The NBA’s move away from relying on low-post players has been rapid in recent seasons. It didn’t simply start with the Golden State Warriors winning the NBA title last season.
Though, that brought the idea of wing players taking on a more important role in the game itself to the forefront.
One of the top big men in the Association today, Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard has something to say about this trend away from the big man in the NBA:
“The way the game is played (now), it’s all outside-in, it’s threes, it’s super-fast,” Howard told USA Today Sports on Tuesday. “It’s really like we’re dinosaurs, and they’re trying to extinct us. But the Ice Age will not come, and we will not be extinct.”
At 30 years old, Howard might not see this potential extinction during his playing days, but the lack of young talent down on the block has to be a concern for those who want to see the big man stay relevant in the NBA.
We aren’t talking about stretch forwards in the form of Draymond Green, Serge Ibaka and Kevin Love. Instead, it’s all about the true centers in today’s game. In this, there simply aren’t too many remaining.
Even the likes of Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns extend their games beyond the low block. In fact, they are most effective when able to extend their games to the perimeter.
In attempting to draw a comparison to previous eras, Howard does make a solid point:
“You watch a guy like Shaq or Kareem and all these guys, and I don’t know if they would want to just play with guys shooting threes and stuff like that. They want to be fed, but it’s the evolution of the game. And the way you stay relevant is trying to find ways to play without focusing on not getting the ball … I think it’s all just a mindset. Some teams are better at it than others.”
That’s where the evolution is going to occur. Low-post players will have to adapt to the changing landscape of the game. They are no longer going to be the central focus of offenses around the Association.
It will be interesting to see if Howard himself is able to adapt moving forward, whether it’s with the Rockets or another team next season. At the very least, he understands what is happening in today’s NBA.