Thursday, June 23, 2005

Billy Knight gets it

I really buy this reasoning:

"A lot of people have it etched in stone that everybody has to be a certain position - you have to fit into a mold, but that really isn't the way that I look at it. If you had him, Josh Smith, Al Harrington, all those guys to me are forwards. They can play some at either position and I think that's a positive for your team and for those players, so it gives them another opportunity to get on the floor. If you say he's a power forward, he's got to play the power forward spot only. You say he's a forward, maybe you're going to go with three forwards, so he can get on the floor at any time. . . . There's such a thing as him being a basketball player."

Positions are mostly overrated in basketball these days. Hell, if you look at the Eastern Conference, are there that many centers that would present a match-up problem for Al Harrington or Marvin Williams? The two-time Eastern Conference champions play a 6'9 power forward at center and they seem to do OK. Admittedly, a frontline of Harrington, Williams, and Josh Smith would be a rebounding liability because none of them can board like Ben Wallace, but if they committed to rebounding, there's no reason why they couldn't play together on the floor, especially with a strong rebounding guard like Josh Childress.

This whole "must have a seven-footer to play center" reasoning reminds me of a dilemma that Michigan has coming into this year. They have a deep receiving corps full of high school All-Americans, as well as two quality tight ends. They also have a major problem in that they lost their fullback from the past two years and don't have a ready replacement. Given that, why would they play a fullback when they would simply be taking snaps away from a better wide receiver or tight end? Why would the Hawks give an Obinna Ekezie major minutes when they can get a better player on the floor, even if that player isn't a true center?


peacedog said...

I kind of disagree, but I kind of agree. The thinking that you need a "prototype" center, or any other position, is dubious. However, Wallace works because he's a very physical, powerful, inside presence. I don't think you're going to get that with Williams, Harrington, and Smith.

I do think Harrington has a nose for rebounding, though.

Anonymous said...

What about the famous insult on the knicks being that they have 100 undersized power forwards in relation to this.

peacedog said...

1) They don't really have a significant defensive presence. So it isn't that they have 100 undersized powerforwards - it's that they don't have 99 undersized powerforwards and a dude who patrols the lane like Batman does Gotham city.

2) 100 undersized powerforwads doesn't speak to versitility. Can any of them shoot 17 ft jumpers?

The potential Hawks 3 forward system doesn't work as well if none of those guys is useful from around the foul line and beyond. I think Marvin will be. If Smith had a consistent 15 footer, I'd be ecstatic.

3) All of the knicks 100 power forwards suck donkey balls.

Michael said...

I think Peacedog is right here. The Hawks don't necessarily need a center, but they need a power forward who can rebound and control the lane defensively and none of the current candidates fit that bill. They would still need a Nazr Mohammed-type to play the five.

peacedog said...

I'm also right about the Knicks sucking. And Isiah Thomas sucks as a GM. This is the type of thing that is important to repeat as much as possible.