Byron Mullens and the death of the big man

If you were 7’2″ and 260 lbs, what sport would you likely play? NASCAR? Golf? And within that sport, what position do you reckon you’d be slotted at? Hint: It doesn’t start with a “G” or an “F” and it rhymes with “renter.” It doesn’t take Jack Ramsey to figure this stuff out.6a00d83451af4b69e201157155ba48970b-800wi

But don’t tell Byron Mullens this. He said last week in Orlando that he’s no center. He’s a power forward. And I guess I believe him. Because that’s sure how he plays.

We’ve seen Mullens in a total of seven professional games and I can remember only two post moves – one an airballed hook shot and the other a step-back jumper from the block. Out of 53 shot attempts, just two post moves from a 7’2″ guy. Two post moves. For someone that is 86 inches tall. That makes about as much sense as Christian Bale still using his Batman voice when he was talking to Lucius.

But don’t just blame B.J. Byron Nelson James Mullens. Because by all appearances the true center is dying, one seven-footer at a time or as Clark Matthews put it in an email, “The center position should be on the endangered species list next to albino otters.” It’s a basketball epidemic. Or I guess maybe it’s just an evolution in the game. Who knows? We’re seeing more and more Amare’s, Mehmet Okur’s and David Lee’s and less Shaq’s, Al Jefferson’s and Yao Ming’s. Heck, look at guys like Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Nenad Krstic. They’re seven-feet tall but they prefer the pick and pop instead of the post and score.

In Mullens’ defense, he is uniquely gifted for a guy that size. He has nice touch on his jumper and he’s absurdly athletic for his size. He’s not some stiff that just takes up space. He really has the skills of a jumpshooting power forward. But combine that with at least a mediocre post game and match him up against slower, less athletic guys of similar size and wouldn’t he be a matchup nightmare? Well, that’s just what common sense says.

I understand the idea of being versatile and developing a unique skillset for your size. Some guys can pull that off and it makes them an absolutely dynamic player (see: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki). But what I don’t understand is spoiling your God-gifted talent by ignoring one aspect of your game because you think you’re something you’re not.

Any basketball coach would agree that the toughest offensive move to defend is the hook shot, whether it be Kareem’s sky version or a little baby hook. But it’s the one shot that creates distance between you and the defender, and because of your body separating the defender from the ball and forming a shield, it’s virtually unblockable. It’s by no means an easy shot to perfect, but that’s the point – too many guys want to dunk and take jumpshots. Too few want to get on the blocks and learn post moves. Maybe you won’t get on SportsCenter with a nice up-and-under or a little baby hook, but if you put the ball in the basket, you’ll get in the box score. And that’s what matters.AAGZ061_8x10~Kareem-Abdul-Jabbar-Hook-Shot-Posters

Think of it this way: If a pitcher has a 97 MPH heater and a wicked breaking ball, what would you say if he decided he’d be just a knuckleballer? That he’s a knucklehead? Or what if a football player were 6’6″, 320 pounds but thought he was a safety? I think most coaches would either show him to the bench or hand him a diet plan. Maybe that pitcher loves tossing knuckleballs, but I think in the end he’d rather get people out and actually be on the field than do what he wants. So if guys like Mullens just want to take finesse jumpers, bully for you. Have fun talking to that Gatorade jug for 48 minutes.

So what’s the deal? Why do guys of Mullens’ size continue to work on their jumpshot instead of a quality post-up game? Why? WHY?!?! You have the size to dominate a position, and all you need is the refined skill. But instead, you choose to stand 15 feet from the basket rather than five. Instead of taking complete advantage of the seven feet, two inches that is your body, you play the same game a 6’8″ guy does. I just face palmed myself so hard, I got a concussion.

Look at a few of the all-time greatest seven-footers:

Hakeem Olajuwon – If there was anyone for Mullens to watch tape on, it’s The Dream. Mullens has a similar stroke and the ability to hit a baseline jumper. But what made Hakeem GREAT and not just some ho-hum power forward was his ability to get position on the blocks and score from inside as well.

