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View Full Version : Where did all the great centers go?



NYSpirit1
01-08-2012, 04:31 AM
It's really a shame how there is one true great center in the league today in Dwight Howard.

I don't know if there will ever be dominant two way centers like there were in the 1990s and prior ever again.

Just look at the 90s lineup: Shaquille O'Neal, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutumbo and Alonzo Mourning.

In the 1994-1995 season, the top 3 scorers in the league were centers.

It's just a different game today, which is weird to say because the 90s weren't that long ago. And to say that there were six Howard caliber players back then, when there is only one today is even crazier. A guy like David Robinson was so underappreciated, because like a Durant, he didn't get media press for being in San Antonio. But there was a season where he averaged 23.2 points, 12.2 rebounds, 4.5 blocks and 2.3 steals, which is absolutely mind boggling.

Going further, there doesn't project to even be any dominant centers coming in to the league in the near future and Andre Drummond is more of a PF.

I mean, when are you ever going to see a center today get a quadruple double, have a 62 point or 71 point game - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24NLqvKER1c

The_Jamal
01-08-2012, 04:50 AM
Andrew Bynum and DeMarcus both have the potential to be high quality centers

KingPosey
01-08-2012, 04:53 AM
I feel it just goes in cycles for whatever reason, there was that period where fresh legit PGs werent coming in, and now there is a LOT of PG talent.

But all is not lost, Bynum is proving he shouldnt be overlooked, DMC has the gifts to be great if he can put it together, Yao was here last season until injury retirement, and if Oden can get healthy he is full of talent. So its not like they dont exist, its just a precarious spot for the position right now.

shep33
01-08-2012, 05:03 AM
Andrew Bynum and DeMarcus both have the potential to be high quality centers

Yeah I agree, just as long as Bynum stays healthy, and Cousins matures mentally.

Good bigs are coming in the next couple of years too... Drummond, Davis, etc. But neither are like true centers. Miss the days of Ewing, Dream, the Admiral, Zo, etc.

LakersIn5
01-08-2012, 05:39 AM
retirement

stawka
01-08-2012, 06:49 AM
Andrew Bynum and DeMarcus both have the potential to be high quality centers

And yet if they played in the 90's, they'd get *****slapped by the others

billsftw
01-08-2012, 06:53 AM
And yet if they played in the 90's, they'd get *****slapped by the others

bynum is 7'2, so no

NYKalltheway
01-08-2012, 06:54 AM
It's because those great centers were all two-way stars, besides Shaq. Guess who's the most famous of them all and who won the most championships.

As for PGs, well, they are far worse at playmaking than they used to be. You don't see Mark Jackson, John Stockton, Mo Cheeks, Mookie Blaylock, Gary Payton type of point guards. And even those that remind us of them aren't "legit" PG stars. You got Steve Nash who plays no D and a bunch of score first guards that just play at the 1 spot because they got better ball handling than the rest and because of height. And this is how they were taught the game, not something that happens at the NBA.

The game has changed and so has the players that it will raise. It's not a matter of cycles, this is how the NBA will look like in the next 20 years.

Mishmin
01-08-2012, 06:58 AM
Tough to come by. I guess that's why Joel Anthony is on the all-star ballot.

-Kobe24-TJ19-
01-08-2012, 07:06 AM
they retired

FarOutIos
01-08-2012, 08:07 AM
I think Tim Duncan can realistically be considered a center, as he is almost 7 foot tall. So this would add one more name to your great list.

Also, Marcus Camby has been really good for a long time. May not be in the elite groups, but great none the less.

Also, I think injuries to Oden and Ming have really taken away two of the players that should have been great centers right now.

And I do like what I see from Cousins and Monroe...

Bulls_fan90
01-08-2012, 08:27 AM
bynum is 7'2, so no

He's actually 7'0.

