70sFan wrote:I'll give you 2020 and I'll name you players you'd say that wouldn't make the league had they played 20 years ago:
Enes Kanter - definition of "outdated player", played in ECF.
DeAndre Jordan - old, slow and unskilled bigman.
Nikola Vucevic - basically the same type of player Divac and Sabonis were, except worse and less athletic.
Ivica Zubac - he can't shoot or guard perimeter.
Mason Plumlee - another bigman who can't shoot and isn't good perimeter defender.
Steven Adams - typical bruiser with decent passing vision (basically 1970s center), can't shoot or defend perimeter.
Rudy Gobert - extreme example, but I'm sure you'll say that Mutombo wouldn't be good today, so why not Gobert?
Boban Marjanovic - despite being one of the slowest players ever, he played in playoffs and did quite well in limited minutes
Hassan Whiteside - terrible passer, can't shoot and isn't good perimeter defender.
Enes Kanter - Case in point. Played 31 total minutes in the ECF against the Heat. Why? Because he's trash and has no scalable skills an elite team requires in the modern NBA not to get exploited in the Playoffs. The Celtics even preferred playing 22-year old, 6'8'' Robert Williams over Kanter, even though he can't do anything but finish a wide open dunk on offense, because at least he can not get exploited defensively. And here's the kicker, Enes Kanter would've started on some of those Spurs teams in the mid 00's, or at least have averaged 20-25 mpg.
DeAndre Jordan - Let's be honest. The only reason DeAndre has had an NBA career is because of Chris Paul's greatness... He was able to find a niche as a finisher on a very talented offensive roster. 99% of people in the league don't get to just sit around the paint on offense getting the ball served on a platter... Before CP3 came to the Clippers, DeAndre was crap. After CP3 left the Clippers, DeAndre was crap, which is why he had a negative net on/off in 2018 and was bouncing around teams in his last two years... He's a trash player... His hops/dunking gave him a bit of a reputation and he landed in a unique spot where he had ATG playmaking on his roster to serve him. And even then, if the Clippers were smarter, they should have looked to replace him with someone more versatile at his position but we know Doc Rivers is an idiot by now, so it's no surprise why they thought DeAndre was like an all-star type talent...
Nikola Vucevic - Vucevic was a pretty average player until recently where he developed a 3pt shot and became a lot more perimeter oriented in terms of where he likes to spend his time and pick his spots in the half-court... I mean, in his latest Playoff appearance, which was this year, Vucevic averaged 40% (!) of his shots from 3pt land and only 13% of his shots at the rim... No coincidence, it was also his greatest Playoff series in his career in terms of impact, by far. He's another one in a line of countless examples that clearly illustrate a shift in the meta, where Big man are beginning to understand they bring more value on the court and overall impact offensively if they simply just screen and spot behind the arc and shoot threes instead of trying to be overly fancy...
Ivica Zubac - This is the first player you mentioned with any sort of convincing argument. Zubac is indeed a one-dimensional player, but because he's got an amazing touch around the rim and generally good basketball IQ, he would be an above average Center in the 00's (because most Centers in that time couldn't finish the way Zubac does)... Right now, he's average at best. I think the Clippers clear lack of size and the fact that Montrezl Harrell is trash, especially defensively, while taking a lot of minutes at the C position makes Zubac look better than he actually is.
Mason Plumlee - Lol, played 11 mpg in the Playoffs, and did nothing. He's not a legit piece of that Nuggets team. He's there because Jokic needs his rest and Millsap is too small and old to play the C and they don't have any other options. Plumlee couldn't even cut it on Portland or a **** team like the Nets... He's another case in point like Kanter. Teams simply don't have much use for this guy in the modern era... I'm not going to sit here and say Plumlee would be a starter in the 00's or some great player, but his value would definitely be higher in that era than it is now. He's pretty worthless now other than a brief backup options for teams that can't sign anyone else.
Steven Adams - Adams in the OKC vs. Rockets 1st round series in the 2020 Playoffs is a case in point of how modern teams can absolutely expose a Big man's lack of skills and versatility. Adams was just horrendous, and that series now serves as a stark reminder of what can and likely will happen at some point in the PS to teams which heavily rely on low agility Bigs that can't shoot or pass. They would get exposed in a way they wouldn't in the 00's.
Rudy Gobert - Gobert is one of the greatest rim protectors of all-time while being an ATG finisher... When you're that much of an outlier in those areas you're worth a slot on a team. Don't try to build your offense around him though, that would be pretty stupid, but not entirely out of the realm of possibility for teams pre 2010... And even then Gobert has shown signs of weaknesses in getting stretched and left hanging in the modern game in a way he wouldn't in the 00's. You put Gobert in the 00's he's a more impactful player than he is today.
Boban - Nah. Bobby is a situational player you can throw out there to cause some commotion for a couple of stretches here and there per game. He's not a sustainable pillar you can play big minutes over the course of a series because he will get exploited. He's a novelty more than anything.
Hassan Whiteside - Exactly, which is why the Lakers exposed him in the WC 1st round... Dude was his team's best defender and Portland severely lacked in defensive ability as a team in the first place, yet Whiteside couldn't play more than 21 mpg. Nurk honestly wasn't much better. He came back on short notice, but he wasn't that much better in 2019 either.