Kareem Abdul-Jabaar – The Sky Hook people. The Sky Hook. Absolutely impossible to defend, almost as hard to learn. The thing about a hook shot is while it’s one of the best offensive moves in basketball, it’s also insanely hard to do. Instead of having a dominant shooting hand and an off-hand to balance and control the ball as in a normal shot, you’re isolating the ball to one hand. It’s hard to control and balance. But just because something’s hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work on it. Kareem’s 38,387 points agree with me.

Shaquille O’Neal – He dominated because he was bigger than everyone, but he wouldn’t have done it without his incredible footwork and soft touch. Imagine Shaq standing at the top of the key calling for the ball and then fading away on a jumper.

David Robinson – He could score from the elbow and on the block. Notice that, he could do both.

Not to mention Wilt Chamberlain or Patrick Ewing. What if these guys had settled for jumpshots and foregone the work to develop in the post? What if they had said, “Nah, you got me all wrong. I’m a power forward you see.” I’m trying to think of great seven-foot power forwards and I’ve got nothing besides Dirk who is always the exception (and he’s really a small forward anyway). Oh, oh, here’s one: Yi Jianlian. Pretty good company there, eh Byron?

Guys are more athletic than ever and versatile big men are more valuable than a stiff that stands on the block. That is definitely an evolution in the game and I get that. You don’t want the one-dimensional guy that has to be under the basket to score. But for some reason, players have taken that as a free pass to forget developing post moves and instead work on between-the-legs dunks and 22-foot jumpers. It’s like guys don’t want to play center because they think they won’t get to run the floor and shoot jumpers ever again. And as a result, great talent is wasted.

There’s a place for slick shooting big men. It’s unique for a guy that hits his head on routine door frames to have the touch of a guard. But what’s lost is the ability to score from the inside. Krstic attempted 68 percent jump shots last year and hit 42 percent of them. He took 32 percent inside shots and hit 58 percent. You do the math. Wait, I guess I just did. (For comparison, Yao attempted 40 percent jumpers and 60 percent inside shots last season. Al Jefferson was a good balance of 49-51. Shaq attempted 72 percent from inside. And as of right now, by my estimate, Byron Mullens has taken probably 75 percent jumpers and the remaining 25 percent is just from put-backs and dunks.)

If guys like Mullens want to be jumpshooting power forward, then join the party. The line forms behind the other 200 guys and you’re not likely to move up very far. Yi Jianlian is saving you a spot. But get yourself a post move or two, some muscle to get better position on the block and the desire to develop your skills and you could be at the front of the line. Not too many guys out there are 7-foot-2. But go ahead, keep telling everybody you’re a power forward. Hopefully Scott Brooks doesn’t listen to you.

