The internet has come a long way, in a short time period. Where were we before GIFs, the ability to breakdown plays on avenues like YouTube, and more? We can get a little too wrapped up in minor details, but all in all, I love how the basketball writers breakdown the NBA game and the great players who are on the floor.
Today Grantland's Zach Lowe came out with this piece: The Rebirth of Big Men: A Breakdown of Old-School Bulk and New-Era Skill. In it, Lowe focus on the Utah Jazz's Rudy Gobert, the Phoenix Suns' Alex Len, the Nuggets' Jusuf Nurkic, and the Oklahoma City's Steven Adams.
Gobert is talked about often in Nuggets related conversations, as he was selected by the Nuggets for the Utah Jazz as the 27th pick of the 2013 draft. The Nuggets never had any intention of drafting Gobert as their own, and many - including our own Andrew Feinstein - have been critical of the Nuggets not just keeping Rudy. Lowe shows us the good and bad of Gobert, and of the other bigs.
I've enjoyed watching Alex Len play this season for the Suns. I was high on him as a center prospect, and thought he could have gone first overall in 2013, instead of fifth. He has battled through some injuries, and is finally showing the promise he had coming out of Maryland.
On Nurkic, Lowe points out the flaws and the bright spots for the Nuggets promising big man.
A passage that a lot of Nuggets fans have taken note of:
Nurkic is a dreadful 25-of-67 on post-ups, but he'll do better once he adjusts to the speed of the NBA. Nurkic can establish deep position, but once he catches the ball, he's in a frantic rush to get rid of it. He flings up semi-blind hooks as if he's under some kind of time constraint.
And some of the good too:
Even at this infant stage, you can see Nurkic's natural footwork and touch. Too many bigs roll straight to the hoop at full speed, assuming their point guards can find a clean passing angle right away. Nurkic has a little of that Tim Duncan-style tap dancing in his game. He'll set a screen, roll hard for a couple of steps, and then slow down into tiptoeing baby steps if he sees that his point guard needs time to create a passing window.
I don't want to spoil the entire read, so click on the link above and go check out Lowe's piece. It's definitely worth your time.