weight training regimen, something he hadn't even considered earlier in his career.

Skill level right now is better than in the past, but I agree down low it is not, but this has to do with the devaluation of post play. Big kids in HS aren't taught to play the post game, because chances are they will never be asked to play the post, even if they make it to the NBA. The game has simply changed.

However, shooting skills have gone through the roof. FT% are as high as ever, and 3pt% continue to go up. This is what has caused coaches, along with the rules, to abandon the post game.

Just think about it, would you rather have a 70% ft shooter shoot 2 ft's and draw fouls on the other team, a 40% 3pt shooter shoot an open 3, or a 55% fg shooting big man try a post move? The numbers prove the post move is the least effective option.

Back when 3pt shooting was bad and FT shooting was mediocre, post play was the best option. Now it's maybe 3rd or even 4th on the list behind the pick and roll game. Even with elite post players.

3/8/12 8:02 PM
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dangerboy12
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And with the weight training thing, Imagine the guys of today being allowed to hand check as strong as they are. They could stop everybody from getting in the lane.
3/9/12 9:24 AM
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huhriiight
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yeah man ... today's guys handchecking would definitely be more stifling thats for sure. yeah i can definitely see where u are coming from... especially with the refs ... its fucking intolerable now ... its like they hold the script to every game beforehand and try real hard to direct the outcome there ... its disgusting.
3/9/12 11:31 AM
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dangerboy12
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i think the game changed for a lot of reasons.

Do I think todays big men are as skilled offensively in the post as they were in years past? Hell no, not close. But a lot has contributed to that, it's not as simple as "big men work on their crossover and 3pt shot instead of their post game."

That's true, but there are so many reasons to why they work on those areas. Rules, better outside shooting, the emergence of the shooting bigs which give traditional post players fits, advance stat analysis, new coaching strategies, and yes the medias love of flashy ball handling and athletic drives to the rim.

I personally still think big men dominate the game. I mean, Duncan, Shaq, KG, Dirk, Howard and Pau have been the top big men in the league over the last 15 years, and all of them have titles or finals appearances. You can't say the same about guards or wing players. The difference is todays big man doesn't do it with post moves. Guys like Shaq and Howard physically dominate, not too much skill involved. Duncan and KG killed with their offensive versatility and defense. Pau and Dirk are as good as guards with the ball in their hands.

I don't think Olajuwon, Ewing, Robinson, Mourning, Mutumbo were overall any better than Duncan, KG, Dirk, Howard, or Pau, they just played in a time where the game was more centered around, well, the center.

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