Tag: Ty Lawson

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Why The NBA Is Now A Small Man’s Game

The NBA is now a small man’s game.

In the 90s, the NBA was known as a big man’s league. With superstars like Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson and Alonzo Mourning roaming the paint, the prevailing thought was that if you didn’t have a dominant – or at the very least, a capable – centre on your roster, then you were going to struggle to compete with the league’s elite teams.

Either that, or you needed Michael Jeffrey Jordan.

Not only was there a number of great players at the ‘C’ position, but the second and third tier of centres in that era were also very good players. Rik Smits, Brad Daugherty, Dikembe Mutombo, Vlade Divac, Arvydas Sabonis, etc, were no slouches.

In fact, if any of those players were playing today, they would probably be ranked in the top 2 or 3 centres in the game, rather than being placed much further down the pecking order, like they found themselves in the 90s.

Such a sentiment highlights a not-so-subtle shift in the NBA in recent times. Though there remain a number of very good low post players in the league, the position with the most superstar depth at present is actually point guard.

While in the 90s many believed that you simply couldn’t do without an elite centre, that narrative has now changed to having a high caliber point guard on your roster.

Which suggests that the NBA is now a small man’s game.

Actually, that line – and the heading – is a little misleading. It’s not that the NBA has suddenly shifted to being a league for midgets, but rather that there is a feeling that you need a playmaker to be truly successful in the modern NBA.

In essence, the belief is that you need a point guard if you want to win, because it seems like every NBA team has a good-to-great one calling the shots at present.

Photo Credit: www.kaskus.co.id

Photo Credit: www.kaskus.co.id

At the elite level, there is Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry, Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving, Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo.

On the second tier, there’s John Wall, Mike Conley, Damian Lillard, Ty Lawson, Jrue Holiday, Eric Bledisloe and Ricky Rubio.

Behind those players, there is a solid cast including Jeff Teague, Jose Calderon, Andre Miller, Kemba Walker, Jarrett Jack, Brandon Jennings, Jeremy Lin, Raymond Felton, Steve Blake and Jameer Nelson.

You also have this season’s rookies with amazing potential, Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo.

That’s 27 quality point guards, and I haven’t even considered primary ball-handlers like LeBron James, Andre Iguodala and James Harden, who aren’t listed at ‘PG’, but very much play that role for their teams.

Another player absent from the list is two-time league MVP Steve Nash. Considering how quickly he has succumbed to Father Time, there’s a good reason he has his own paragraph: he still deserves a mention, but he’s no longer anywhere near elite, and there have even been whispers he may retire at any moment due to his injuries.

With so many quality floor generals, NBA General Managers now treat the ‘1’ position the same way they did the centre spot in the 90s. In other words, their thought process is “I gotta get me a point guard!”

The NBA has always been a copycat league. As soon as a team has some success with something slightly different, everyone jumps on the bandwagon.

Such trends have included: getting a center, needing 3 All-Stars, going small, going big, pressing, Twin Towers, building around one high volume scorer, tanking, going ten deep, implementing run & gun offenses, stretch 4s, building through the draft, hiring a college coach, playing zone, corner threes, recruiting international players, rough and physical defense, and the list goes on.

Photo Credit: www.projectspurs.com

Photo Credit: www.projectspurs.com

And so we come to point guards, somewhat the 2013 phenomenon.

Though the desire to have an elite level point guard is born out of the depth at the position at the moment, it’s always made sense to have a good NBA quarterback.

Good point guards handle the ball, display leadership ability, control the flow of the game, get all their teammates involved, play the role of ‘coach on the floor’, initiate the offense, break down the D if the offense falls apart, get easy buckets, push the fast break, and generally run the team.

Without all those qualities, most teams today – and throughout history – would struggle to win basketball games.

Though many will disagree, I personally think the point guard is the most important position in basketball. Of course, I would say that as an ex-point guard myself.

Yet regardless of your own opinions on which position in basketball is the most vital, one cannot deny that it is currently the era of the great point guard in the NBA, and it’s making for some highly enjoyable play.

This content was first published on The Roar at www.theroar.com.au



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NBA Nation’s Season Previews: Part 2

CHICAGO BULLS:

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The huge story for the Bulls is, of course, the return of their super star guard Derrick Rose after more than a year and a half out of the game following his crippling knee injury during the 2011/12 playoffs. The big questions about Rose’s ability to return at full strength and be the competitive force we all know and love remain the talk of the town, and any Bulls fan will tell you they are as anxious as ever about the return than ever before. After so long out of the game, it’s no secret it will take time for Rose to settle back into his role as the leader of the team, and help them win the games they need to in order to remain a threat to Miami come the business end of the season. Their success this year will depend on it, and if he can’t guide them back to the top of east, the Bulls and their fans will see season 2013/14 as a bitter disappointment. But the Bulls are far from irrelevant, with a lineup that remains competitive enough to warrant being in the conversation when discussing the upper tier in the Eastern conference when playing well. Their tall front court of Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng is one of the more defensively tough lineups in the NBA and should continue to plague team’s who depend on high scoring players to win games. The second string should also provide some valuable minutes off the bench with the likes of Taj Gibson and Kirk Hinrich, as well as new recruit Mike Dunleavy and Jimmy Butler who are all capable of playing their roles well on a team desperate for some talented depth. Overall, the Bulls should enjoy a more consistent season after having dropped the dead weight and simplifying their lineup.

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Iguodala is not the star to save the Nuggets

Aug 9 2012 – Andre Iguodala traded to Denver Nuggets as part of Howard Mega trade. 

Andre Iguodla