Evolution23
01-08-2012, 10:28 AM
they retired

watch out we got a badass over here :rolleyes:

IndyRealist
01-08-2012, 10:29 AM
The issue is rule changes. They changed a ton of rules because of how dominant Shaq was. They removed handchecking on the wing, put in defensive 3 seconds, incorporated zone, allow a pivot on drives but not on jump stops, put in the restricted circle, and changed "a good hard playoff foul" into a flagrant 2....all of these things are meant to limit big men and make it easier for perimeter players to score. Bigs had a lot working against them in the post, so many bigs started practicing a jump shot in college, pulling them away from the basket. They're taking lower percentage shots and are out of position to block out and rebound, let alone cross the lane as a help defender.

The NBA wanted the next MJ. They changed the rules so players like Durant and Wade could dominate from the wing.

SaimuKala
01-08-2012, 10:43 AM
JaVale McGee if he gets a brain.

Law25
01-08-2012, 10:58 AM
Yeah I agree, just as long as Bynum stays healthy, and Cousins matures mentally.

Good bigs are coming in the next couple of years too... Drummond, Davis, etc. But neither are like true centers. Miss the days of Ewing 7'0, Dream 7'0, the Admiral 7'1, Zo 6'10, etc.

There are actually more bigs today theyer just split with the power foward position. LaMarcus Aldridge 6'11, Pau Gasol 7'0, Howard 6'11, Bynum 7'0, Bosh 6'11, Stat 6'11, Dirk 7'0, Brooke Lopez 7'0, Zach Randolph being the shortest 6'9 but is a low post threat and those are just the ones that are double double star players.

Good Centers/ Forwards
Nene 6'11
Mark Gasol 7'1
Ibaka 6'10
Perkins 6'10
DeAndre Jordan 6'11
Chandler 7'1
Camby 6'11

When you factor in career scoring, rebounding, and blocking averages alot of todays top Bigs match up ok, well excluding Bynum with this being his break out year. I know we tend to live in the past and not appreciate the present. I personaly thought Magic was the best ever and than came Jordan and the skill and talent level grew every decade since. Fundamentals are lacking alittle but dont let the media sell you on there not being quality bigs.

Law25
01-08-2012, 11:16 AM
JaVale McGee if he gets a brain.

Right! JaVale McGee 7'0 is another good center to add to the pot 12pts 10rebs 3blks

Jint.
01-08-2012, 11:33 AM
retirement

^ this

The Smurf
01-08-2012, 11:36 AM
Bogut should be included on the list of good centers.

DwayneMVPwade
01-08-2012, 11:43 AM
up and coming, Jonas Valanciunas

IndyRealist
01-08-2012, 11:45 AM
There are actually more bigs today theyer just split with the power foward position. LaMarcus Aldridge 6'11, Pau Gasol 7'0, Howard 6'11, Bynum 7'0, Bosh 6'11, Stat 6'11, Dirk 7'0, Brooke Lopez 7'0, Zach Randolph being the shortest 6'9 but is a low post threat and those are just the ones that are double double star players.

Good Centers/ Forwards
Nene 6'11
Mark Gasol 7'1
Ibaka 6'10
Perkins 6'10
DeAndre Jordan 6'11
Chandler 7'1
Camby 6'11

When you factor in career scoring, rebounding, and blocking averages alot of todays top Bigs match up ok, well excluding Bynum with this being his break out year. I know we tend to live in the past and not appreciate the present. I personaly thought Magic was the best ever and than came Jordan and the skill and talent level grew every decade since. Fundamentals are lacking alittle but dont let the media sell you on there not being quality bigs.

Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, and Marc Gasol are the only ones on that list averaging a double double this year. Howard and Camby are the only ones averaging a double double for their careers. You are vastly underestimating how hard it is to go from 9rpg to 10rpg for your career.

The tendency is not to live in the past, but rather to assume that the present is BETTER than the past because the things happening right now are fresher in your mind. Hence the belief that players like Bill Russell, Pete Maravich, and even Larry Bird would get annihilated in today's NBA, because the players are bigger, faster, and stronger.

69centers
01-08-2012, 11:53 AM
He's on the Celtics and his nicknames are Steamer or Steamroller (http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/4235/greg-stiemsma). I mean, even Tommy Heinsohn compared him to Bill Russell.

papipapsmanny
01-08-2012, 12:04 PM
I really think Mcgee has a chance, he is starting to show signs, and his stats have been improving.

