As we all know, we are in the midst of the Positional Revolution where guards are forwards and forwards are centers, but really no one is centers and everyone is just players without positions. You get it. It’s a new wave of basketball and it is changing the face of the NBA, while dogs and cats are living together, mass hysteria.

At the forefront of the Revolution are the Miami Heat, who are so committed to the cause that they don’t even talk about positions, maaaaaaan. From ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh:

Battier isn’t supposed to say the words “power forward.” Nor are any of the Heat players. Spoelstra has stricken the use of conventional position labels from the team’s vocabulary. What started as “pace and space” last season has now evolved into what Spoelstra calls “position-less basketball.”

But Spoelstra insists he’s not trying to start a revolution.

“We’re not trying to make a catchphrase or start something up in the league or be innovative with it,” Spoelstra said. “It was just something for our guys, our staff and including me to put our arms around the strength of our team.” [...]

It’s rubbing off on the players. After a preseason win over Detroit, Bosh was asked by a reporter whether he’s a “point center” now because he drove coast-to-coast for a bucket in the game.

“Nah,” Bosh responded. “Just player. Everybody will fill in the blanks when it’s all said and done.”

Considering the Miami Heat are the reigning NBA champions, I kind of think it would be smart if we all started using Heat-styled terminology when we’re talking about basketball. No more of this “Who’s the best point guard in the league?” or “Why aren’t there any true centers in the NBA?” talk. Now the questions we will ask each other will be more along the lines of “Who’s the best player in the league?” and “Why aren’t there any true players in the NBA?”. It might not make for good arguments but it will be more along the lines of where the NBA is trending.

And really, reading Haberstroh’s piece, you can kind of understand why this is actually a big deal. The Heat know they’re on to something, but even they realize that they have a very particular set of skills and that they’re lucky to actually be able to shuffle players in and out of various places on the floor. LeBron James, obviously, is the main cog in the anti-positions machine since he can do just about everything on a basketball court, but other teams also don’t have a big guy who can handle the ball, guards who kill in the post or shooters who are equally effective on the wings and in the corners. This is what the Positional Revolution visionaries imagined when they thought about players who did things instead of had clearly defined roles, but it’s almost a fluke that it’d actually work this well.

But who knows? Maybe in a few years, we’ll see every team stocked with guys who can do everything their team needs. And maybe by then we’ll come up with whole new terms for describing what these guys are doing. I don’t know if “forwaurd” or “centward” are good ideas, but combining old terms worked for Presidents of the United States of America when they were naming their guitars, so I’d say it’s good enough for us.

Comments (12)

  1. As much as I’d love to see a positionless revolution in basketball, I’m sure this style will be unique to just the Heat and will end with LeBron’s career. It’s a style that depends heavily on a unique group of talent (like Nash with the S7OL Suns).

  2. Finally, me playing like a Power Backward will now make sense!

  3. LeBron James is definitely a fluke. One should not expect many other players to be as versatile as he is. Honestly, he is a once in a generation talent. The game will continue to be dominated by players playing in a defined role.

  4. LeBron James is definitely a fluke. One should not expect many other players to be as versatile as he is. Honestly, he is a once in a generation talent. The game will continue to be dominated by players playing in a defined role.

  5. “It’s true your Honor, this man has no position.”

  6. This whole positionless concept got me thinking, how would you rate LeBron James against the NBA as …

    1)A point guard (top 15?)
    2)A shooting guard(top 5 despite his jumper?)
    3)Small forward ( #1 I’d say)
    4)Power Forward(top 5?)
    5)Center( harder to qualify and too small a sample size I imagine)

  7. This Isn’t ground breaking news. this is actually a big movement in FIBA as well as a big push by Canada Basketball, especially in youth programs. several post-secondary coaches are pushing this trend. Spolestra may not have given credit to where the idea actually came from, or the media may not have reported it to make him look like some sort of “innovator” in teaching basketball.

  8. the dutch did something similar with football and coined the phrase: total football.

    this sounds like ‘total basketball’ to me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *