Spurs’ Gregg Popovich says ‘big guys are like bored to death’ in modern NBA
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich didn’t hold back his thoughts about today’s big men, as the league continues to use small-ball lineups and become more guard-oriented.
Gregg Popovich is extremely well regarded around the NBA, not just for his coaching abilities but also for his hot takes and insights about the state of the league. And Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News picked up one of these tidbits when interviewing Pop on how the league uses big men today.
When asked what role big men play in today’s game, the future Hall-of-Famer did not sugarcoat his answer, saying:
“Big guys are like bored to death. They just sit on the bench and watch.”
While there are obviously exceptions to Pop’s quote, he is right for the most part.
Seven-footers were once the most sought-after players in the league, and more times than not, championship teams had at least one serviceable prototypical big man in their most dangerous lineups.
Now, the NBA has completely changed. The Golden State Warriors dominated the league with a “Death Lineup” consisting of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, and Harrison Barnes (who was soon replaced by Kevin Durant to make the lineup even more impossible to guard). The tallest player in the early lineup was Harrison Barnes, who usually plays small forward and stands at 6’8″.
Despite the lack of height, this team absolutely dominated opposing lineups, winning one championship with Barnes and two more after he was subbed for Durant.
Popovich is absolutely correct in his assessment of the league today, and it would not be shocking to see the heavy-footed and range-less bigs of the past be completely extinct within a few years.