Who is the greatest back-up center in
You got it.
In 80 games, Walton tallied 7.6 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game, 2.1 dimes, and 1.3 blocks in 19 minutes during the 1985-86 season. Those numbers are fairly modest. Does anyone remember Walton’s season as being modest? Ah, no. He was a freakin’ monster, especially against Kareem (Walton hit five of six floor shots and finished with 11 points, 8 rebounds, 7 blocks and four standing ovations in 16 minutes). A few fans may also recall how his amazing bucket in the waning seconds of game 4 gave the C’s a stranglehold in the 1986 Finals (despite playing crappy in the first half).
So season averages can be misleading.
Heck, the Celtics’ starting center averaged a mere 6.9, 6.1, 1.5, and 1.1 in 24 MPGs during the 2007-08 championship season. Has any fan committed those numbers to heart? Or do they remember the moments where Kendrick Perkins shut down Andrew Bynum twice during the regular season, grabbed 20 rebounds against the Pistons in the playoffs, and sneered scowls of intimidation across the NBA, giving Kevin Garnett and the Celtics some much needed toughness to accompany their newly found swagger?
Being an effective and successful NBA center may not require the 20-10 combination many think it does. It doesn’t even require 10 and 10. Eight, six, and two will do just fine (and two more if you can pass), thank you, so long as when your number is called to man-up against a legit opposing big, you answer the bell.
I have no doubt Doc and KG will steer Darko in this direction. As you can see from the above image, Darko’s hit these numbers on more than one occasion during his NBA career. Whether Darko reaches this destination is a different question.