He should needs to study and lift haha. If he can gain like 20 pounds, with 15 of it being muscle weight, he could really be a presence in the post

IndyRealist
01-08-2012, 12:35 PM
He's on the Celtics and his nicknames are Steamer or Steamroller (http://espn.go.com/nba/player/_/id/4235/greg-stiemsma). I mean, even Tommy Heinsohn compared him to Bill Russell.

I dunno about comparing him to Russell, but Stiemsma was a steal. How did this guy not get drafted in '08?

llemon
01-08-2012, 12:40 PM
Valhalla

Gators123
01-08-2012, 12:42 PM
Greg Monroe is on the way!

So far this season hes averaging almost 16 points 9 rebounds 3 assist with a 24 PER.

iam brett favre
01-08-2012, 12:46 PM
Its all went downhill since Greg Ostertag retired

akia83
01-08-2012, 12:48 PM
Greg Monroe is on the way!

So far this season hes averaging almost 16 points 9 rebounds 3 assist with a 24 PER.

And the dude can make a FT. He'll be a beast for sure.

Big2win
01-08-2012, 01:10 PM
I truly believe that the lack of quality centers is a result of the league reducing the age to enter the draft in the mid 90's. The previous eras, the top big men went to college and learned fundamental footwork and the duties of the position, in addition to conditioning of their bodies to prepare for the vigorous wear it will receive in the NBA. Jabbar, Chamberlain, Ewing, Olajawon, Mourning, Shaq, Mutumbo, Robinson all went to college and studied under quality coaches. The centers in this era are one and done college players (Oden, Deandre Jordan) or they never went (Chandler, Curry, Bynum). These kids were dominant in High School and thought they would be dominant in the league and eventually wash out or take 5 to 6 years to reach their ceiling. Obviously, Howard is an exception, however his offense could have benefited if he went to college.

Geargo Wallace
01-08-2012, 01:57 PM
Kids watch too much Dirk and not enough Duncan.

Geargo Wallace
01-08-2012, 01:59 PM
There are actually more bigs today theyer just split with the power foward position. LaMarcus Aldridge 6'11, Pau Gasol 7'0, Howard 6'11, Bynum 7'0, Bosh 6'11, Stat 6'11, Dirk 7'0, Brooke Lopez 7'0, Zach Randolph being the shortest 6'9 but is a low post threat and those are just the ones that are double double star players.

Good Centers/ Forwards
Nene 6'11
Mark Gasol 7'1
Ibaka 6'10
Perkins 6'10
DeAndre Jordan 6'11
Chandler 7'1
Camby 6'11

When you factor in career scoring, rebounding, and blocking averages alot of todays top Bigs match up ok, well excluding Bynum with this being his break out year. I know we tend to live in the past and not appreciate the present. I personaly thought Magic was the best ever and than came Jordan and the skill and talent level grew every decade since. Fundamentals are lacking alittle but dont let the media sell you on there not being quality bigs.

You may have added an inch to all of these guys.

PZeef
01-08-2012, 02:42 PM
My guess is some have gone to the NFL. Kids that are that talented are usually 2 sport athletes at a young age, their parents and the kids make the decision early on which sport they will then focus on. The NFL popularity has grown tremendously, which is attracting the "bigger" kids to be football players instead of nba centers. I'm not saying the NFL has a bunch of Dwight type centers, but they probably do have quality centers that if born in the 70's and 80's would of chosen the NBA over NFL.

The good news for the NBA is that as the public is becoming aware of the dangers of concussions, parents will start discouraging their kids from playing football. The trend will reverse and their will be more quality centers in the NBA.

Geargo Wallace
01-08-2012, 02:53 PM
My guess is some have gone to the NFL. Kids that are that talented are usually 2 sport athletes at a young age, their parents and the kids make the decision early on which sport they will then focus on. The NFL popularity has grown tremendously, which is attracting the "bigger" kids to be football players instead of nba centers. I'm not saying the NFL has a bunch of Dwight type centers, but they probably do have quality centers that if born in the 70's and 80's would of chosen the NBA over NFL.

The good news for the NBA is that as the public is becoming aware of the dangers of concussions, parents will start discouraging their kids from playing football. The trend will reverse and their will be more quality centers in the NBA.

