"Draymond Green is one of the NBA's best centers."
That's not crazy talk. Far from it in a shrinking NBA captivated with small ball, pace and three point shooting. Draymond Green is listed at 6' 7" and 230 pounds. That's 120 pounds less than Vipers center Joshua Smith and 130 pounds less than Raptors 905 center Sim Bhullar.
Vipers big man Joshua Smith is 6' 10" and 350 pounds.
The two D-League big men faced off in the second and third quarters of a Saturday night D-League showcase game in Santa Cruz. And. It. Was. Awesome.
710 pounds of human being under the basket awesome.
Neither giant knew exactly what do about the other.
At 6' 10" and 350 pounds Smith isn't accustomed to facing forces of nature larger than himself, "He's like 7' 5". Really the moment was I remember he caught the ball in the block and I tried to go and swipe it and I was just like, uh. I tried. I tried my best. That's one big dude."
See Smith's futile swipe attempt here.
Bhullar gained international fame last season as the first player of Indian heritage to play in the NBA. Smith was *only* giving up 5 inches to Bhullar, who is listed at 7' 3" and 360 pounds. Not the 7' 5" Smith felt like he was guarding.
Watching the two bigs grind wasn't a ballet of footwork, it was a jostling of tectonic plates. The two matched up for only a few minutes in the second and third quarters. For the most part each player was startled by the other.
Smith was too short to deny Bhullar the ball and laid a quick foul on the Raptor as soon as he caught the ball low in the block before any semblance of a shooting motion began. On the other end, Bhullar was too slow for the hulking Smith and put a foul on the Viper as soon as he began a spin move in the post, resulting in free throws.
Watch the two battle in the second quarter:
Smith won the night on Saturday. He scored 19 points on 6 of 6 shooting in just 21 minutes and looked capable of being a part-time NBA contributor.
As the NBA continues the trend of small ball it's not often games will feature battles between giants. In the current NBA, men the size of Smith and Bhullar have become specialists. Watching the two face off gave the distinct impression neither is accustomed to guarding someone of their own size or physique. Centers of this size just aren't forced to battle down low with someone of their own weight.
Either player would be in a league of their own in the NBA. Nikola Pekovic of the Orlando Magic is the only rostered player listed above 300 pounds (307 to be exact).
When asked if he saw the .gif of Tyler Hansborough reacting with surprise to the appearance of Spurs center Boban Marjanovic (7' 3", 290 pounds) Smith responded, "Yea. That's a big dude."