limbo wrote:70sFan wrote:It was never optimal to run your offense through bigman, unless you have truly elite bigman. People act like Jokic doesn't count because he's special - every good offensive bigman was special. Kareem wouldn't become Meyers Leonard in today league. Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O'Neal had no peers in 70 years of NBA history. Saying that Kanter or Okafor play doesn't mean much in conparison to Wilt or Shaq, who were absolute outlier.
Nobody ever dominated the league with Wilt or Shaq style. Other than Wilt and Shaq of course.
The point is that the scale has tipped heavily in favor of wing/guard perimeter-based offensive systems in the last couple of decades...
There's no way any player, no matter how big or small, would be able to be anywhere close to the best offensive player in the league today playing the way Kareem did. And this is not a slight on Kareem, but the average NBA team is able to just generate much better offensive looks on a per-possession basis in today's league, mostly by the league improving in outside shooting as a whole, but also some rule changes that gave dribblers more leeway of what they're allowed to get away with on the court.
The only way Big men can hang with perimeter players in offensive impact and hope to anchor a championship caliber offense nowadays is if they mimic what perimeter players are doing on offense...;that is, be able to shoot, dribble, pass, score from anywhere on the floor.
This wasn't the case in the past... You could have a Tim Duncan, Hakeem Olajuwon type of offensive anchor and still have a fringe Top 5 offense 15-25 years ago. And the further back you go in time, the less you could optimize your offense through perimeter-based offensive systems. Which is why guys like Moses Malone could dominate offensively in the late 70's by basically camping in the low block, with no passing ability whatsoever and a middling 14 foot jumper at best.
This is all true, but I would say that I consider West & Oscar to be the best offensive player of the pre-Bird/Magic era, and the best offense of George Mikan's era was not his team but Bob Davies' Rochester Royals.
Ironically, right as the basketball world was deciding "run everything through the big man" the data was already telling a different story. Though granted, as I say that, the goaltending rule was critical for this.