Yes ladies and gents, the return of the Big Man in the NBA is back.
Yes the likes of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson shooting 3 balls for days has become the most popular thing since slice bread, but where would a lot of these other good teams be without a good big man?
Look at what happened to Golden State in the NBA Finals. They lost their big man, their rim protector, Aussie Andrew Bogut. At the time they held a 3-1 lead. What happened next was LeBron and Kyrie got to the rim at will. No one was there to stop them once they got to the front of the rim and they went on to win the NBA Championship!
Look at the Warriors this season. Zaza Pachulia is clearly no Andrew Bogut. When it comes time for the bigger games against better bigs like the Clippers (Griffin and Jordan) and playing against a front court like the Cavs have (Thompson and Love) they’ll be exposed. Rumours have come about of late that the Warriors are considering trading back for Bogut, for Zaza and a pick. They’d be mad not to.
Anthony ‘The Brow’ Davis was able to do whatever he wanted against the Warriors earlier this season. In fairness he’s been able to do whatever he wants against anyone in the league this season. Where would the Pelicans be without their big man superstar? Davis has averaged 31.7 PPG, 11.3 RPG and 2.1 APG. These are phenomenal numbers considering the double teams (sometimes triple teams) AD draws.
Another big an Eastern Conference team decided to build around this off season, Hassan Whiteside, is showing why the Heat paid him what they did. They opted to take care of their big fella this off season rather than going for the loyalty in Dwayne Wade. That drew a lot of criticism around the league, not looking after a guy who gave the Heat so much. Look how that worked out for the Lakers. They paid Kobe all that money rather than going after other superstars to remain relevant…
If you’re unaware, I’m probably one of the biggest Kobe Fans ever, but even I was scratching my head at the amount he was getting paid to practically sit out the majority of his contract with injury. So the Heat and Pat Riley completely made the right call on this one.
Whiteside’s numbers this season are ridiculous, averaging 18.8 PPG, 15.9 RPG and 2.7 BPG. Whiteside was struck down with injury early in his career and was forced to take the longer route outside the NBA, going to leagues such as Lebanon to revive his career. He’s reaping the rewards now that he’s healthy and got paid as such rightly so this off season. The Heat will be looking to build around their big man stud in the coming years.
Last but not least, one man who simply needs to stay healthy for this team to be any shot at winning the NBA Title this season, is Blake Griffin. This Clippers team stands on top of the NBA currently. Yes it’s early, but this team has that look about themselves this season. It makes me think that it could be their year. Yes they have to go through the Warriors and the Spurs, but they are every chance in the world with a healthy Blake Griffin and their PG Chris Paul. Griffin is averaging 21.9 PPG, 9.3 RPG and 4.4 APG. He looks in incredible shape, and with front court partner DeAndre Jordan coming off a gold medal win in the Olympics, this team has all the pieces to make a run at this. We say this every year, but this is the Clippers last run at this. Chris Paul isn’t getting any younger, but this team has never played this kind of defence. DeAndre and Blake are protecting the rim at will. They stand no chance to win without these two big men! DeAndre is averaging 10.8 PPG and 12.4 RPG along with 1.6 BPG. Most people would think those numbers aren’t outstanding (in comparison to someone like a Whiteside or DeMarcus Cousins) but the Clippers don’t need him averaging 20-10. This is exactly what they need! Most things Jordan does (mostly affecting shots) don’t show up on stat sheets. Their front court will go a long way in deciding whether or not the perennial under achievers finally get it done this season.