Re: Is The Center Position Dead/Going to Die?
Each decade "grows" 1 to 3 true 7 footers that are athletically and mentally ready, have the motor skills and coordination, and basketball savvy for....... not just NBA level hoops, but ELITE level hoops. Sure there are 7 footers out there, and some are extremely high quality hoopsters too. But to talk about elite?
1 per decade. You get Wilt, you get Kareem, you get Shaq.....
Best of the best, you get 2 or 3 per decade. In the world.
That's it, that's all you get.
This decade has had its entire generation of potentially elite 7 footers ruined by injuries. Look at Yao, Oden, Bynum.
You've always had teams play the 2 -3 lineup. Always been there. But in today's NBA all teams are doing it, because there literally isn't a center able to bend the league to his will.
Thus Shaquille O'Neal was able to dominate in the playoffs for limited minutes even in his dotage.
I wished Dalembert would have been what he's not; same thing with İlyasova. And they're not 7 footers either.
Over the past couple seasons I have had some strong suspicions that Pekovic might be breaking into that category of changing the shape and shadow of the NBA (although not a 7 footer), bending it to his will. He's nowhere as skilled as those elite of the elite; but his physical power is so great that it seems at times like he can overwhelm teams similar to what Shaq was doing. Warping the league with sheer power. You could see the same panic on other team's bench, the same desperate shouting from coaches, the same collapsing defenses.
But instead, he seems to be joining the Oden and Bynum category.... his injuries are stopping him at this point, and he's never had enough time to get a rhythm for more than 7 or 8 games in a row.
I've never seen a league so empty of immensely skilled 7 footers and yeah it's entirely changed the way the league looks. They are playing a lot of gnat ball right now.
The center game is not dead - ruinous injuries have stopped it for this decade.