nick
2009-07-16 11:36:18
<a href="#comment-17149" rel="nofollow">@nick </a> "vaguely resemble of defense"? what the hell was that. ugh, i meant vaguely resemble them on defense
Crow
2009-07-16 11:41:16
Presti / Brooks have some choices to make. Do they give Mullens a steady 5+ minutes a game this season or not? Same with Ibaka. And with White I hope it is 10+. If they do all these it will probably cost some wins. But if they don't are they really building for the future fully? To get these 3 more minutes eventually one of Collison and Krstic will be traded with it being more likely to be Collison though it could be Krstic is the offer is right and they want to play power forwards at center on purpose. Something that is made more likely when you play a SF mostly at PF.
Crow
2009-07-16 11:50:41
Sene never got even this plan B treatment. Swift had a little of regular play and a little garbage but far more DNPs even when supposedly healthy. Only Petro got real run. At the wrong position for him. And if Petro was cast aside for being a jumpshooter who wasnt physical enough does it really make sense to then sign Krstic and White and Ibaka and Mullens who are all jumpshooters and at least some are not physical enough? If not all compared to what you'd ideally want?
Crow
2009-07-16 11:45:12
I guess you could play them heavier in the 4th quarter of games you are down by 10 and only then but that isn't quite the same education.
larry
2009-07-15 16:17:28
"wasting talent by not dedicated himself to going inside AT ALL." yea, I think he has to add some post game, I do not want him to be a Don Mclean or anything, I just want to temper anyones hopes of this guy being Alonzo Mourning...By the way, what id the organization saying about White. I really like that guy...
Royce
2009-07-15 16:24:20
<a href="#comment-17044" rel="nofollow">@larry</a> Oh I absolutely agree. It's not like I think he should be the next Hakeem, I'm just saying he's wasting the CHANCE to be that. If he turns out to be the best jumpshooting big man ever and makes 10 All-Star teams, I'll raise my hand when the idiot roll gets called. He is only 20 and he's clearly got skill. I just think it's ridiculous for him to label himself a four only and to stand outside and shoot jumpers. And the organization likes D.J. but I don't know how much. I think he's going to see some good time this year playing behind Green and Collison.
larry
2009-07-15 15:57:16
Royce, I like what you say but I think Mullins is who he is...he is the new look power forward/center and I think Okc does need that because they are going to face the same; Nowitzki, Bosh, Odom, Okur, Gasol, Randolph,Garnett,and the guy from Portland, forget his name...
Royce
2009-07-15 16:02:36
<a href="#comment-17040" rel="nofollow">@larry</a> You're possibly right and I tried to acknowledge the possibility of Mullens being the next step in big man evolution. But I still think a guy his size is wasting talent by not dedicated himself to going inside AT ALL. And what you say is kind of my point. The "big man" is dying and players like Dirk, Okur and Amare are taking over. Which is maybe not a bad thing, but there's always value in a guy that score from the inside. And at 7'2", I feel like a guy should be doing more of that and less jumpshooting.
Danny
2009-07-15 15:00:27
Gettin' a little sassy, Royce. I like it. I agree with this 100% though. Another jump-shooting 7-footer is not what the Thunder need.
Rhett
2009-07-15 15:01:24
Plus if Mullens would read Outliers he'd know that if he practices the sky hook 10,000 times he'll be pretty good at it. Gotta read the Bill Simmons-Malcolm Gladwell interviews if you haven't already. What's the over/under for # of times Bill Simmons goes to a Thunder game (not necessarily in OKC) this season? He loves KD and we're his favorite team to watch.
nick
2009-07-15 15:53:18
awesome rant royce. somebody needs to send this to lord byron nelson james bj jianlian mullens or whatever he wants to be called
V
2009-07-15 15:34:54
Hi, I'm new. But I've been reading for awhile lol. This is slightly off topic. I don't know if anyone saw this earlier, but I thought it was humorous :) david b. thorpe: "Who would win, Sene vs. Swift?" david b. thorpe: "Sene here with the Knicks." david b. thorpe: "That would be a great reality tv idea. Each week, pit them in interesting challenges. The mile run. Hurdles. Arm wrestling. Punt, pass, kick" david b. thorpe: "The tie breaker would be a game of horse."
Royce
2009-07-15 15:37:34
<a href="#comment-17034" rel="nofollow">@V</a> That is good. I'm sure Rick Sund doesn't find that very humorous.
Mo
2009-07-15 15:09:41
