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Around The Rim
Ian Thomsen
April 23, 2001
For the first time since 1947-48 only one center will finish among the NBA's top 20 scorers. Shaquille O'Neal was third with 28.7 points per game at week's end. The next-most-productive center was Brian Grant, the Heat's converted power forward, whose average of 15.4 points ranked 49th....
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April 23, 2001

Around The Rim

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For the first time since 1947-48 only one center will finish among the NBA's top 20 scorers. Shaquille O'Neal was third with 28.7 points per game at week's end. The next-most-productive center was Brian Grant, the Heat's converted power forward, whose average of 15.4 points ranked 49th....

The fact that tall players are no longer being developed as traditional post-up centers a la Shaq, but as Kevin Garnett-type forwards who can handle the ball and have far more shooting range, contributed to the decision last week to abolish the illegal-defense rules and allow zones next season. The rampant use of isolation plays, which rely heavily on post-ups and cut down on ball movement, was not allowing these big men to show their talents....

Many coaches, including Pat Riley and Rudy Tomjanovich, predict that permitting zones will be a disaster, but the committee that put together the package of rules changes expects few teams to use a zone for most of the game. "You don't see Duke and the other top teams in college playing a lot of zone," says one committee member....

Grizzlies president Dick Versace believes the new rules will halt the trend of recently retired players quickly becoming head coaches. "With the rules now, you can put in guys who don't know how to coach at all, and some of them have been pretty successful," says Versace, "but I don't think hiring those guys will work if they have to know how to attack a variety of defenses."

...The Hawks' Theo Ratliff and the Warriors' Marc Jackson might have welcomed another 50-game lockout season. Ratliff was certain to be named Defensive Player of the Year until he was sidelined with a broken right wrist after 50 games. Jackson was the likely Rookie of the Year when a groin injury ended his season after 48 games.

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