I’ve never really figured out where I stand on positionality in the NBA. I understand what makes a guy a point guard and what makes another a center. Some would determine that difference simply as one guy is 7’1 and the other is 6’1. Other might just determine it based on role and assignment. Whatever the case, I understand what positions are. I just don’t really get what they mean.
We’ve heard the debate already. Russell Westbrook isn’t a true point guard. Jeff Green isn’t an actual power forward. Robert Swift wasn’t a real basketball player. So if they aren’t those things, what are they?
Rob Mahoney at The Two Man Game is honestly one of the smartest basketball thinkers out there. And he dove into this topic some in regard to the Mavericks roster, so I will shamelessly rip off his idea and apply it to the Thunder. Some words of his I especially liked:
To those still clinging to what they know, I’d ask this: what’s a power forward? What characteristics link Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan, Rashard Lewis, Lamar Odom, Reggie Evans, Tyrus Thomas, and J.J. Hickson? Not rebounding. Not scoring. Not skill set. Not height relative to their teammates. Not even the spaces they occupy on the floor. I’m at a total loss as to the criterion that would group that bunch together, which makes the assessment “Player X isn’t a real power forward” pretty much worthless. I think I know what it means, but without the ability to define the contemporary power forward, how could I really know for sure?
Who did you think of during that entire paragraph? If you said Nenad Krstic, you’d be wrong. But one player easily inserted into that list is Jeff Green. Nobody knows what he is and honestly, nobody knows what he should be either. Rob took the plot of his post from a column by Drew Cannon of Basketball Prospectus. In that, there’s this section: Keep Reading…