The BIG Man is Making a Comeback

By ChrisH
Nov. 07, 2016

The NBA is changing. The 3-point shot is becoming more and more of a weapon. No longer do teams play a slow paced game. There is no more dumping it into the post and causing a double team. Coaches today want their players taking 3-point shots. Guys like Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard are extremely valuable in the NBA today because they can make those long bombs with consistency. But the big is making a comeback in the NBA.

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The center and power forward position have changed. To become a hall of famer today, it takes more than having footwork down low. On my podcast, we discussed why this change is occurring. One reason is because guards don’t have to feed the bigs anymore. Coaches don’t enforce that rule of feed the post. Could you imagine a big man like Shaq playing today? He would eat Stephen Curry for taking some of the shots he does.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

That leads to the next reason big men don’t post up. If they can’t get the ball inside, they have to come outside. Centers and stretch fours have decided that having a consistent jump shot is just as important as being able to do a jump hook. The best big men in the league can shoot outside and still bully you in the paint. Karl Anthony Towns, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and now even Marc Gasol all have expanded their game. To prove my point, look at Zach Randolph. He has been unable to adapt to the new type of NBA. He literally can’t shoot and this lead to him becoming a 6th man and we know he’s on the trading block. Kenneth Faried is another player who seems obsolete in this new age NBA. He's athletic but very undersized for his position.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the position is changing, some big have found ways to adapt. NBA general managers chose Karl Anthony Towns as the player they’d start a franchise with. That’s over Lebron James and Stephen Curry. Joel Embiid has only played a few games but Philadelphia 76er fans haven’t been that loud in years. Watching him play you can see all of the versatility. Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers is making his case for most improved player. He’s shown some defensive and definitely has some range on that jump shot. The young rookie Thon Maker is making some noise as well. 

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA still has valuable big men. The novice fans don’t seem to notice. Kevin Durant draining 3s from half court is more exciting than 14 rebounds. I get it. But the true NBA big man will never become outmoded. When these teams are in the playoffs and the game slows down, no jump shots are falling and it gets harder to get a bucket, they need a big man. Lebron James did it for the Cavaliers, Tim Duncan and LaMarcus Aldridge did it for the Spurs. To win a championship, you need a player who can score in the paint consistently.