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Old 03-08-2009, 05:00 PM   #1
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Default True Measure of Shaq's Dominance: Rise and Fall of Big Stiff Era

Everyone says the Shaq era had no big men. Its the widely held view and everybody uses this to discredit the time when Shaq was dominating the league, but this thought is false. The truth is Shaq was so dominant that he made center sized players like JO, Rasheed Wallace, Tim Duncan, Marcus Camby, Tyson Chandler, and Chris Webber chose to play the 4 because they didn't want to deal with his physicality. Teams were so intimidated by his game that they allowed an entire era's level of play to decline.

Think about how dominant a player has to be to make that big of an impact in the league. Every team wanted to play a 7 ft+ 270 pound big guy just so they could bang with Shaq. This meant we had good teams playing with guys like Jamal Magloire, Jason Collins, Jeff Foster, Erick Dampier, Elden Campbell, and Nazr Mohammed as starting centers because they were big bodies who would bang with Shaq, even though they had no skills. This approach which meant most teams were playing basically 4 on 5 on offense is what led to the fewest points scored in the modern era.

As Shaq's dominance declined, this style of play slowly started dying out. As Coach D'Antoni's Suns proved you could win (at least in the regular season) running and by playing your best players regardless of play the Big Stiff Era seems to be over. Now we have the group of 6"10+ bigs (JO, Sheed, Duncan, Chandler, etc) spending most of their time as centers while guys like KG or Dirk get minutes at the 5 from time to time, and because of it the level of play is increasing. Had all these bigs who are all as big or bigger than Hakeem and Patrick Ewing manned up and played big all along it would have been this way all along.

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Old 03-08-2009, 05:27 PM   #2
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Default Re: Misconception - Early 2000s had no big men

He wasn't that dominated. He lucked out on this last 3 championships...
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Old 03-08-2009, 05:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: True Measure of Shaq's Dominance - Big Stiff Era

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2LeTTeRS
Everyone says the Shaq era had no big men. Its the widely held view and everybody uses this to discredit the time when Shaq was dominating the league, but this thought is false. The truth is Shaq was so dominant that he made center sized players like JO, Rasheed Wallace, Tim Duncan, Marcus Camby, Tyson Chandler, and Chris Webber chose to play the 4 because they didn't want to deal with his physicality. Teams were so intimidated by his game that they allowed an entire era's level of play to decline.

LOL completely false. I stopped reading your post right there.
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Old 03-08-2009, 05:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: Misconception - Early 2000s had no big men

I don't think Shaq scared those players into becoming power forwards. There just aren't many great bigs that have come out with the true size of a center. There have been a ton of good power forwards. I credit much of the movement to power forwards developing perimeter games to Dirk and KG. This upcoming era has been influenced by watching KG and his versatile style.
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Old 03-08-2009, 05:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: True Measure of Shaq's Dominance - Big Stiff Era

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2LeTTeRS
Everyone says the Shaq era had no big men. Its the widely held view and everybody uses this to discredit the time when Shaq was dominating the league, but this thought is false. The truth is Shaq was so dominant that he made center sized players like JO, Rasheed Wallace, Tim Duncan, Marcus Camby, Tyson Chandler, and Chris Webber chose to play the 4 because they didn't want to deal with his physicality. Teams were so intimidated by his game that they allowed an entire era's level of play to decline.

Think about how dominant a player has to be to make that big of an impact in the league. Every team wanted to play a 7 ft+ 270 pound big guy just so they could bang with Shaq. This meant we had good teams playing with guys like Jamal Magloire, Jason Collins, Jeff Foster, Erick Dampier, Elden Campbell, and Nazr Mohammed as starting centers because they were big bodies who would bang with Shaq, even though they had no skills. This approach which meant most teams were playing basically 4 on 5 on offense is what led to the fewest points scored in the modern era.

As Shaq's dominance declined, this style of play slowly started dying out. As Coach D'Antoni's Suns proved you could win (at least in the regular season) running and by playing your best players regardless of play the Big Stiff Era seems to be over. Now we have the group of 6"10+ bigs (JO, Sheed, Duncan, Chandler, etc) spending most of their time as centers while guys like KG or Dirk get minutes at the 5 from time to time, and because of it the level of play is increasing. Had all these bigs who are all as big or bigger than Hakeem and Patrick Ewing manned up and played big all along it would have been this way all along.

