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View Full Version : Why are today's centers limited compared to the 90s and 80s?



True Blue NY
10-19-2010, 11:50 AM
Think about all the great Hall of Fame centers in the late 80s and 90s - Patrick Ewing, Hakeem, David Robinson, Shaq, Mourning, etc.

Today, it's just Howard and an injury-prone Yao Ming. There's been a lack of great centers for years. It's like every year you know who will get the center spot on the All-NBA First Team. It wasn't like that in the 90s.

Why?

Hawkeye15
10-19-2010, 12:02 PM
because the center position is not considered "sexy", like the other positions. The young players out there now watched players like KG, and said to themselves, "I want to be a big man who handles the ball and shoots jumpers". Nobody teaches/preaches post game anymore.
That being said, with Marc Gasol, Cousins, Lopez, Bogut, and a handful of other centers up and coming, I have faith it will eventually be restored.

KingOf215
10-19-2010, 12:32 PM
Not saying this is the main reason, but I'm sure the emergance of other sports is taking big, talented athletes away also. There just wasn't as many options back then in the 80s/90s if you are a big athlete. Just look at the heavyweight division in boxing... big men are going elsewhere.

John Walls Era
10-19-2010, 12:35 PM
Howard isn't even a traditional C in that sense. He plays D like a center, but thats about it.

DerekRE_3
10-19-2010, 12:38 PM
Boogie

Klivlend
10-19-2010, 12:56 PM
Not saying this is the main reason, but I'm sure the emergance of other sports is taking big, talented athletes away also. There just wasn't as many options back then in the 80s/90s if you are a big athlete. Just look at the heavyweight division in boxing... big men are going elsewhere.

How many 7 footers are there in boxing? Basketball is really the only sport being 7 feet is good for.

JordansBulls
10-19-2010, 12:57 PM
Think about all the great Hall of Fame centers in the late 80s and 90s - Patrick Ewing, Hakeem, David Robinson, Shaq, Mourning, etc.

Today, it's just Howard and an injury-prone Yao Ming. There's been a lack of great centers for years. It's like every year you know who will get the center spot on the All-NBA First Team. It wasn't like that in the 90s.

Why?

Because more people who watched in the 80's and 90's wanted to be like Mike more so which is why most of the top players now are wings.

albertc86
10-19-2010, 01:39 PM
Legitimate, good centers just can't seem to stay healthy anymore. In my opinion, it's because offensive players are given too much protection and the bigs are forced to absorb the punishment when these guys drive to the basket. There's no question that the game was more physical then than it is now but everyone was allowed to be physical back than. Now, you can't even touch a player without getting a call, and this frees up the lane with a collision course with the centers.

Oden, Bynum, Yao, Big Z, etc... are examples. I really don't consider Dwight a center because of his freakish athleticism. I don't remember Shaq ever being 100%, either, during the Lakers' run; he just toughed it out.

Hellcrooner
10-19-2010, 01:40 PM
because if you were born from 1950 to 1975 and you were 6,9 or talller your coaches would teach you post moves and center moves and develop you to be a center.
Even if you were a dacncer with a lt of agility o ball control like Hakjeem they woudl still teach you to be a cnter.

But if you were born later, coaches got more open minded and the big guys shoting jumpeers and thre epointers became more popular after sabionis did it , and since it was considered a hugh advantage to have a 7 footer playing sf or pf agaisnt smaller competition, if you ahd soe cordination and good ball handling you were no longer going to be teached to be a center no amtter how tall you are.

Bottom line, Dirk, Pau, Bosh, Odom, Stoudamire, Duncan, all of them would have been trained as canonical centers if they were born earlier, so it will still be a league of great centers id that happened.