I think Scott Brooks should get a rolled up newspaper and whenever Mullens goes for a fadeaway 18 footer instead of going into the post, Brooks should hit him on the nose. Like training a puppy.
Royce
2009-07-15 15:14:48
<a href="#comment-17032" rel="nofollow">@Mo</a> I like that idea. And when he pees on the floor, make him go outside.
Kyle
2009-07-15 19:42:41
<blockquote cite="#commentbody-17061"> <strong><a href="#comment-17061" rel="nofollow">Kev</a> :</strong> I really don’t think it’s that diffucult to learn the post game – there should be plenty of retired NBA bigs able to coach big men – BUT the big men have to want to get better inside – the way Mullens has been playing summer league, it seems like he doesn’t WANT to get better in the post – he loves to jack up the long range jumpers. That shot should be buried until he develops a competent post game. It’s kinda like eating your dessert before the entree – Mullens has it backwards . . . </blockquote> Orlando Magic + Patrick (CH)Ewing = Dwight Howard is now a monster. He was a project when drafted, hired an ex big, now best big man. LA Lakers + Kareem = Bynum looking like one of the best young bigs before all of his injuries... Can we do this please? Teams take an old pro, what was Shawn Kemp's low post game like? haha
Joe
2009-07-16 05:09:37
Duncan plays Center. Whether he "technically" is the Power Forward or Center is really just semantics. The biggest lineup by far the Spurs used last year had Duncan in the Center with Matt Bonner next to him at Power Forward. No other lineup was even close on minutes. You could say that Bonner was the Center I suppose, but Bonner is a big time Jumpshooter PF by nature. Also, according to 82 games.com, Duncan played 55 percent of the teams minutes at Center, While Bonner is listed at zero percent of the team's minutes at Center. Also, Bonner shoots 84 percent of his shots as Jumpshots, vs. 57 percent for Duncan.
Mark!
2009-07-16 05:24:59
Semantics or no, Duncan has made a big deal out of it personally in the past. That was kind of the point of the article. There's a good reason to keep Duncan in PF, specfically I'd rather dudes bang up Bonner and let Duncan finesse the ball or come in on help (which is where many of his blocks come from.)
Clark Matthews
2009-07-16 06:24:17
Yi has post moves. I'm not sure how often he uses them in the NBA (since Milwaukee and New Jersey are hardly televised), but he showed them a lot during the Olympics. So he has that on Byron.
Nix
2009-07-16 07:08:34
You guys should see my running hook...It's a site to behold...it will be perfect for the Daily Thunder vs WTLC 5v5...
Bo
2009-07-16 07:18:32
Duncan and many others have made a big deal about being called a PF instead of a C. 'Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet.' In reality, basketball is a game of matchups. Offensively,there are PF's that play almost exclusively in the paint and C's that play almost exclusively outside. Defensively, unless you're playing some sort of zone, you generally cover the guy you matchup best against whereever he goes. One problem I see with the Thunder is offensively, they have no back-to-the-basket post players. Having all 5 guys outside of the paint causes serious spacing problems. Defensively, OKC has no enforcer. Having a shot-blocking center would be great. Right now, I'd settle for a thug PF that would rough guys up in the paint. You gotta enjoy pounding in the post. It's a mental attitude and I don't think anybody on OKC's roster enjoys it that much.
Royce
2009-07-16 08:39:52
<a href="#comment-17117" rel="nofollow">@J.G. </a> It's not that necessarily. I took Byron's comments about being a power forward as more as "I don't want to stand underneath the basket." Of course a power forward needs post moves just as much as a center to be successful, but the point is, the traditional low block center is a dying breed and it's because of guys like Mullens that want to stand outside play the hybrid four. I mean heck, once KD develops a post game he'll be unguardable. But the position he plays doesn't <em>demand </em> it. Does that make sense?
Dan
2009-07-16 09:04:14
Is is possible that Durant eventually plays at PF? He has length, athleticism, and in a couple years he could bulk up enough that green is more of a SF and durant a PF. Durant has such a high FT % that if he were in the paint more, he could draw even more fouls.
Royce
2009-07-16 09:18:40
<a href="#comment-17122" rel="nofollow">@Dan </a> Interesting to think about. From shooting guard to power forward. I guess it could happen. KD played the four in spurts last year, but that was when OKC went small with Watson, Westbrook and Weaver.
