GL: The NBA’s Bigs Problem
Old 08-05-2014, 08:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default GL: The NBA’s Bigs Problem

The NBA?s Bigs Problem

Great read. Little point reducing it here.
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Amir Johnson will earn $7 million this season in the last year of his contract, and there’s a very good chance Toronto or some other team will get a steal on Johnson’s next deal.

Johnson spotted Toronto some valuable minutes at center last season as part of an undersized front line with Patrick Patterson, but he can do that only against specific matchups — mostly against opposing backups. He knocked down a career-best 20 3-pointers, but he has the slowest release this side of Thabo Sefolosha, and no one is guarding him out there.
Johnson has long been a plus/minus darling and defensive whiz, but he has also gotten good enough at tricky little things on offense to function well alongside another non-shooting big. Johnson developed a nice high-low chemistry with Ed Davis before the Raps dealt Davis in the Rudy Gay trade, he’s a key dribble handoff cog in set plays for DeMar DeRozan, and he can both pass and shoot after catching the ball in the paint on the pick-and-roll.

That stuff is not easy. The Raptors scored at a top-10 rate when Johnson shared the floor with Jonas Valanciunas, per Valanciunas’s effective post-up game helped, and finding a big with even decent back-to-the-basket skills is another way to bend the defense without killer shooting at either big-man spot. The Grizz squeeze out enough offense when Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol share the floor; neither can shoot the 3, but both have enough passing, handoff, and post-up skills to make the offense work — even in a season when Memphis had zero wing shooting around them.
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