High percentage shooting, three point shooting and big men playing the NBA game like a guard is the current wave of the NBA.
The Golden State Warriors’ style of basketball has permeated the league for some time. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are league leaders in shooting percentage and Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins are successful as hybrid players as well.
“It’s crazy, because there’s so many great shooters,” NBA Hall of Famer Ray Allen told me on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“I will say that as I left, shooting did drop, it seemed like it fell off a little bit. It was like, 3 or 4 good shooters in the league, but now you see there’s a huge growth where a lot of teams have multiples and we’re talking about the BIG teams. You cant shoot on this team if you can’t shoot threes. So what’s interesting is that now there’s a gap in the middle and what’s gonna happen is, one of these kids in high school who’s gonna get really big and have really smooth moves is gonna be making baskets and making baskets that’s gonna dominate the game and flip it back over, he’ll dominate it for years. And then the game is going to have to adjust.”
One person easily comes to mind in that description is Phoenix Suns big man, DeAndre Ayton.
Ayton, a 7-footer is averaging 16.4 points and 10.4 rebounds for the Suns. Some have compared the big man to Hakeem Olajuwon. Others have said David Robinson or Anthony Davis. Shaquille O’Neal has been another name that has floated around.
“I keep hearing that this Ayton guy can be the next Shaq,” O’Neal said in a past interview.
“My advice to Ayton is don’t be the next Shaq, be the first Ayton. I wish you well. I hope you break all my records.”
Million Dollar Question: Does DeAndre Ayton fit in that bevy of past or present big men that Ray Allen is referring to?
“Yes,” Allen tells Scoop B Radio.
“But when someone like Ayton dominates and teams have to play catch up, they’re gonna have to start reconfiguring how their team is. Right now, you’re trying to catch up with Golden State, so you’re keeping space on the floor. You can’t put a slow big on the floor and you gotta shoot threes, so there’s a hole.”
Ayton’s wingspan has been projected to be at 7’5″ ]while his vertical leap is slated to be at 43.5″.
Ayton said last summer that he and Devin Booker could be Shaq-Kobe 2.0.
That’s lofty and believable. Ayton’s confidence and presence in the post are both there.
“That’s the middle,” said Allen.
“I think it’s going to come back to that, just because I know there’s a kid out there who’s dad is telling him: ‘Son, get on the block, we’re gonna make you into a shooter, because there aren’t any shooters in the game that are playing that long. You know, you take a guy like [Clint] Capela, they just using a guy like him, the could be deadly.”