On the other side, im pretty sure hakeem od ewing had been they born later they woudl have been teached to be PF in todays league,

Sixerlover
10-19-2010, 01:52 PM
Because Michael Jordan happened. And everybody with basketball ability would rather play on the wing unless they are absolutely forced to the inside.

albertc86
10-19-2010, 01:58 PM
Michael Jordan has nothing to do with it. Players that are near 7-foot tall or over still play like centers but just not as great as the centers before them. Jordan has nothing to do with it. I don't think these 7-footers suck because they're trying to be like Mike. The MJ factor doesn't apply in the better leagues.

However, you do see this in lesser leagues. For example, if you go to a non-basketball school, you will see that the centers are undersized and don't play like big men. My school's (high school) center was 6'5" and he tried to play like a guard. When he was against other centers in the league, he was one of the tallest, but when he was invited to UCLA's camp, he was forced to guard the 2-position. And he was exposed. He was extremely slow and got owned.

So no, the MJ factor has nothing to do with it. If you're young and big, you're pretty much treated as a clumsy player, and forced to do what a center does.

b_russ
10-19-2010, 02:00 PM
Andre Drummond (http://www.nbadraft.net/players/andre-drummond), future star center coming soon to an arena near you.

lakers4sho
10-19-2010, 02:01 PM
because if you were born from 1950 to 1975 and you were 6,9 or talller your coaches would teach you post moves and center moves and develop you to be a center.
Even if you were a dacncer with a lt of agility o ball control like Hakjeem they woudl still teach you to be a cnter.

But if you were born later, coaches got more open minded and the big guys shoting jumpeers and thre epointers became more popular after sabionis did it , and since it was considered a hugh advantage to have a 7 footer playing sf or pf agaisnt smaller competition, if you ahd soe cordination and good ball handling you were no longer going to be teached to be a center no amtter how tall you are.

Bottom line, Dirk, Pau, Bosh, Odom, Stoudamire, Duncan, all of them would have been trained as canonical centers if they were born earlier, so it will still be a league of great centers id that happened.

On the other side, im pretty sure hakeem od ewing had been they born later they woudl have been teached to be PF in todays league,

This.

News24/7
10-19-2010, 03:10 PM
because the center position is not considered "sexy", like the other positions. The young players out there now watched players like KG,

more like Patrick Ewing. KG was a PF....

beasted86
10-19-2010, 03:14 PM
because the center position is not considered "sexy", like the other positions. The young players out there now watched players like KG, and said to themselves, "I want to be a big man who handles the ball and shoots jumpers". Nobody teaches/preaches post game anymore.
That being said, with Marc Gasol, Cousins, Lopez, Bogut, and a handful of other centers up and coming, I have faith it will eventually be restored.

Was just about to say something along the lines of this.... but I want to add that sub-pro level basketball coaches also fall into this mindset.

I still remember in high school we had a mobile 6'9" guy who could block shots and score from the post... instead the coach goes with a 6'5" guy playing Center because he wanted to coach a running team. Every damn coach nowadays thinks his team needs to run... it's quite annoying.

Hawkeye15
10-19-2010, 03:17 PM
more like Patrick Ewing. KG was a PF....

My reason for using KG is, players who were huge growing up over the past 10 years, see KG on the perimeter, and want to be that way as well. Its more appealing to young kids to be like KG over Ming

the_jon
10-19-2010, 03:24 PM
Well Tim Duncan is a fantastic Center, even if he's listed as a PF. But yeah the answer to this has been pretty much beaten to death already and we aren't passed the first page.

Brook Lopez and DeMarcus Cousins look like legit centers. Cole Aldrich is a center in the classic mold. These guys do have jumpers but I'm confident they'll all end up known for their post games. Hassan Whiteside is another guy who has all the tools to be a top center.

I'm sort of a newcomer to following basketball, can anyone tell me if I'm on the right track here?

News24/7
10-19-2010, 03:39 PM
My reason for using KG is, players who were huge growing up over the past 10 years, see KG on the perimeter, and want to be that way as well. Its more appealing to young kids to be like KG over Ming

I understand what your saying but i was just saying for centers in general.

