With Derrick Rose earning MVP honors this year, the NBA has officially become a little man’s league. From Chris Paul to Deron Williams to Rajon Rondo all the way up to John Wall, teams covet the young and fast point guard more than any other position in basketball right now.
Maybe they shouldn’t.
See, the thing is, you still need size to win the ring. The Lakers won back-to-back titles with a trio of 7-footers patrolling the paint. The Celtics won the year before that with KG and Kendrick Perkins guarding the basket. Before the Big Three, Tim Duncan was hoisting championship trophies. And so on and so forth.
This all brings me to Carlos Boozer and Pau Gasol. The two big men on each conference’s top seed have been missing in action so far in these playoffs. Both guys are posting numbers well below their career averages and both of those poor performances have led to their team’s struggles.
Boozer is battling turf toe. After averaging 17 points per game and shooting over 50 percent from the field during the regular season, those same numbers are down to 10 PPG and 38 percent in the post-season. Without Boozer in the post, life on offense has gotten much more difficult for Rose and Luol Deng on the perimeter. Until Boozer returns to form, they could have trouble keeping up with the talented and athletic Atlanta Hawks.
Then there’s Gasol. Kobe Bryant is still the focal point on offense for the Lakers, but without Gasol playing with confidence, the triangle breaks down. Gasol is averaging one fewer rebound per game and five fewer points per game than the regular season. Without his contributions, the offense has lost its flow and now the Lakers are down 0-2 and heading to Dallas with their season on the brink.
So the top two seeds left are now in danger of going home way earlier than expected. My question for you guys: which big man do you think has a better chance of bouncing back and helping his team come back to win their Conference Semifinal series? Let me know in the comments!