The day of the plodding big man in the NBA is coming to an end

MARCUS HENRY Special to the AmNews | 7/5/2012, 2:59 p.m.
Andrew Bynum of the Los Angeles Lakers during the game. The Boston Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers by the final score of 87-86 at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, CA.

Are the days of the plodding big man who sits on the blocks all day and demands the ball really over? Will we ever see the likes of Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, Wilt Chamberlain or Robert Parish again?

Old-school NBA fans might as well get used to watching a league with versatile centers who can move to the perimeter instead of the traditional 7-foot, 270-pound monster who camps out in the paint. Need proof? Look no further than No. 1 pick Anthony Davis, a point guard who sprouted 10 inches in high school, going from 6 feet to 6-foot-10, and kept his perimeter skills sharp.

Basketball coaches on every level have accepted this and have adjusted their strategies for developing post players accordingly. Sure, there are some traditional back-to-the-basket centers like Andrew Bynum, Dwight Howard and Roy Hibbert, but many of the league's quality big men have extended their games to 15 feet.

Tim Duncan is one of the best shooting big men to ever play, while Chris Bosh has become a major perimeter threat. Even Kevin Garnett has become more of a jump shooter than a post player. The NBA has become the home for the dominant wing/perimeter player. The NBA Finals were all about LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, while Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins and Miami's Joel Anthony both became afterthoughts. A stunning turnaround when you consider the fact that both players were starters for all or most of the season.

Get used to it, because players like Davis will become the norm in the paint pretty soon.