You hear it so often you just assume it must be true: Point guard is the toughest position to learn in the NBA. Well, it certainly is the most cerebral position, with the most information to absorb and the most responsibility for setting the pace and tone of an offense.
But toughest? In terms of difficulty of accomplishment, apparently not. Otherwise, we wouldn't be enjoying a golden age of precocious point guards, playmakers who quickly announced their ownership and command of the position, from
Compare that with the fact that only two centers were drafted in the first round this year -- Memphis'
The phrase "you can't teach height" cuts both ways. Now that college kids come out early, rookie NBA centers are often still growing into their bodies at precisely the time when an opponent's speed and size are erasing the physical advantage they have always enjoyed. For whatever reason, while productive rookie big men such as Atlanta's
Becoming a quality NBA center is often a long, arduous process for player and team alike. With that in mind, let's check the progress of some of the more noteworthy young big men this preseason.
• Former No. 1 pick
• Second-year Wizards center
• New Jersey's
• If any center is going to win Rookie of the Year (and it's a long shot), it will be San Antonio's
• Meanwhile, Randolph's teammate
• He hasn't played a meaningful NBA game yet, but the
• Anyone who watched
• Detroit's defense has been so porous in exhibition games that new coach
• New Timberwolves coach
• When discussing how the Bulls will replace departed free agent
• Is there such a thing as too much depth? We may find out this year in Portland. The Trail Blazers have to worry about their shiny new free agent, point guard
• The Wizards' depth issues are a little less severe -- especially if the injuries that have ravaged them the past few years continue. But the potential for chafing in Washington's locker room is greater, as, unlike Portland, there is no coherent history of roles and minutes among the personnel, and a new coach,