The NBA bubble scrimmage games have started, and big changes are coming to the teams’ composition once the seeding stage begins.
Gone are the days when the traditional big-men dominated the draft lottery. Instead, the highlight of the NBA’s future is a composition of hybrid players that can virtually play all positions on the floor. Some apex examples of this type of player include Lebron, Giannis, and Ben Simmons. Not only do they have the size to defend the paint, but they are also agile enough to be the floor general.
Guards and wing players are equally as crucial as these hybrid players. The late dynasty of the Golden State Warriors proved this concept as an effective strategy. They had Draymond Green, a hybrid player, play as the center and defend their opponents’ big man. Fortunately, their strategy paid dividends with three championships in four years.
The Houston Rockets are implementing the same small-ball strategy. On the flip side, the 76ers are going big in their line up. The discussion between these two concepts has been hard-fought. Be that as it may, only an NBA Finals championship can prove which one is better.
Small-ball Rockets proof of concept
While the Western Conference teams stack up on agile big men, the Rockets threw a curveball by trading away Clint Capela. In his stead, Capela was replaced by Robert Covington and P.J. Tucker to play as a stretch-center. The concept threw the equilibrium in the West slightly off-balance as the Rockets went on a 10-2 run with that setup.
Despite being the smallest lineup in the league, the Rockets were still able to withstand onslaughts of opposing big men. Russell Westbrook unleashed a full dominating style of play by attacking a freely open lane going straight to the bodies of opposing centers.
Ultimately, the experiment by the Rockets will only matter if they win this year’s championship. Harden and Westbrook both have almost reached the pinnacle of their NBA careers. Unfortunately, they didn’t have enough in their tanks to win it all.
Sixers maintaining a big line up
While the Rockets go small, the 76ers may continue using their big line up in the NBA bubble. Embiid will be the center, and he will be flanked by Richardson, Harris, Simmons, and Horford. This lineup looks wonderful on paper.
However, the big lineup tends to become stale because of a slow player floor rotation. They do have the option of shaking their line up with having Horford coming off the bench.
The Sixers have a stifling lineup of solid defenders and shooters. If they do implement a switch in their lineup and figure out what works for them. They could be a dark horse contender for the NBA Finals championship.
Image from Houston Rockets/ YouTube thumbnail