There's so many 7-footers in the NFL...

MrfadeawayJB
01-08-2012, 02:55 PM
All the big guys want to be guards now in days

Hellcrooner
01-08-2012, 02:55 PM
they went nowhere, the probelm is guards both pgs and sgs dont care to feed them anymore.

You can bet your *** howard, bynum, marc gasol, bogut etc would be averagin all of them 28 points a game if they were fed the ball by their guards and wings as much as the pre 90s center did.

Geargo Wallace
01-08-2012, 03:00 PM
they went nowhere, the probelm is guards both pgs and sgs dont care to feed them anymore.

You can bet your *** howard, bynum, marc gasol, bogut etc would be averagin all of them 28 points a game if they were fed the ball by their guards and wings as much as the pre 90s center did.

The slight disappearance of the "true PG" may have something to do with that. A lot of PG's would rather score in today's game.

Tmath
01-08-2012, 03:05 PM
The slight disappearance of the "true PG" may have something to do with that. A lot of PG's would rather score in today's game.

You mean like Derrick Rose?

Geargo Wallace
01-08-2012, 03:08 PM
You mean like Derrick Rose?

Him too.

PZeef
01-08-2012, 03:09 PM
There's so many 7-footers in the NFL...

There are so many 7-footers in the NBA...

Do you think they grow on trees or something?

Hellcrooner
01-08-2012, 03:10 PM
You mean like Derrick Rose?

he means any pog not called steve, jason, ricky or jose.

Geargo Wallace
01-08-2012, 03:22 PM
There are so many 7-footers in the NBA...

Do you think they grow on trees or something?

What are you getting at? There's plenty of height in the NBA. It's just that the guys don't develop their post games and mid range jumpers like they used to. It's not like the 90's when we had great C's like Ewing, Robinson, Mourning, and Hakeem, who all had great post game, and could hold down the paint of defense.

I don't know where you came up with this wacky idea that football is stealing all of the tall talent from basketball. This may be true for guys under 6'8" but not for the bigs.

Supa
01-08-2012, 03:24 PM
Just look at the 90s lineup: Shaquille O'Neal, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutumbo and Alonzo Mourning.

I mean, when are you ever going to see a center today get a quadruple double, have a 62 point or 71 point game - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24NLqvKER1c


I wouldn't put Mutumbo and Mourning on the same level as the big 4, but your point is still valid.

BTW, I love David Robinson, incredible basketball player and human being.

---

Ezio
01-08-2012, 03:25 PM
Don't worry give Paul George another year.

Nick O
01-08-2012, 03:26 PM
raptor fans please dont over use the valenciunas card ..... if he busts we will never hear the end of that -.-

Nick O
01-08-2012, 03:27 PM
Don't worry give Paul George another year.

this

Nick O
01-08-2012, 03:29 PM
has everyone forgotten this man??? greatest centre in the game today... maybe all time
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx6wNDUq6oI

97NYer
01-08-2012, 04:31 PM
1.Howard
2.Bynum

After that really no "elites" wonder who the second center in the east and west will be. I imagine it will be either Bogut, Bargnani, Horford or Chandler in the east. In the west I guess either Nene or Marc Gasol

Law25
01-09-2012, 08:42 AM
You may have added an inch to all of these guys.

I looked up there listed height

bringinwood
01-09-2012, 08:48 AM
The game changed as it so often does from era to era...

In the 90s, defensive schemes dominated the NBA... These schemes were highlighted by slower paced, post motivated offenses... Both ends of the court were center oriented...

These days and really since Jordan turned legendary in the late 90s, offensive schemes have dominated the league which means more open floor, fast break oriented offenses...
This has led teams to be more heavily reliant on great guard play...

Teams have recognized that, while great centers are the most coveted and valuable asset in basketball, mediocre to good center are the most expendable... You don't need a dominate center to win an NBA championship these days...

Law25
01-09-2012, 09:10 AM
Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, and Marc Gasol are the only ones on that list averaging a double double this year. Howard and Camby are the only ones averaging a double double for their careers. You are vastly underestimating how hard it is to go from 9rpg to 10rpg for your career.

