A brief, fun, history lesson on the cusp of the draft and free agency: The biggest fish in the 2013 free agent pond was Dwight Howard. He’d just flamed out with the Lakers – many blamed Kobe – but still averaged 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game, and he was the premiere center in the NBA. Howard was 27.
The Houston Rockets moved mountains to make a run at Howard, but the Dallas Mavericks also wanted him badly, the Atlanta Hawks were in the mix, and the Golden State Warriors wanted him, too. Teams were clearing cap room to be able to afford him.
Howard picked the Rockets. The Warriors instantly signed Andre Iguodala. Four years later … Howard left Houston for Atlanta, and just got traded to Charlotte. Iguodala went to three straight NBA Finals, and was the Finals MVP in 2015.
In 2013, the NBA was already heavy on the one-in, 4-out brand of basketball, with the “Stretch 4” replacing the lumbering power forward.
But Iguodala – along with Steve Kerr’s move to Draymond Green at center; David Lee’s injury helped usher that into play – changed the calculus from one center to the Death Lineup. There is no need for a traditional center to play heavy minutes anymore at the highest levels in the NBA.
In the NBA Finals, even Tristan Thompson was rendered unplayable because of what the Warriors do.
Just something to keep in mind when it comes to the draft and free agency. You can’t have enough versatile, 2-way wings.