Small-ball lineups have dominated the last several years in the league, and even the Portland Trail Blazers had Al-Farouq Aminu at the four, alongside a more traditional big man in Jusuf Nurkic. Jared Dubin of FiveThirtyEight digs into why the small-ball era may be coming to an end, marking the return of more traditional big men in the frontcourt. He notes that the Blazers were among teams that let small-ball specialists walk.
The Portland Trail Blazers let small-ball power forward Al-Farouq Aminu leave in free agency and traded combo forward Moe Harkless, at the same time adding former Heat center Hassan Whiteside to last season’s primary starter Jusuf Nurkić,3 and they seemingly plan to start former backup center Zach Collins at power forward.
Dubin suggests that this marks a return to having two big men on the court at the same time in the four and five slots. He remarks that the 76ers are doing the same thing by signing Al Horford to play at power forward alongside Joel Embiid. Dubin puts together a comprehensive list of teams moving away from smaller lineups to prove his point: the league is ready to return to bigs.
You can read more of Dubin’s piece here.