By Ray Boyd
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — We watched Andre Iguodala, a 6’6″ swingman, get inserted into the Warriors starting lineup during the NBA Finals in place of their center Andrew Bogut. The result: Iguodala wins NBA Finals MVP and the Warriors are the champions.
The conversation followed about whether or not you need big men in the NBA anymore to be successful and win championships.
That reality is something that new Sixers rookie Jahlil Okafor will have to face in the NBA. All of the dominant big men have that weight on their shoulders and Okafor is the newest member of the club.
He is not a stretch big man. He will not stray far from the lane on either side of the floor. He certainly will not shoot 3’s.
He is going to get on the block and use his incredible hands and strength to back down his opponents, draw double-teams and score.
Okafor addressed the conversation about the extinction of back to the basket bigs when he was introduced to the Philadelphia media on Saturday.
LISTEN: Vince Quinn and Ray Boyd recap the Sixers draft on Sports Beyond Measure with Kyle Neubeck of Liberty Ballers
“For as long as I can remember, big men have dominated the NBA,” Okafor said on Saturday.
He even mentioned a few names. “Tim Duncan winning last year, it was all about big men and then Pau Gasol and Kevin Garnett.”
Okafor did have a point. Yes, the Warriors won without a low post big man on the floor, but since 2000, 11 of the 16 NBA champions have had a dominant low post presence. It certainly is not that the low post big is no longer effective.
Perhaps there are just less of them in the game. The Sixers now have quite a contingent of them and now have a chance to embrace a style of basketball that many other teams could not play if they wanted to.
Okafor cautioned people not to get too ahead of themselves in terms of the idea that big men don’t matter anymore.
“People get a little excited because what Steph Curry and those guys did was great and it worked. Their formula was fantastic, but for as long as I can remember, big men have been dominant and the result has been NBA championships.”
Sixers fans will hope that Okafor can really show the world that big men still matter.
The Sports Beyond Measure Podcast is a weekly sports podcast that delivers a fun perspective on the latest headlines in national sports, Philadelphia professional sports and community-based sports. The series is hosted by 94 WIP’s Vince Quinn, Ray Boyd and Eric “Turtle” Golden. You can download/subscribe for free on iTunes.