Scoring from beyond the arc is glamorous.
Itâ€™s a shot that requires incredible accuracy. The prolonged moment of anticipation as the ball floats toward the basket creates a collective breath among spectators.
There is also the appeal of earning three whole points for only one shot â€” something made possible only after 1979.
Three-pointers are glamorous, but three-pointers donâ€™t win championships.
Rebounding wins championships.
Defense wins championships.
Free throws win championships.
And the little things that donâ€™t show up on the stats sheet â€” those things win championships.
The thrill-factor that comes with scoring â€” and, largely, the guard position â€” can be blamed for the near extinction of a staple of basketball from an older time: the center.
Itâ€™s not simply the specific position thatâ€™s disappearing either. The overall concept of post skills has been drastically devalued due to the overshadowing of behind-the-arc shoot-outs and the glorification of the point guard.
Think about traditional centers still relevant in todayâ€™s NBA. Tim Duncan is still a solid asset for the Spurs, but the old man is on his way out. Dwight Howardâ€™s contributions are undeniable, but heâ€™s no longer the icon he was with the Orlando Magic.
But the value placed on these players isnâ€™t the same as in the days of Wilt Chamberlain, or even later when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar represented a league of unstoppable big men.
Now, younger NBA players who don the â€œCâ€ beside their names on rosters, like DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, grew up in a basketball climate where guard skills dominated.
Watch any of Cousinsâ€™ highlight reels â€” he often receives the ball far from the key, and utilizes ball-handling skills from a lifetime of training in guard-dominated environments to find his way to the basket.
The center is no longer the center from my fatherâ€™s childhood, and I think it comes down to one overriding factor: a need for consumer validation.
The people tuning in and buying tickets donâ€™t get to outright witness the effects of having a talented center on the floor. Something a big man provides is the in-and-out game â€” the ability for guards to take open shots due to the need for defensive pressure on the blocks â€” and the impact that has on a teamâ€™s overall offensive capabilities is huge.
But it isnâ€™t on the stat sheet, and itâ€™s not on Sports Center. Aside from the occasional earth-shattering dunk or brutal block, the contributions of a post player are often intangible. Even an impressive game of rebounding is overshadowed by an impressive game of scoring.
The media wants Stephen Curry, not Marc Gasol. As a result, the game has changed in nature, starting with the young players who consume that media. Itâ€™s a cycle thatâ€™s made the five-spot on the floor almost obsolete.
Iâ€™ll appreciate a good face-up on the block or hook shot until my dying day, but the same doesnâ€™t go for much of todayâ€™s basketball-consuming culture.
Just because the contributions of the traditional post player arenâ€™t always flashy or even visible doesnâ€™t mean they arenâ€™t there. Iâ€™d like to see a renewed appreciation for the art of the center position on all levels.
Lyndsie Kiebert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @lyndsie_kiebert