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Old 02-09-2011, 07:47 PM
 
Location: Howard County, MD
2,223 posts, read 2,995,721 times
Reputation: 3365

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Today I've been thinking about the devolution of the position. Look at some of the lists of top ten ppg scorers in the NBA.

89-90:

1. Michael Jordan
2. Karl Malone
3. Patrick Ewing
4. Tom Chambers
5. Dominique Wilkins
6. Charles Barkley
7. Chris Mullin
8. Reggie Miller
9. Hakeem Olajuwon
10. David Robinson

Three centers in the top ten.

93-94:

1. David Robinson
2. Shaquille O'Neal
3. Hakeem Olajuwon
4. Dominique Wilkins
5. Karl Malone
6. Patrick Ewing
7. Mitch Richmond
8. Scottie Pippen
9. Charles Barkley
10. Glen Rice

Four centers on the list, including each of the top three.

99-00

1. Shaquille O'Neal
2. Allen Iverson
3. Grant Hill
4. Vince Carter
5. Karl Malone
6. Chris Webber
7. Gary Payton
8. Jerry Stackhouse
9. Tim Duncan
10. Kevin Garnett

Let's call that two, as I submit to you that Duncan's natural position has always been center, and despite how some people list him, that's the role he's played for the Spurs since Robinson retired (Or do you really insist that DeJuan Blair and Antonio McDyess are centers?). Also of note, the top guy is a center.

Now, last year's list:

1. Kevin Durant
2. LeBron James
3. Carmelo Anthony
4. Kobe Bryant
5. Dwyane Wade
6. Monta Ellis
7. Dirk Nowitzki
8. Danny Granger
9. Chris Bosh
10.Amar'e Stoudemire

That's zero. The year before? Still zero. The last time there was one in the top ten was 03-04, and that's if we count Duncan. Centers lead the league in scoring three times in the 90's, and now it's been a full decade since that's happened.

So then, what happened to the offensively gifted center? In a sport that's seen so many athletes who combine size, athleticism, and scoring touch, where have they all gone? Nowadays, teams are so desperate at that position, that they do things like take Hasheem Thabeet with the second pick despite clearly having minimal talent, and consider a stiff like Semih Erden a solid backup center. Have we seen the death of the 25+ PPG center?



PS: Also of perhaps interesting note is the shrinking of the position. I hear a lot of people make a big deal about a guy being seven feet tall, but the fact is that A| This is a league with very few legit seven foot centers B| The non seven footers are arguably out-performing the ones who are.
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Old 02-09-2011, 08:53 PM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,346 posts, read 83,000,765 times
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Could be the three point line has shifted some of the balance to outside shooters?
Also, all players forwards and guards are much bigger than when Wilt and Lew Alcindor played. Magic was only an inch or two shorter than several centers such as Bill Russell and Willis Reed. Nowadays forwards are 6'10 and 6'11 making it more difficult for one man to dominate the paint. How big was a forward in Wilt's day?
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Old 02-10-2011, 06:24 AM
 
Location: spring tx
7,912 posts, read 8,196,988 times
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i would say the rules have shifted things more then the 3 point line although that line doesnt help centers. the rules are very beneficial for outside guys and not for inside guys. perimeter players cant be touched while post players get smashed with no calls.
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Old 02-10-2011, 06:38 AM
 
51,934 posts, read 41,798,494 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rigas View Post
i would say the rules have shifted things more then the 3 point line although that line doesnt help centers. the rules are very beneficial for outside guys and not for inside guys. perimeter players cant be touched while post players get smashed with no calls.
^^^ What he said.

They have opened up the game to slashers and perimeter players which is a big reason why Nash suddenly exploded at that stage of his career.

The other thing is that there are just sometimes erratic entries of talent by position over the years. Really, the "Jordan Era" hosted one of the best collections of centers in NBA history with Olajuwon, Ewing, Robinson, Shaq, Mourning and even a number of guys that while not HOF calibre were pretty dang good like Rik Smits and more.

Consider Bynum for example. If he didn't have injuries and were playing on some mid-tier team as the #1 scoring option I could absolutely see him scoring 25+ a night. Ditto for Yao Ming whom finished 10th in scoring in 07despite lower minutes.
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Old 02-11-2011, 05:46 PM
 
Location: Here or There
3,960 posts, read 2,512,283 times
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^^ I agree. I dont think we have seen as many gifted centers come into the league. Plus, a lot of the centers that have entered the league seem to be 'projects'. Dwight Howard, while gifted, would probably have benefitted from a year or two of college to refine his footwork, positioning, etc.

Plus, the 3point shot was supposed to have the opposite effect as well: It was supposed to open up the floor for big men, too, because the spacing would be better with the 3pointer as such a threat. But, how many players in the post period, not just centers, are able to take advantage of better floor spacing?
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:53 AM
 
Location: EAST-SIDE INDIANAPOLIS
355 posts, read 789,463 times
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Plus except for Bynum and Howard, all the people who are tall enough are shooting jumpers also.

I would like to note some quality big men who are all around players.

Gasoul, beautiful game, one of the prettiest next to Duncan I've ever seen.

Kevin Love, while undersized is a beast and a hard worker.

Roy Hibbert, has been starting to come around, especially now we have a new coach who is letting him do what he does best.


These are just some examples but honestly the "NEW" center type is
someone who looks more like Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzski, or a high flyer like Blake Griffin.
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:57 AM
 
Location: The City
22,331 posts, read 32,161,575 times
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No
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Old 02-16-2011, 10:47 PM
 
724 posts, read 1,471,526 times
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There will never be a center better than Olajuwon at scoring. His series against David Robinson proved that. Not even Jabbar could score like that on Parish. Chamberlain didn't own Russell like that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxDop...eature=related
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Old 02-18-2011, 12:20 AM
 
Location: Here or There
3,960 posts, read 2,512,283 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
There will never be a center better than Olajuwon at scoring. His series against David Robinson proved that. Not even Jabbar could score like that on Parish. Chamberlain didn't own Russell like that.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxDop...eature=related

I remember that series, and it wasnt like Robinson was chopped liver--wasnt he MVP or something that year? Olajuwon just killed him...
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Old 02-18-2011, 07:27 AM
 
Location: spring tx
7,912 posts, read 8,196,988 times
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yeah houston rockets fans still live off that video/series. last good thing the rockets ever did. looking at the numbers david got the best of hakeem on a regular basis and while hakeem was better all around, david was a lot closer to him then anyone gives him credit for. hakeem was way more motivated for that series and to be honest it wasnt davids fault, he carried his teams like nobody else and on top of that they gave him the mvp trophy right before game 1 of that series. that should have never happened and it just motivated hakeem so much more, david didnt know what hit him.

in the end, the hakeem got a couple rings, david got a couple rings, and the spurs kept going, the rockets ehhh not so much. living in houston being a spurs fan, we CONSTANTLY have to hear about how hakeem got robinson. the 1st sign of a rockets/spurs conversation and in 30 seconds or less that single loan series will be brought up, you can set your watch to it.
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