J.G.
2009-07-16 09:22:10
<a href="#comment-17118" rel="nofollow">@Royce </a> Oh I'm totally on board with your article, I was just trying to state something that I didn't see anyone else bring up. Especially since everyone seemed to be like, "Yeah, PF's shoot jump shots instead of posting up." And I just kind of sat there, slack-jawed, wondering what basketball universe I had stumbled upon or if this was some cruel joke. Because, let me tell you, Blake Griffin is considered the quintessential NBA PF because of his amazing range on his jumpshots. If I'm a coach, and my PF is out there shooting 18 footers 75% of the time and almost seems terrified of entering the lane or turning his back to the basket, then he would also be finding his way to the bench, just like my 7'2 C would. <a href="#comment-17122" rel="nofollow">@Dan </a> Durant may spend time at the 4 if the team goes small, but Green is more of a PF than Durant ever will be (and that's not saying much) because Durant's skill set is almost tailor made to be a wing player, instead of a big...which is pretty much what has caused this discussion in the first place. To plant Durant at the 4 would be to waste his ridiculous outside shooting, slashing and face-up to the basket game. Much like planting Mullens at the 3 (since that's really how he's played since joining the team) would horribly waste his awesome 7'2-ness, wingspan and athleticism.
Crow
2009-07-17 01:42:40
Petro's time on the court for OKC in 08-09 was limited. His jumper slid down from 39% FG% the previous season as you suggest to 31% FG%. But surprisingly his inside shot FG% went up from 47% to 59%. Sadly his inside shot frequency stayed the same and the latter improvement had less impact than the former decline. But he might have shown he could in fact score inside at least part of the time. I'd have pushed him more on that I guess. If you could get him to hit his jumper like he could in 07-08 and the inside shot like he did in 08-09 and shift the proportions then you might have something. Too much to ask? Maybe on a consistent basis going forward but he actually did it in 06-07 hitting 45% FG% on his jumpers and 60% FG% inside and taking 45% of his shots inside. How did he do it then and not after? PJ and the system they ran probably had something to do with it. Things Presti was in charge of approving and responsible for the results of. Petro's performance in 06=07 on these FG% were as good as Green this season and he was 1 1/2 years younger than Green is now and shot inside more often. Green in his year 1 was almost as bad as Petro last season. Petro gets shown the door, Green is cemented in the starting lineup getting 37 minutes a game is his defense is not really any better. Why? because Presti believes in him and he is Presti's guy and perhaps the first has a lot to do with the latter. Now Petro didn't do much in Denver- yet and may not. I don't know if he will and he team and individual defense moved to sucks. But Presti gives up on an athletic 7 footer who has shown signs of being able to shoot at age 23. Right call or not? Probably right overall but probably influenced too much by the fact he wasn't his pick to my guess. DJ White is 23. He is getting his first chances. Mullens and Ibaka have a long time til he is 23 but will be better than Petro by then? Do they get as much time or more to work out? We'll see.
Crow
2009-07-17 01:46:42
Green improved and Petro regressed and certainly that had something to do with the different treatment but Green had the full confidence and lots of minutes an dshots and Petro wasn't extended and was on shaky ground, waiting for his minutes to get yanked and to get traded.
nick
2009-07-16 09:38:00
i think we latched on to what lord byron called himself, but the main point of what royce is saying is about how he plays. duncan can call himself a 4 all he wants, but he is absolutely provides tough interior defense and shotblocking on D and he absolutely posts up a significant % of the time on offense. if lord bj does those things well but calls himself a 4, well, bully for him. the problem isn't what he calls himself, its that he severely needs to have a post game and be able to play defense. being a pf doesn't preclude those things- duncan did the same things when he was actually a pf next to robinson. we've all used duncan, but if bj wants to be garnett (very good jumpshooting 4 with a post game and absolutely ferocious defense) i can live with that. i can live with a lot if he learns to defend like duncan and garnett, actually.
Bang4ur$
2009-07-15 19:33:28