Correct me if I'm wrong.....

But you're basically saying that today's so called big men are pussyes?

Which basically proves our point, that today's league is gay and there's no true big men. Specially when they're shooting 3 point shots for half the game.
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Old 03-08-2009, 05:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: Misconception - Early 2000s had no big men

chris webber played PF in college... (juwan howard was the C for the Fab 5, unless Eric Riley subbed in for Webber, which moved juwan to PF).

maybe coach fisher had a deal worked out with webber to play him at PF in college so he would be more likely to stay at that spot in the NBA, thus avoiding having to match up with shaq?

streeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetch
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Old 03-08-2009, 05:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: True Measure of Shaq's Dominance - Big Stiff Era

Quote:
Originally Posted by Showtime
LOL completely false. I stopped reading your post right there.

So why did these guys play the 4? I'm not necessarily saying it was just the players doing, the coaches and front offices were more guilty than the players. They wasted early picks on guys like Michael Olowakandi, Desagana Diop, Rafael Araujo, and Chris Mihm who all didn't have the mobility or skill because they had good size and were thought to be better suited to bang with Shaq. If you don't want to credit Shaq for that then what do you blame it on?
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Old 03-08-2009, 06:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: True Measure of Shaq's Dominance - Big Stiff Era

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2LeTTeRS
So why did these guys play the 4? I'm not necessarily saying it was just the players doing, the coaches and front offices were more guilty than the players. They wasted early picks on guys like Michael Olowakandi, Desagana Diop, Rafael Araujo, and Chris Mihm who all didn't have the mobility or skill because they had good size and were thought to be better suited to bang with Shaq. If you don't want to credit Shaq for that then what do you blame it on?
That's the point: it doesn't have to be "blamed" on anybody, because those players weren't centers, period. No one player was responsible for players playing at their natural positions. Guys like Sheed, Webber, KG, Jermaine, etc were all better PF's because that's their natural positions. To suggest that Shaq made them play PF is ridiculous. What logic is that? Plus, all those guys played in different conferences, so they only saw Shaq a couple times a year, and didn't have to worry about him in the playoffs. But I guess those few regular season games made those players PF's. Pssh
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Old 03-08-2009, 06:06 PM   #9
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Default Re: True Measure of Shaq's Dominance - Big Stiff Era

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2LeTTeRS
So why did these guys play the 4? I'm not necessarily saying it was just the players doing, the coaches and front offices were more guilty than the players. They wasted early picks on guys like Michael Olowakandi, Desagana Diop, Rafael Araujo, and Chris Mihm who all didn't have the mobility or skill because they had good size and were thought to be better suited to bang with Shaq. If you don't want to credit Shaq for that then what do you blame it on?

Those bums had jobs for the exact reason you said. Teams needed guys with size that would have a chance against Shaq. Players like C-Webb, JO, Sheed, Camby, and Duncan just didn't have the size to contend against him. Granted they all played defense against him at times. Another reason they weren't guarding him all game is he would have gotten them in foul trouble which would have killed their respective teams. Shaq is too much of a force inside and gets to the line too much to have your best player matched up on him.
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Old 03-08-2009, 06:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: True Measure of Shaq's Dominance - Big Stiff Era

Quote:
Originally Posted by andgar923
Correct me if I'm wrong.....

But you're basically saying that today's so called big men are pussyes?

Which basically proves our point, that today's league is gay and there's no true big men. Specially when they're shooting 3 point shots for half the game.

Actually my point is that the thought that Shaq only dominated because he was the only big in the league was wrong. Had JO, Sheed, Tim Duncan, etc. been drafted in the 80s or early 90s they would have played center. Instead the whether the decision was made by the player or the team these guys all ended being 4s.
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Old 03-08-2009, 06:12 PM   #11
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Default Re: Misconception - Early 2000s had no big men

But I thought that these players with the use of advanced technology/greater fitness knowledge/evolution making them bigger, faster, stronger, and better would negate Shaq's dominance?

