Basketball lately has skewed heavily towards smaller players since Golden State started winning big behind Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Ultimately though it’s a big man’s game and when Victor Wembanyama arrives, things may skew back to big men again.
Still, he’s not exactly a traditional big man and the ideal of what used to be called a center keeps changing. In the 1960’s and 70’s, most of the quality big men were traditional centers.
In the 80’s and ‘90’s, it changed a lot. Ralph Sampson, at 7-4, mused about playing guard. But no one changed the position in quite the way that Hakeem Olajuwon did.
Olajuwon was unbelievable. He was the quickest big man then and probably still is. He moved like a big cat and other centers simply couldn’t keep up.
In this clip from the 1994 Finals, Patrick Ewing at times matches Olajuwon, but as great as he was, he can’t stop Olajuwon - and Olawjuon defends him very well.