There will always be questions like “best rebounder in NBA history”, or “best scorer in NBA history”, or “best player” and so on. But who had the best post moves in NBA history?
This question was asked on Quora, and former NBA player, John Amaechi, who played against some of the best centers in NBA history, presented his answer.
He quickly took out one of the best centers in NBA history.
“It’s definitely not Kareem,” Amaechi said. “He is one of the greatest ever NBA players and indisputably had the most dominant post move in NBA history – the sky hook that is rightly considered the single most devastating NBA post move. Virtually unstoppable and highly effective from nearly everywhere as Kareem’s career went on, but as good as it was, one ridiculously effective move doesn’t qualify a player as having the best post moves in NBA history.”
He also went on to say it wasn’t Shaquille O’Neal.
“He’s a good man and one of the strongest, though not nearly the strongest player to face,” Amaechi said. “While he developed some moves around the basket, he wasn’t a post move-based big. He clearly doesn’t have the best post moves in NBA history.”
The next was Tim Duncan, the big fundamental. But he didn’t really qualify as well.
“I consider Tim Duncan the best all-around center I ever played against,” Amaechi said. “I also played uncannily well against him, which serves my ego well. His ability to use absurdly simple and effective means to score seemingly without effort–to this day–marks him as extraordinary in the post in my books. His trademark is not prolonging any move beyond the lowest level of difficulty or “frills” to score. By definition he uses a more limited number of moves than a series of other effective post players, so I don’t think it’s him.”
Amaechi said the best post moves in NBA history belong to two NBA greats, both Hall of Famers. Kevin McHale and Hakeem Olajuwon.
“I have a soft spot for physically undertalented players who use skill to overwhelm opponents. As such, it’s easy for me to point to Kevin McHale over Hakeem,” Amaechi said.
“For McHale, as his career developed, he had the largest assortment of regularly employed, distinct post moves, as well as some regularly employed old favorites,” he said.
“But it should also be noted that what made him so effective before they were used was his ability to gain perfect position that often meant – especially earlier in his career – that the move was not even necessary; he’d just take the layup. As McHale’s body failed him, his moves and cleverness in the post became even more pivotal to his longevity, and that’s why he continued to evolve them, and a long-range shot,” Amaechi explained.
Amaechi said McHale was a joy to watch because without his entire arsenal of post moves, his career would’ve been considerably shorter.
Amaechi said while compared to McHale, Hakeem’s post moves seem almost gratuitous at times.
“He didn’t need them to be an all-star, but the smoothness, integration, and personally identifiable style of his array of post moves was unique in the game,” Amaechi said. “Often imitated, sometimes attempted to be learned, but I haven’t seen anyone really “get” what he did.”
Amaechi wrote that Kevin McHale had an amazing array moves but probably not as many combinations as fans misremember.
“Conversely, many may think Olajuwon was just about the “dream shake,” but take a look at how many combinations with additional spins, step throughs, “up and under,” and fakes he used – few moves were identical,” he said.
Amaechi further said that guarding both Olajuwon and McHale was like being put in a torture chamber.
“I know from personal experience with Olajuwon and from copious stories told to me by John Salley about McHale,” Amaechi said.
Amaechi also had a “honorable mention” in former Detroit Pistons star, Adrian Dantley.
“This man was a beast. He was nowhere near the height he’s listed at in the programs, yet he employed a variety of moves, along with an uncanny ability to get and maintain optimal post position to decimate much larger, more athletic big men. He was relentless,” Amaechi said.
Amaechi himself spent 5 years in the NBA, playing for Cleveland, Orlando and Utah. During his best season, with Orlando Magic (99-00), he averaged 10.5 ppg and 3.3 rpg per game, playing 80 games (53 started), in 21.1 minutes per game.
Amaechi played a total of 294 NBA games (93 started), averaging 6.2 ppg and 2.6 rpg in 16.4 minutes per game. After retiring from the sport, Amaechi became the first ex NBA star to come out publicly as gay.
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