Make no mistake about it. It is a point guard driven league in today’s NBA. From Stephen Curry to Kyrie Irving to Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, Mike Conley, Rajon Rondo, Tony Parker and MANY more. In each conference, top to bottom, seemingly every team has an elite or All-Star worthy point guard. Not only do all these guards play intricate roles for their teams- for some teams, it ALL starts and finishes with the decision of the point guard… And boy is it fun to watch these guards duel.
As competitive, fun, and intense as this point guard era has been- the same cannot be said about the center position.
This position has been dormant to say the least. Kind of boring, a snooze-fest. The NBA even eliminated the position from the All-Star game in 2012 because the style of play in the league was changing- A style that put much more emphasis on ball movement and a teams’ back court- “Small Ball”. Since the Center position is mostly a reliant position, the art of low post scoring and defensive skills are eclipsed by the “Small ball” trend. Big men like Dwight Howard, Demarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan, and Tim Duncan are all great Centers, each one different in their own styles of play. It’s an experience to see them compete against each other. But there are 30 teams in the league, there needs to be more competition amongst the Centers.
For those of us who love watching 7-footers scrap, claw, and battle under the rim, this 2015 draft may be the breath of fresh air that we’ve been waiting for. At the top, ranked and picked #1 in the draft, Power Forward/Center Karl-Anthony Towns is only 19 years old and has all the makings of a superstar. Good offensive skills, passing and just a natural touch for the game. At #3 in the draft you have Jahlil Okafor. Also just 19 years old. He has polished offensive touch, a champion in College and High School, nice feel for the game, with a deep bag of tricks and maneuvers in the post. He has often been compared to Tim Duncan. At #4, you have a towering 7 foot 3 Power Forward/Center- Kristaps Porzingis (also age 19) with a nice offensive touch, it’s practically impossible to defend his pull up jumper, very good at establishing position, and he’s able to put the ball on the floor and make plays for others. He’s also presumed to be a superstar in the making. Other promising Centers in this stacked draft include: #6 pick-Willie Cauley-Stein, #9 pick-Frank Kaminsky, and #11 pick-Miles Turner. All these young Centers need to be featured and play a major role in their teams’ productivity on the floor. With talent and potential like this on a team, the fading style of post play should now be heavily utilized.
The NBA needs more young, talented big men like these, the position clearly needs to be restored. It’s going to be fun to watch these talented young players develop, and compete against the leagues’ best. Already looking forward to see Karl Anthony-Towns vs Marc Gasol matchup. Or to watch Jhalil Okafor go against Tim Duncan in a “Past/Present vs Future” showdown. Or how does a Willie Cauley-Stein and DeAndre Jordan matchup sound? I can’t wait.
Remember the days when the foundation of your team was supposed to be a 7ft behemoth Center (or Power Forward, sometimes they’d switch) clogging the paint? Who’s job was supposed to stop and/or block opponents shots when they broke down the defense OR be willing and able to score a bucket in the clutch or whenever needed, by using a plethora of post moves? I.E. Tim Duncan. How about Shaquille O’Neal or Yao Ming, Ben Wallace, David Robinson… remember?
Well those days just may be on their way back.
P.S. GOOD LUCK AND GET WELL SOON JOEL EMBIID!!