If you compare the NBA today to the NBA a generation ago, you’ll notice several differences. One of those differences is the lack of big men dominating the game.
But that doesn’t mean big men aren’t important.
“The big men are not disappearing,” Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I think you look at Joel Embiid. You look in Utah, the young man, (Rudy) Gobert, the French kid. People are (just not) paying them attention because of the growing presence of all of the great shooters like Steph Curry and all of those guys who are shooting the ball out of the building. Thats (why) nobody’s talking about no more big men. You got to the Clippers – DeAndre Jordan, he’s performing very well.”
Granted, the Warriors won the NBA title this year without a plodding big man in the middle, but they did have Kevin Durant patrolling the paint and swatting shots. When they won a title in 2015, they had Andrew Bogut.
“Big men will always be needed in the game of basketball,” Mutombo said. “There’s no way you can have five six-foot guys playing the game and you think they can win. No, I don’t think so. You need some big men who will get you some rebounds, who will block shots, who will have a defensive-minded presence on the court. So big men will always have a role.”