The tendency is not to live in the past, but rather to assume that the present is BETTER than the past because the things happening right now are fresher in your mind. Hence the belief that players like Bill Russell, Pete Maravich, and even Larry Bird would get annihilated in today's NBA, because the players are bigger, faster, and stronger.

Career
Ewing 21pts 9rebs
Alonzo 17pts 8rebs
Dream 21pts 11rebs
Admiral 21pts 10rebs

This year
LaMarcus Aldridge 22pts 7rebs
Pau 16pts 9rebs
Howard 18pts 14rebs
Bynum 18pts 15rebs

I was attempting to show that there are still legit bigs in the league contrary to popular belief.

The part bolded is also a common mistake that some make but the belief that player of this generation cant hold a match to past players is just as flawed. Like i said i thought Magic was the best but he was discredited by those who watched Oscar Robinson. Im just saying lets make make either mistake. There are still legit bigs today, there just (as another poster stated earlier) overlooked becuase of the way the game is called and the way bigs have to play the game.

bringinwood
01-09-2012, 09:16 AM
Career
Ewing 21pts 9rebs
Alonzo 17pts 8rebs
Dream 21pts 11rebs
Admiral 21pts 10rebs

This year
LaMarcus Aldridge 22pts 7rebs
Pau 16pts 9rebs
Howard 18pts 14rebs
Bynum 18pts 15rebs

I was attempying to show that there are still legit bigs in the league contrary to popular belief.

The part bolded is also a common mistake that some make but the belief that player of this generation cant hold a match to past players is just as flawed. Like i said i thought Magic was the best but he was discredited by those who watched Oscar Robinson. Im just saying lets make make either mistake. There are still legit bigs today, there just (as another poster stated earlier) overlooked becuase of the way the game is called and the way bigs have to play the game.


Fair to say that the offensive output is relatively similiar regardless of the era...

However, a centers true value is at the defensive end of the floor...

The only center that could hold his weight, defensively with the first group is D12...

Ewing, dream, Shaq, Robinson, and Mourning were all fantastic cornerstones defensively...

SportsAndrew25
01-09-2012, 09:24 AM
This about scoring now. Centers do not matter anymore.

Law25
01-09-2012, 09:28 AM
^^I agree that Howad at this point is the only one capable of holding his weight with them on D. I think Bynum is moving up the ladder though as far as defensive bigs go in todays league. I still place Howard, Chandler, Ibaka, and Jordan as better shot blocker, and Mark Gasol, and Kwame as better on ball defenders.

asandhu23
01-09-2012, 09:38 AM
This is the Jordan - Kobe era. Everyone wants to be the player who makes the big shot. Everyone wants to be the Kobe or the Jordan. No one wants to be the Stockton. No one wants to be the Dikembe. No one wants to be the Russell. The mentality of players has changed.


Also on the physical side, there is way too much emphasis on weight. those damned poor knees. They can't handle the speed like this.

Daunter
01-09-2012, 11:33 AM
Dwight Howard
Javale Mcgee
Demarcus Cousins
Andrew Bogut
Andrew Bynum
Joakim Noah
Marcus Camby
Tyson Chandler
Ed Davis
Greg Monroe
Deandre Jordan
Marcin Gortat
Brook Lopez
Al Jefferson
Kendrick Perkins
Anderson Varejao
Chris Kaman
Roy Hibbert
Chuck Hayes

The NBA has good centers imo its just that the rules have changed how they play.

KnickaBocka.44
01-09-2012, 01:17 PM
I don't even think that you can compare Dwight to those centers of the 90's though because he doesn't even really have an effective post game. Dwight is the Shaq of this generation because of his freakish physical dominance. You have to compare the stats of the Centers other than Dwight now against the rest of the Centers minus Shaq from the 90's and then you'll get a representative comparison.

Dwight is obviously the best Center in the league now but other than him, there really aren't many. Bynum is a close second, much closer if he could stay healthy. After that there is a large gap as LA and Pau are really PF's.