But in my opinion, i don't think it's real an influence from the players, i think it's the coachs that really changed the speed. Similar to what the other guy said in the thread.

When i was trying out for varsity in high school, the coach would make us run, and run, and run, and run, and run....x100. I felt like i was doing more track then basketball. At the end of a 3 day tryout, 12 players were picked, and only 2 were actually good, 2 were mediorce at best, and the rest can't handle the ball to save their lives. But they were all very good at one thing...speed. All of them could run like a running back. They can hardly score, but the coach thought it was more important for the team to be able to out-run everybody and keep the adrenaline going.

Team Record: 2-11. Nice work coach :rolleyes:

Basically, coaches like speed, they love the john wall type of players. And notice how many good point guards there on in the nba now. Even the backups like Ty Lawson, Darren Collison (during his year with the hornets). I mean look at what the Wolves did in the 09 draft :p. So many good point guards now...yet not a lot of centers...the 90s was vice versa. You got Stockton and Tim Hardaway, but that's pretty much it. (just in case someone asks, penny H played SG :mad: )

Hawkeye15
10-19-2010, 04:00 PM
I understand what your saying but i was just saying for centers in general.

But in my opinion, i don't think it's real an influence from the players, i think it's the coachs that really changed the speed. Similar to what the other guy said in the thread.

When i was trying out for varsity in high school, the coach would make us run, and run, and run, and run, and run....x100. I felt like i was doing more track then basketball. At the end of a 3 day tryout, 12 players were picked, and only 2 were actually good, 2 were mediorce at best, and the rest can't handle the ball to save their lives. But they were all very good at one thing...speed. All of them could run like a running back. They can hardly score, but the coach thought it was more important for the team to be able to out-run everybody and keep the adrenaline going.

Team Record: 2-11. Nice work coach :rolleyes:

Basically, coaches like speed, they love the john wall type of players. And notice how many good point guards there on in the nba now. Even the backups like Ty Lawson, Darren Collison (during his year with the hornets). I mean look at what the Wolves did in the 09 draft :p. So many good point guards now...yet not a lot of centers...the 90s was vice versa. You got Stockton and Tim Hardaway, but that's pretty much it. (just in case someone asks, penny H played SG :mad: )


mm, I can understand this to a degree. I will say, while I grew up, everyone, and that included big guys, were emulating Jordan. But I agree, the coaching nowadays has a lot to do with it. There just aren't a lot of high school and below coaches with a lot of knowledge, and now the influx of coaches come from my generation, so it is getting even worse.

Run&Gun
10-19-2010, 04:27 PM
I think in general in basketball today most basketball players today are probably not as polished at their position. I think there is this huge wave towards versatility and playing multiple positions rather than just playing one, usually only guys who are skilled in the post are guys who are athletically underwhelmed. Also there's this big push for being an athletic freak "dripping with potential" aka. Tyrus Thomas, Derrick Favors Hasheem Tabeet etc.

There are some big guys who are pretty skilled in the post at the Center position like Lopez, Bogut, Al Jefferson plays like a center even though he's undersized, also Roy Hibbert has some pretty decent moves in the post.

Hawkeye15
10-19-2010, 04:36 PM
I think in general in basketball today most basketball players today are probably not as polished at their position. I think there is this huge wave towards versatility and playing multiple positions rather than just playing one, usually only guys who are skilled in the post are guys who are athletically underwhelmed. Also there's this big push for being an athletic freak "dripping with potential" aka. Tyrus Thomas, Derrick Favors Hasheem Tabeet etc.

