Size Matters

Rose or Beasley in the draft? Chad Ford says the odds are now leaning toward Rose:

In the last 20 years, only one player shorter than 6–6 — Allen Iverson — has ever gone No. 1. When in doubt, NBA GMs almost always opt for a big man. However, as we watch point guards such as Paul, Williams and Tony Parker dominate in the playoffs, the thinking is beginning to change. It’s no longer considered a given that a big man is the key to winning in the NBA.

Tony Parker is a very good player, but realistically he’s the third-best guy on that team. Certainly anyone who’s looking at the San Antonio Spurs, 1999–2008 and thinking to himself “maybe a big man isn’t the key to winning in the NBA after all” really ought to pay more attention to that Tim Duncan guy. Similarly, Deron Williams is a young player that any team (except the Hornets) would be thrilled to have, but the one-two punch of Okur and Boozer is nothing to sneeze at in terms of big men.

Paul makes the point better, this season at least he’s having a genuinely dominant season in the way that normally only big men have — the talent distribution curve for backcourt players is generally much flatter and it’s rare to have someone stand out from the pack the way Paul has. But it seems to me that it would be pretty crazy to toss out decades worth of information indicating that the odds favor going with the big guy purely because Paul had a fantastic season this year. Weird things happen in life, which is what makes it interesting, but to just expect that every talented college point guard is now going to put on Paul-caliber performances is crazy.