Will the NBA ever go back to a big man's game

By: Tony Karpinski     Date: Feb 25, 2016

The style of basketball has changed drastically over the years. Many like the up tempo style these days brings. Some even could say it is, in fact, much more exciting basketball, than back years ago when the big man dominated the lane. Some feel that the fast pace and up tempo basketball is much more fun to watch, than the mighty 7 footer backing in down low. This is, mind you, not that far off from the era of 7 seconds or less, the Suns ran years ago. Some say the style of muscling their way under the rim and pushing their way under the basket was not as fun. But when you watched players like Hakeem and David Robinson battle it out with great big man finesse, it was a real thing of beauty to watch.


The game of highlight reels, and individualized play, that Jordan brought, making kids want to be shooting guards and play "like Mike" made the game a different one than what it once was built off of. Then we had the game change again, with dead eye bigs, like Dirk Nowitzki, for showing the NBA that a sharp shooting big man could lead a team.

So is it possible, after all the years of great bigs in the NBA, the Shaqs, Kareems, and Wilts will this game ever going to come back around? Can the league handle another 7 footer, another big body that breaks defense, and plays with great skill around the hoop? The offensive scheme changed greatly in the NBA.


It's now not about starting plays down low, but the wing players. The big dominate big men are still incredibly appreciated, but in the game today, from SG through the C can actually run a post game, and still be effective. Centers are shooting more 15 footers than ever before, and the PFs are now playing like SFs who step out to shoot the basketball for floor spacing purposes.


Kids are looking to dribble a bit longer and make it much more of an individual game, opposed to more of a team game. Young players, not going to college to enhance their fundamental skills, and try to jump straight to the NBA, has hurt the skill set of the player these days, especially the big man. There are many factors as to what changed the game, not necessarily for the better. These are end results of all of those.


Right now, power big, DeMarcus Cousins is the closest thing to an old school center that is actually a legit force on the court. With his scoring skills and excellent ability to defend the rim, he is a pleasure to watch play the game. It's a shame, in a lot of ways because the "small-ball" and the deep ball 3 point shot love-fest, has taken away a whole bunch of fundamentals from the game. To clarify, I still enjoy the game, I love the long ​ball shootouts, but the center is becoming almost an obsolete position.


The days of having set plays, where teams were able to play the game, seem to be hard to imagine coming back. I enjoyed watching players post up properly in the box, involve the entire team on the court, not just the SGs. Run a play and make those slick passes down low, that get the crowds going nuts. Then toss out the cherry pick pass for the power dunk. I don't ever see that game coming back, or at least anytime soon. There is too much of an emphasis on scoring now. It's not about locking down the paint, because no one goes into the paint anymore. It's in another sense, no different than removing the toughened ability to let guys play some knuckles up defense.


I wonder if the 80s Pistons or the early 90s Knicks would manage in the modern game? I want to say they would be fine, but with these rules, their tough style of grind it out ball would get blown off the courts. The amazing matchup in the 94 finals with the Rockets and the Knicks would be laughed at in this day and age. No one wants to see teams being led by skilled bigs loping around 7-10 feet, with jump hooks, up and unders, and leaning one handers.


After the battle like those for so many years, when the NBA hoops were slowed down, brutal, slug fests, I think that the higher ups, and the shirts of the NBA pushed things in this direction as well. They wanted to open the game up, make it faster. Which is all fun for intents and purposes, but it has greatly diminished the 5 position. In the era of today, and the lack of attention span from much of the younger generation, only high scores and fast offense will fill the stadiums and get those TV ratings up. The days of tough physical play and defense has been taken away from the sport, basketball is a much more one dimensional perimeter game now.


This game today lacks fundamentals, it has for years now. How many "real"centers do you see playing with their back to the basket? I grew up watching a different game. It was a game where it was a team, and those mighty bigs down low caused havoc on defense, when they got banging around down there. It's gotten to the point that it makes me thing nobody embraces tough competition anymore. The young "bigs" are all growing up trying to solely shoot jump shots from 15-18 feet, and focusing on just dunking, instead of actually learning to use their body correctly. To master the art of playing post up basketball with an array of sweet moves down low. And of course, the quickness of being able to move out of the post on defense to help out your teammates.


It's great to have a big who has the skills to be able to surprise his opponent and stick a 16 footer, but it shouldn't be his bread and butter. He is supposed to have his back to the rim and play down low. I want my center to command double teams, for him to know how to beat it with a quick baby hook, or find his man open at the free throw line for a jumper.


It's a different game now and the spreads and totals continue to rise, this is so true by visiting William Hill Sports and check the NBA section for the latest updates.


Fun. Yes.

Fast paced. Yes.

Exciting. Yes.

Lacking. Yes.

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