There are some big guys who are pretty skilled in the post at the Center position like Lopez, Bogut, Al Jefferson plays like a center even though he's undersized, also Roy Hibbert has some pretty decent moves in the post.

another great point

kblo247
10-19-2010, 04:38 PM
Zone and Kukoc



Kukoc led the revolution for international bigs as he progressed in Chicago because of that teams popularity. He was moved to PF for spurts late in his career and really and truly it was shown that at that spot he could be a nightmare and even a mismatch for the best PF in the game in Malone in the Finals. Alot of teams how he took advantage of Malone who was this rugged beast by using a more face up style and began to work with alot of their bigs on doing the same. That trend would continue when players like Dirk and Pau came over and were able to play some 5 as well as playing the 4.

Fast forward and couple of years and zone defenses really changed the approach of many NBA teams when they became legal. Most teams resulted to shooting over a zone and started to go for 5 players that could all hit a shot to bust it ala Brad Miller because trying to pound it like Shaq would was simply more work. You had to get him the ball, space the floor, cut right, and do much more time consuming steps to score as opposed to simply having a 5 that could knock down jumpers.

Tony_Starks
10-19-2010, 05:51 PM
I think in general in basketball today most basketball players today are probably not as polished at their position. I think there is this huge wave towards versatility and playing multiple positions rather than just playing one, usually only guys who are skilled in the post are guys who are athletically underwhelmed. Also there's this big push for being an athletic freak "dripping with potential" aka. Tyrus Thomas, Derrick Favors Hasheem Tabeet etc.

There are some big guys who are pretty skilled in the post at the Center position like Lopez, Bogut, Al Jefferson plays like a center even though he's undersized, also Roy Hibbert has some pretty decent moves in the post.


I agree. The art of having a vast arsenal of post moves is almost lost. Just like the art of the mid range game is pretty much gone. Its not really stressed in college, they are grooming centers these days more to run the floor and be able to pick and pop as opposed to the good ol days of drop steps, hooks with either hand, fall aways...... man I feel old. LOL

Sly Guy
10-19-2010, 08:29 PM
Legitimate, good centers just can't seem to stay healthy anymore. In my opinion, it's because offensive players are given too much protection and the bigs are forced to absorb the punishment when these guys drive to the basket. There's no question that the game was more physical then than it is now but everyone was allowed to be physical back than. Now, you can't even touch a player without getting a call, and this frees up the lane with a collision course with the centers.

Oden, Bynum, Yao, Big Z, etc... are examples. I really don't consider Dwight a center because of his freakish athleticism. I don't remember Shaq ever being 100%, either, during the Lakers' run; he just toughed it out.

my vote would be for the 'little guy' protectionism going on in the league too.

Raph12
10-20-2010, 01:16 AM
because the center position is not considered "sexy", like the other positions. The young players out there now watched players like KG, and said to themselves, "I want to be a big man who handles the ball and shoots jumpers". Nobody teaches/preaches post game anymore.
That being said, with Marc Gasol, Cousins, Lopez, Bogut, and a handful of other centers up and coming, I have faith it will eventually be restored.

Dead on, the center position has been revolutionalized, it's more athletic 7-footers who'd rather shooter jumpers or get easy dunks/layups than play the post (a la Kaman, Noah, Horford, Love, etc...).

It has a lot to do with not learning the post fundamentals at a younger age, centers coming into the league don't have the same fundamentals as they used to back in the day. But it also has a lot to do with the Euro game changing the league (like Bargnani, Okur, Krystic, etc...) and the game itself being dominated by the wing players.

There are a few up-and-comers (like Bogut, Lopez, Marc, Bynum, Cousins, etc...) that are on the rise that may one day reinstate the postgame that the centers today are lacking...

TrueFan420
10-20-2010, 02:14 AM
^^^ love and horford are not centers their both pfs

tangent12
10-20-2010, 02:16 AM
They lack the physicality, mentality and raw play that defined 80's and 90's inside game.

TrueFan420
10-20-2010, 03:21 AM
They lack the physicality, mentality and raw play that defined 80's and 90's inside game.

To be fair they are not allowed to play with physicality. But the mentaility and style of play is without a doubt not the same.