It used to be called “overloaded at the position.” And when you couldn’t draft your need you “picked the best available.” Then, if someone was under 6’3″ and couldn’t bring the ball up the court but could shoot, you had a “tweener.” Suddenly, this always-avoided situation has become desirable and sexy. Position-less basketball has taken hold and it’s exactly what we’re going to see this year. As a Celtics fan, I love it.
We’re looking at a team and a league that have finally realized (some sarcasm coming) that putting your five best players on the court (‘cause size doesn’t matter) results in a better product. Who woulda thunk? Finally the days of “you need to draft a seven footer” or “you can’t teach height” have passed and the focus is on finding a team that can score, defend, and win. Who cares what they look like? For all intents and purposes it’s NBA money ball (the book, which includes all the stats, not the movie).
To be clear, I’m not hating on centers. You know from my other articles that I love a good enforcer. When my friends and I played “Space Jam” in the middle school courts I actually wanted to be Shawn Bradley. My opinion does not value one position over another. When you build a team where everyone can score and defend (IT doesn’t ruin this because his DEF rating is almost identical to Kyrie according stats.nba.com) then you will win. It will also be fun to watch the switches, rotations and defensive assignments that will drive other teams bonkers.
Just think about a starting lineup where everyone can bring the ball up in a pinch:
- IT is going to run the point, but to free him up
- Jaylen Brown might need to bring the ball up, and if he’s high flying then
- Gordo can quarterback the play, and if he’s knocking down shots from all over the court then
- Jae can grab the ball around half court and when he needs to get back on D
- Horford has been known to take it coast to coast
Whether you agree with that starting line-up doesn’t matter. All these folks can handle the ball and it works the other way around too. Imagine the second unit grabbing boards:
- Baynes is going to be a big guy to get around when going for boards, and if he gets tied up than
- Marcus Morris can still pull down five boards a game, and if he’s busy closing someone out then
- Tatum grabbed seven a game in college (according to sportsreference.com), but if he’s off scoring a million points then
- Marcus Smart will out-grit the competition and if he’s still on the floor after diving for a loose ball then
- Rozier will grab three boards/game (ESPN.com) just like he did last year.
Celtics fans are probably taking this where I want you to; which is everyone can do everything and seven of the 10 guys listed above might end up covering Lebron next spring. Everyone else thinks that I’m overselling the Celtics. Fine, maybe I’m being a little theatrical, but it’s not my fault. I want to see seven-footers shoot and five- footers dunk. It’s not my fault though. Most of my formative basketball years started with Dee Brown and ended with Antoine Walker.
What do you think? Is this this here to stay? Will it work? http://gty.im/800014202