The Center Position is Almost Obsolete

By Marc Jenkins
What Happened to the Center Position?
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US Presswire

Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, Tyson Chandler, Marc Gasol, Kendrick Perkins, JaVale McGee, Al Jefferson, DeAndre Jordan, Roy Hibbert, Brook Lopez, Joakim Noah, Chris Kaman, Andrew Bogut, DeMarcus Cousins and now Anthony Davis and Tyler Zeller.

Those 16 players are the last of a dying breed once known in not only the NBA and basketball as the center. Now don’t get me wrong there are others out there including the almost 40-year old Marcus Camby but the rest of those players aren’t truly worth mentioning. In the days of our past the center was one of if not the most important position on the entire basketball court. If a team had a dominant big man then there was an excellent chance for that team to not only be one of the best teams in the league but also to win an NBA Championship at the end of the season.

Now it seems as if most guys who occupy the five position are truly just glorified power forwards who have to play in the middle because the team doesn’t have anyone else to. Honestly at five or six of the players who I named above could be considered glorified power forwards including the new so-called big man on the block Davis. In recent seasons there have been all-time great power forwards such as Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan who have been asked to man the center position simply because their teams just didn’t have anyone on the roster that could do so.

This have been a known fact now for at least half a decade or so but now the NBA has pretty much all but confirmed it with the announcement on Wednesday that there would no longer be a slot on the All-Star ballot for the center position. Now the Association will go with three “front court” players on the ballot instead pretty confirming one of my greatest fears and conspiracy theories in the process.

Did seven-footers just stop being born or should I say did guys just stop growing that tall? Or is it just that the game has transformed into so much of a razzle-dazzle affair that seven-footers such as Kevin Durant and Dirk Nowitzki patterned their game into more of an outside one as opposed to an inside one.

Gone are the days of Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Robert Parish, Moses Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Bill Laimbeer, Joe Barry Carroll and Artis Gillmore all dominating in the same era. It seemed as if it were so long ago but honestly it wasn’t those guys were all playing in the ’80s around the same time when a certain someone name Michael Jordan began playing and all the kids growing up wanted to be like Mike. So maybe this is yet another thing to blame on His Airness; the fact that he made handling the rock, flying through the air and shooting jays look much cooler than posting up, grabbing rebounds and shooting hook shots.

That’s another conspiracy theory for another day but one thing is for certain today, the center position is almost obsolete in the NBA!


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