If you thought the small-ball era in modern basketball has signalled the demise of the traditional big man, think again.
The second day of the 2016-17 NBA season disproved any notion that true centers are a dying breed; rather, it showed how back-to-the-basket specialists have evolved through the years. Then limited to dominating the post, centers now have extended their range beyond the arc, hence the term stretch 5.
In light of this, FHM puts the spotlight on the transcendental pivots who yielded the most prodigious stat lines today. Fantasy managers had been drooling over the production of the following superstar bigs:
Honorable mentions: Karl Anthony Towns (21 pts, 4 rebs, 5 asts), Hassan Whiteside (18 pts, 14 rebs, 4 blks), Nikola Vucevic (17 pts, 14 rebs, 2 stls), Zach Randolph (19 pts, 11 rebs off the bench)
Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid
20 pts, 7 rebs, 2 blks in a loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder, 103-97
His most important stat of the night, though? Twenty-two minutes of playing time. After sitting out his first two years due to injury, just seeing Embiid out there gave the Philly faithful enough reason to trust #TheProcess. And boy did he debut in style.
Indiana Pacers' Myles Turner
30 pts (on 13/19 shooting), 16 rebs, 2 stls, 4 blks in an overtime win against the Dallas Mavericks, 130-121
Looks like the Pacers have found the perfect big man to complement franchise player Paul George. The sophomore displayed efficiency (game-high +25), versatility, and poise to lead his team to victory. Are we seeing the next Kobe-Shaq?
Toronto Raptors' Jonas Valanciunas
32 pts (on 10/15 shooting), 11 rebs in a win against the Detroit Pistons, 109-91
It seems that Jonas health issues are all behind him now, after largely outplaying Detroit's bruising centers Andre Drummond and Aron Baynes. And how does putting 7'4" Boban Marjanovic on a poster sound?
New Orleans Pelicans' Anthony Davis
50 pts (on 17/34 shooting), 16 rebs, 5 asts, 7 stls, 4 blks in loss (?!) to the Denver Nuggets, 107-102
Basically, The Brow accounted for essentially half of his team's final score but still wound up with the L. Those kind of numbers should easily catapult Davis into the MVP conversation, if not for the lack of supporting cast.
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