Citing the Phoenix Suns’ prefered lineup of the Mike D’Antoni era, the New York Sun’s John Hollinger writes “Looking at the first 48 hours of the new NBA season, I saw plenty of great power forwards in action. They just happened to be all the guys who played small forward last year.”
Witness some of the starting lineups we saw on opening day. Golden State shifted a scrawny 6-foot-9-inch wing, Mike Dunleavy, to power forward and moved Jersey boy Troy Murphy to the middle. Boston took it a step further, moving 6-foot-7-inch jump-shooter Wally Szczerbiak to that position and backing him up with 6-foot-7-inch Ryan Gomes (above, foreground. Even traditionalists like Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy are going in this direction, using Shane Battier as his power forward after Battier had been a small forward for five years in Memphis.
As a result, the league is trending ever smaller. Phoenix, the originator of the smallball attack, now looks positively huge compared to some of these teams; their starting frontcourt goes 6’7″, 6’8″, 6’10.” A decade ago that would have been suicidal, but in today’s NBA teams can survive and even thrive with frontcourt players that size.
That takes us to the next trend: position creep. Two years ago if I mentioned that Richard Jefferson should play some power forward you’d have thought I was nuts. But in today’s game, why not? Play Jason Kidd and Marcus Williams in the backcourt, put Vince Carter at small forward, and play Jefferson at power forward. Sure, he’s only 6-foot-7, but chances are the guy he’s guarding is too. And if not, the rules allow Jefferson to blow by him on offense and have a zone to protect him on defense.
Mr. Abbott supplied the wrong link for Ron Artest’s MySpace page. Look, I know the pain of rejection as well as anyone (thanks for nuthin’, Lastings) but there’s no excuse for misleading the Tru Warier’s devoted fans.
A prior commitment watching Sally Crewe and Eric Friend perform at the Parish last night meant I had to turn down Dennis Johnson’s personal dinner invitation. As such, DJ had to make his NBDL Draft choices without my assistance, and selected Darius Washington Jr. with the Austin Toros’ first round pick, the D-League’s 10th overall. Wizznuttz’ old pal, Peter John Ramos went at no. 9 to the Idaho Stampede, while Chauncey Billups’ younger brother Rodney, went in the 9th round to Colorado. Stephon Marbury’s younger brother Zach was Albuquerque’s 9th round pick — imagine how high he might’ve gone with sneakers that cost more than $15?