The NBA has evolved quite a bit in the past 10-15 years. Almost every aspect of the game has changed and the style of coaching is somewhat different then it used to be. One of the most crucial changes that happened in the NBA and basketball, in general, is the evolution of the center position.
We all remember the 90’s and the importance of having a strong center in order to win championships. Names like Shaq, Olajuwon, Robinson, Ewing and many others were the main stars on their teams who often competed for championships and teams back in the day were structured around a strong center that is able to score 20-25 points per game and get 12-15 rebounds on a nightly basis.
Nowadays, centers are no longer positioned under the basket and the majority of them have developed a solid jump shot and a lot of them are shooting 3s at a rate never seen before in the NBA. Some would even argue the center position is slowly dying out and the way basketball is played these days there are even some who believe we are living in an era of positionless basketball.
During an interview for Complex, Shaquille O’Neal who is regarded as one of the most dominant players of all time was asked whether he would adopt a three-point shot into his arsenal and Shaq said that wouldn’t make sense for him even though everybody else is doing it. O’Neal is aware of the power he posses under the basket where he is pretty much unguardable.
“No, I wouldn’t need too because it wouldn’t make sense. I’m not going to do what everybody else does, everybody else is going to have to try and stop me. If I’m playing against a big guy and you shooting 3s, that just telling me you are scared of me, you don’t want that funk down low. “
O’Neal also said the league is filled with bad centers who are overpaid while at the same time not putting up big numbers that would justify their contracts.
“You got a lot of bump centers stealing all this money today averaging 2 points per game and I wouldn’t be that type of guy.”