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Old 03-08-2009, 06:13 PM   #12
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Default Re: True Measure of Shaq's Dominance - Big Stiff Era

Quote:
Originally Posted by Showtime
That's the point: it doesn't have to be "blamed" on anybody, because those players weren't centers, period. No one player was responsible for players playing at their natural positions. Guys like Sheed, Webber, KG, Jermaine, etc were all better PF's because that's their natural positions. To suggest that Shaq made them play PF is ridiculous. What logic is that? Plus, all those guys played in different conferences, so they only saw Shaq a couple times a year, and didn't have to worry about him in the playoffs. But I guess those few regular season games made those players PF's. Pssh

Again these guys were all 6'10 or taller and weighed more than 240. Most of them who went to college played center there. But even though teams had no player with similar skill at the center they decided these guys were too small to play the 5. Why is that?
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Old 03-08-2009, 06:21 PM   #13
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Default Re: True Measure of Shaq's Dominance - Big Stiff Era

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2LeTTeRS
Again these guys were all 6'10 or taller and weighed more than 240. Most of them who went to college played center there.

Just because they fit a certain size doesn't mean they are centers. Their play style determines position, not size. Gervin and T-Mac were 6'8'' yet they played SG. Ben Wallace and Rodman were 6'7''-6'8'' yet played Center and PF positions. Just because Webber and KG were 6'10''+ doesn't make them centers because you think they should be. Why aren't Dirk and Amare true centers? Because they don't have that style. It's not their game.

Also, about your point of college ball: many players end up in different positions once they make the NBA. For example, Corliss Williamson was a big man but once he made the league, he was considered a "small" PF, and often ended up playing between the 3 and 4 positions. Many players who are big enough in college to play the 4/5 end up moving down once they get to the NBA.

And again, you have yet to make a valid point as to why Shaq would have anything to do with that.

Quote:
But even though teams had no player with similar skill at the center they decided these guys were too small to play the 5. Why is that?

Because they had different games, and weren't true centers. Their natural positions were the 4 spot. Why is this so difficult to grasp?
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Old 03-08-2009, 06:23 PM   #14
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Default Re: True Measure of Shaq's Dominance - Big Stiff Era

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Originally Posted by Showtime
LOL completely false. I stopped reading your post right there.

No kidding.
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Old 03-08-2009, 06:43 PM   #15
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Default Re: True Measure of Shaq's Dominance - Big Stiff Era

Quote:
Originally Posted by Showtime
Just because they fit a certain size doesn't mean they are centers. Their play style determines position, not size. Gervin and T-Mac were 6'8'' yet they played SG. Ben Wallace and Rodman were 6'7''-6'8'' yet played Center and PF positions. Just because Webber and KG were 6'10''+ doesn't make them centers because you think they should be. Why aren't Dirk and Amare true centers? Because they don't have that style. It's not their game.

Also, about your point of college ball: many players end up in different positions once they make the NBA. For example, Corliss Williamson was a big man but once he made the league, he was considered a "small" PF, and often ended up playing between the 3 and 4 positions. Many players who are big enough in college to play the 4/5 end up moving down once they get to the NBA.

I'm not claiming that every player should continue playing the same position in the pro's that they played in college, but I do believe trying to play a "true center" hurt the league. I think a team should play 2 bigs, 2 swings and a point guard, regardless of if either of those bigs had the size or strength to contain Shaq. Unfortunately only teams coached by Nelson and D'Antoni had the balls to buck the team, and every other team played guys that didn't have the skill to be in this league.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Showtime
And again, you have yet to make a valid point as to why Shaq would have anything to do with that.

I'm not sure what you're looking for. My point is 1) the NBA is a copy cat league and after Shaq came in the league players who previously would have been centers were slid down a position and made into 4s, 2) that prior to that guys with similar build and frame did play center and now after Shaq was thought to be outside of his reign of dominance these same guys are playing center, and 3) that after guys like Dwight Howard, Ben Wallace and Amare Stoudemire proved its better to abandon the "true center" concept that had 1/2 the team starting stiffs and instead played their best 5 quality of play has improved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Showtime
Because they had different games, and weren't true centers. Their natural positions were the 4 spot. Why is this so difficult to grasp?

Here's the thing what makes them not "true centers"? These guys had the size, length and athleticism necessary to play inside and be dominant like big men are supposed to but instead played the 4. However they chose to redefine the power forward position to avoid the dirty work required of the center position and it was to the detriment of their team and the league. Clear enough?
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