These are only significant players from playoff teams. Not all of them are good, but the idea that the league is filled with versatile 6'10 wings comes from nowhere. Blazers had good offense despite playing Nurkic and Whiteside together. Arguably the best offensive coach in the league gives huge 7'4 300 lbs giants minutes even in playoff games.
Non of the guys you mentioned were significant players from playoff teams, lol. Most of them were 20 mpg bench fodder that had terrible impact and were exposed, with the only exceptions being Gobert (ATG rim protector & finisher), Vucevic (changing his game to shooting 8.5 threes per game on 40%) and Zubac (a 20 mpg player that was the only real Big on his team were Harrell played Center).
This is what happens now as well, not all teams have roster filled with talented perimeter players that are big enough to play inside. There are a lot of terrible players in the league still.
But are there less terrible Centers in the league overall? This is essentially what i'm asking. Or do you think the level of Big man fodder is the same on aggregate and they can play as big of a role today on elite teams than they could in 00's? And don't give me Gobert as an example... I'm talking about the likes of old Mutombo, Todd MacCollouh/Aaron Williams, Theo Ratliff, Tony Battie, Jamal Magloire, Rasho, DeSangana Diop, Erick Dampier, Chris Kaman and many more... These guys were all getting big minutes for Playoff teams or even contenders at the time...
Yeah, having Davis has nothing to do with it. McGee is Lakers third center and you're trying to sell it as a huge deal because he didn't get minutes in the finals? Do you want to know how many minutes did Nesterovic play in 2005 finals?
Toronto doesn't have Davis, they still play Ibaka at 5 and Siakam at 4, instead of Gasol. Boston doesn't have Davis, they play Thies/Tatum, instead of Kanter. Miami doesn't have Davis, they play Bam/Crowder... Even when Bam was out and they were shorthanded, they didn't touch Meyers Leonard, they rather played Olynyk at 5 and put Butler at PF or whatever...
Why are you asking me how many minutes Rasho played in the 2005 Finals, when Nazr Mohammed was out there playing 23 mpg? Mohammed is BBQ chicken in today's league. If Spurs knew back then what they know now, they would have waived Rasho, put Duncan at the C permanently and signed another player like Robert Horry. Nazr would only come in during the regular season to give Duncan a rest... Not in serious games... But of course, 15 years ago, players like Robert Horry were a rarity, because Bigs were behind the curve in terms of what skills are worth developing. However, there's no excuse for not finding a player like that in 2020... The Lakers literally got Markieff Morris for free off the waivers list, and Morris is far worse than Horry, yet still better than having a Nazr Mohammed.
So basically, you can pick up a guy from the waivers list that will be more useful to your team than playing a traditional 7-foot Center who would be starting or playing 20 mpg on most teams in the 00's.
McGee would never play 20 mpg on good teams in any era. He's terrible and always was. He's not "traditional center" either, he's just a big guy who has BBIQ of a brick, can't shoot, can't rebound, can't pass and can't defend outside of occasional blocks. We've seen how many minutes he got on good teams in 2013, he wasn't a starter.
Of course he would. If old Mutombo, Theo Ratliff, Todd MacCollouch, Aaron Williams, Jamal Magloire, Tony Battie, Rasho Nesterovic, DeSangana Diop, Erick Dampier, Brandon Haywood, Chris Kaman etc. all played far more than 20 mpg on good teams in the 00's... McGee would as well. He's better than most of these guys.
McGee sucks, I don't understand what you see in him to believe he'd start in any era.
I agree that he sucks... Just that he doesn't suck more than your typical 00's Center on most Playoff teams...
Most? Can you back it up? The only team that doesn't play with legit bigman is Houston and they failed miserably. Heat often play without bigman, but they have Bam who is a center. Boston sometimes play without bigman, but they still give Theis and Kanter minutes. Who else?
Come on... You know Houston is an extreme example. That's microball, not smallball. You talk as if Houston is the standard of what smallball is, when they're the extreme outlier... And they didn't fail miserably. They were one of the best teams in the league while playing two 6'6'' guys as rim protectors. They lost because Westbrook sucks mostly, and they lost to the best team in the league, like every other team in the league...
Miami, Toronto, Boston, Houston, Warriors (up until last they all got injured), all the best teams beside the Clippers who only play Zubac for 20 minutes, otherwise play a frontcourt of Harrell/Morris... Denver who has Jokic, Utah who has Gobert. The Lakers best lineup is also with AD at 5 and Bron at 4. Not with a traditional Big 7-footer. They just do that so Davis can play the PF and doesn't throw a hissy fit.
Miami was running with Bam and Kelly Olynyk at the 5 (both of these guys would've played the PF position in any other decade of NBA history) and Jae Crowder at PF, who on his best day could be argued as 6-7 in height.
Bam is the same size as Alonzo Mourning, Dave Cowens, Willis Reed and Dwight Howard. Jae Crowder is the same size as Dave DeBusschere, Dennis Rodman, Bill Bridges, Gus Johnson, Paul Silas and Anthony Mason. This is not an argument, Bam and Crowder aren't anything unseen before in terms of size in NBA history.
The biggest difference between the guys you mentioned isn't the size, but that most of them couldn't shoot or pass to save their lives yet were still able to impact the game immensely. Harder to do that now. Even a guy like Bam is an ATG finisher, very good passer and can hit a foul line jumper.
Joel Embiid plays a lot more in the post and I wouldn't say he's outdated.
Not more than Centers used to though. And yes, Embiid is limited in terms of offensive ceiling as the primary catalyst on that end.