Meaze_Gibson
01-09-2012, 02:14 PM
The lack of offensive and defensive skills of guys entering the league is what hurts the position along with the referees. In the 90's even the most basic centers could make a pass from high post, find open man from double team, hit ft(minus shaq), footwork etc. Defensively, they would actually be able to intimidate and block shots instead of get called for weak fouls or flop etc. The ones in the NBA who can be physical and have tremendous numbers can't stay on the court. Hopefully the next commissioner helps reinstate the center position cause it is a beautiful position when done correctly.

Chronz
01-09-2012, 02:45 PM
I don't even think that you can compare Dwight to those centers of the 90's though because he doesn't even really have an effective post game. Dwight is the Shaq of this generation because of his freakish physical dominance. You have to compare the stats of the Centers other than Dwight now against the rest of the Centers minus Shaq from the 90's and then you'll get a representative comparison.

Dwight is obviously the best Center in the league now but other than him, there really aren't many. Bynum is a close second, much closer if he could stay healthy. After that there is a large gap as LA and Pau are really PF's.
Why arent you counting Dwight/Shaq? Why count Ewing, D-Rob, Daughtery if they scored with jumpers and slashing? Who are these post players you have in mind? It really seems like your underrating these guys post game, but more importantly, who the **** cares? Why are we ignoring their dominance at all? It makes no sense, why selectively compare stats?

Meaze_Gibson
01-09-2012, 03:30 PM
Why arent you counting Dwight/Shaq? Why count Ewing, D-Rob, Daughtery if they scored with jumpers and slashing? Who are these post players you have in mind? It really seems like your underrating these guys post game, but more importantly, who the **** cares? Why are we ignoring their dominance at all? It makes no sense, why selectively compare stats?

I can positively say that DROB could score effortlessly on the blocks. His turnaround j often lead to an up and under layup. He could also face up on the block drive and dunk on you. he had a great post game sir

rhymeratic
01-09-2012, 03:42 PM
It's 2012.... WHO CARES?!!?!?! The games are fun to watch and we have great players in general. Doesn't matter what position, this goes in cycles.

Lim
01-09-2012, 03:57 PM
its hard to give birth to a 7 ft tall kid

KnickaBocka.44
01-09-2012, 04:06 PM
Why arent you counting Dwight/Shaq? Why count Ewing, D-Rob, Daughtery if they scored with jumpers and slashing? Who are these post players you have in mind? It really seems like your underrating these guys post game, but more importantly, who the **** cares? Why are we ignoring their dominance at all? It makes no sense, why selectively compare stats?

I'm not counting Dwight and Shaq because they are outliers physically. Their physical dominance seperated/seperates them from their competition and is what helps them be the players they are. At the very least they are in a seperate category of post play that can just be described as "overwhelming power". I think this thread is more focused on skill of post play and not just being able to go up, and through your defender. Even the Refs officiate games differently w/ Shaq and Dwight involved.

Rentzias
01-09-2012, 04:08 PM
I think this is similar to the evolution of the tight end in football. As offenses began gravitating toward using tight ends as pass catchers, you start with a 6'3" 230 lb. Mike Ditka and end up with 6'7" 260 lb. Jimmy Graham.

Similarly, your only Tier 1 C in the NBA is a non-7-footer who weighs less than Chris Webber. If the game is moving toward these shooting PGs, and high volume scoring SFs, then maybe teams start needing defensive-oriented athletic Cs who can run with these freak athletes, instead of your lumbering, power Cs.

WildcatsPride
01-09-2012, 04:18 PM
Other than Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum might be the only other elite center in the NBA. With that being said, I think there's plenty of good centers in the NBA, they're just not the focal point on offense, and mainly used as defenders. Howard is the only center in the NBA that I know of that leads his team in ppg. Some of the other good centers are:

Joakim Noah
Andrew Bogut
Al Jefferson
Kendrick Perkins
Deandre Jordan
Chris Kaman
Javale McGee
Nene
Demarcus Cousins (if he matures he can be great)
Al Horford
Brook Lopez
Anderson Varejao
Greg Monroe
Tyson Chandler

ChicagoJ
01-09-2012, 05:21 PM
Players seem different now. A player like Ewing would get a ton of points, boards, blocks, and had a go to jump shot he could drian. Guys just don't seem to play like that anymore. It's all dunks or easy shots close to the basket now.