I've been waiting for someone to say this ever since the draft. Mullens said right away he saw himself as Dirk. When your new 7'2" draft pick says that, be afraid. Be very afraid. Even so, we'd settle for even Dirk's game inside, no?
nick
2009-07-15 18:16:26
<a href="#comment-17058" rel="nofollow">@Joe </a> do you mean duncan who attended wake or robinson who attended navy?
Joe
2009-07-15 18:29:58
Oh, thanks Nick, I meant Tim Duncan at Wake....I see my error.
Kev
2009-07-15 19:00:38
I really don't think it's that diffucult to learn the post game - there should be plenty of retired NBA bigs able to coach big men - BUT the big men have to want to get better inside - the way Mullens has been playing summer league, it seems like he doesn't WANT to get better in the post - he loves to jack up the long range jumpers. That shot should be buried until he develops a competent post game. It's kinda like eating your dessert before the entree - Mullens has it backwards . . .
Nix
2009-07-15 21:13:04
<a href="#comment-17070" rel="nofollow">@Mark!</a> I think Duncan plays center...but on the defensive side of the ball... Great article Royce. If Mullens can develop great post defense then I'm fine with him shooting 60 and going 40 down low on offense... The truth is if he can develop good interior defense then he's already better then Thabeet and a lot of other centers out there... Right now Durant and Green are getting blown by on the wings and then it's a free bucket...but an excellent help defending/shot blocking center would be AMAZING... So my point is...I can handle the outside shooting if his defense develop to above average.
Dan
2009-07-16 11:12:43
Sorry, I should have clarified, I was thinking defensively play durant at the 4 but offensively at the 3.
J.G.
2009-07-16 11:13:23
<a href="#comment-17130" rel="nofollow">@nick </a> If Mullens becomes even a shadow of Duncan or KG than that will be the day that I will keep hope alive that I'll grow from 5'9 to 7'2 and be drafted by the Thunder...what? It could happen... I mean, don't get me wrong, I hope he turns into an All-Star, Hall of Famer...but honestly, I'd settle for ANY signs of an interior game, a textbook sealing of his man on the block and good timing on rebounds and shot blocks.
Dan
2009-07-16 11:20:23
Here is a video of Tim Duncan right after he was drafted http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR1ido7jN7I he was pretty skinny then. It gives some hope of durant adding weight, he won't be a force inside, but he could be a better defender at the 4 eventually than green
nick
2009-07-16 11:35:32
<a href="#comment-17145" rel="nofollow">@J.G. </a> haha, agreed. i didn't really mean that he would become those guys, they're surefire HOFers. and duncan is arguably the best player since jordan. i meant if he could play like those guys, admittedly to a much lesser degree. the only thing he does that resembles those 2 is shoot jump shots. if he could even vaguely resemble of defense and in the post i'd be happy.
Rhett
2009-07-15 14:57:13
Like this post Royce. Dirk's a future HOF because he's a 7-footer than can't hit from anywhere including the post. Dirk's deadly with the 3, but he combines his range with attacking the rim. He looks goofy as hell and keeps me entertained on some of his post moves, but he makes a lot of shots down low and earns a bunch of trips to the stripe. You can't compare anyone to him and he's every bit as good as the elite of the NBA. Yes, I'm a huge Dirk fan. As for Mullens he needs to study The Dream and The Admiral A LOT. I don't expect it from him though. He has the wrong mindset to dominate down low. It's too bad, 'cause with the lack of traditional centers that are actually good he could find himself a nice niche to excel in for years to come.
Qball
2009-07-15 14:58:21
Dude. I've been saying the same thing about that scene with Christian Bale for years. So true.
Mark!
2009-07-15 16:54:35
<blockquote cite="#commentbody-17040"> <strong><a href="#comment-17040" rel="nofollow">larry </a> :</strong>Royce, I like what you say but I think Mullins is who he is…he is the new look power forward/center and I think Okc does need that because they are going to face the same; Nowitzki, Bosh, Odom, Okur, Gasol, Randolph,Garnett,and the guy from Portland, forget his name…</blockquote> Slow down a minute. I get your point, but I don't think many people would say that Bosh, Odom, Gasol, Garnett or Aldridge are weak in the post. Add Duncan to the list too, the quentessential "Don't call me a center or I'll bank this ball off your face" power forward. Those guys are beasts down low (well... Odom only is every other night or so.) There isn't a Kareem or a Hakeem in the group, but they aren't light weight chuckers either. Even Dirk has some post moves.
