Basketball U on Big Men
Posted Oct 8 2003 3:30PM
A team's centre and power forward are considered the "big men" on the team. Together with the small forward, they comprise a team's frontcourt players.
Types of big men:
A post-up player positions himself below the free throw line for a pass with his back to the basket and a defender behind him. Posting up is common among big men in the NBA, as they can use their size and strength to gain position in the low blocks. Most players use the post-up position as a reliable way of gaining space and good offensive position to shoot, pass or rebound the ball. Points in the paint are considered high percentage shots (shots that are likely to go in).
Post-up players do their offensive work in the key or paint (the painted area beneath the foul line). Perimeter players passing to the post use ball fakes on their defender to pass the ball to the low post player. This is called "opening the window" because the up and down movements with the ball are similar to the up and down movements of opening a window. If the ball is double-teamed, the post player passes the ball back to a perimeter player. Establishing an inside game and scoring some easy baskets on layups and offensive rebounds, thus drawing the defence, results in open looks for unguarded shooters on the perimeter.
"20 and 10" Players
Frontcourt players, such as the Lakers' Karl Malone, are able to play at a higher level at an older age than perimeter players because they rely on size and fundamental skills rather than athletic ability and quickness. Malone is a career 20 and 10 player.
Concerns of big men:
The NBA has twice widened the lane: first for George Mikan and later, for Wilt Chamberlain. Mikan began playing with a six-foot lane, but it was changed to 12 feet across. Chamberlain began playing with a 12-foot lane, and it was changed to 16 feet across. Both Mikan and Chamberlain were championship centres for the Lakers, much like their successor, Shaquille O'Neal.
Coaches and teammates may accuse a player of passing or shooting too much, but no player can ever rebound too much. Offensively, it gives a team more chances to score, while defensively it ends the play for the offensive team. Smart rebounders will position themselves on the weak side, because missed shots usually bounce there. Weak side rebounders often get key offensive rebounds, giving the offensive team another chance to score.