Royce
2009-07-15 17:12:17
<a href="#comment-17051" rel="nofollow">@Mark!</a> Yeah Pau Gasol is one of the most impressive post players in the league to me. Uses both hands, very quick, excellent footwork.
Joe
2009-07-15 18:03:51
We need to hire Moses Malone as our missing assistant coach and have him spend some time tutoring Krstic and Lord Byron. He chewed up Kareem like a dog on a bone in the 83 finals with down and dirty post play and brutal defense. He was so strong and mean that he pushed Kareem out too far to make his skyhook. But seriously, how are young guys who are 7 foot supposed to get the proper coaching to become special in the post? Where are they supposed to learn about footwork and timing? As soon as they show any promise they are McDonalds All Americans and then one and dones. My memory tells me the last Center with a real fundamental post game was <del datetime="2009-07-16T01:30:25+00:00">David Robinson</del>Tim Duncan who went to Wake forest for 4 years. He didn't leave after his freshman year when he averaged 9 points and 9 boards; no, he stayed and worked, and became a Senior who averaged 21 and 15.
Danny
2009-07-15 20:02:21
<a href="#comment-17029" rel="nofollow">@Rhett</a> Interesting stuff from Simmons's draft-day interview: I have to come clean: If the Zombie Sonics take Rubio or Curry, they will be employing my favorite college player of the decade (Kevin Durant); my favorite international player of the decade (Rubio) OR my favorite college player of the past two years (Curry); two other college guys I loved (Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook); and if that's not enough, they have my favorite young coach (Scottie Brooks) and my favorite GM who didn't go to MIT (Sam Presti). At some point, all these things will override "They have scummy owners who hijacked the team from Seattle." I don't trust myself to handle this well. I am an only child. I'm selfish. I care about me only. And if I'm watching 75 Zombie Sonics games next season, at some point, I'm going to want to go to one. Just know that, if I switch to the dark side, I won't do it half-assed. It will be like when Hulk Hogan joined the nWo. I'd see my editor (and die-hard Seattle fan) Kevin Jackson at the ESPYS, shake his hand, pretend to be nice, then hit him with a steel chair, do 10 leg drops on him and rip off my Hugo Boss suit to reveal a jersey of the Team That Shall Not Be Named as Erin Andrews screams, "Nooooooo! Nooooooo!" like Tony Schiavone. You'll get your money's worth. So again, I'm giving you a heads-up now. OK? OK.
Mark!
2009-07-15 20:55:39
Meh, Simmons is a shill. Seattle is a bigger market than OKC, so he'll play them up. His righteous indignation can't possibly be as sincere as he makes it out to be. Also, I think it's funny that Joe brings up Duncan. Duncan refuses to play Center. No doubt he has some solid post moves, but he is the very essence of a 7 footer who refuses to play where his height dictates he should.
J.G.
2009-07-16 08:34:42
Okay, perhaps I'm just the only one who is seeing this but, when did a PF not become a post player as well? How many PF's do you now that are great NBA players without a solid post game? By his own words, Mullens needs to develop a post game if he envisions himself as a PF. I mean really, how many of us are desperate for Jeff Green to develop a post game? PF's and C's (and even some SF's; James, Lebron) should and must have solid to great post up moves if they want to ever come close to realizing their potential in terms of impacting a game.
Crow
2009-07-16 13:20:13
It is possible Mullens might be better at a 260 pound PF than a 280+ pound center if he is not really a banger / defender at heart. If so trying to make him that would probably be fairly unsuccessful. Again. And as much on Presti / Brooks as Mullens. If they want to be a post-up center why are letting him take mostly jump-shots? It is real early but patterns set in.
Joe
2009-07-16 17:01:54
The bad thing with Petro is that he was a jumpshooter who didn't make shots.
Chris
2009-12-03 09:53:25
Listen, Mullens is a great player and everyone should be well aware of what he believes he is able to achieve. Byron is a guy who started playing organized basketball at a late age, therefore hes a late bloomer. BJ is unstoppable either way so I don't believe it should matter which way he gets the ball rather it be 15-17 feet out or an up and under or a drop step dunk. He's in the NBA so its time for him to step up and prove to us that he can score however he gets the ball.