The changes in the illegal defense rules in the early 2000s and the subsequent emphasis on the three-pointer has decreased the value of post plays drastically.
The hustle to fight for position in the low post is undoubtedly on the verge of extinction. It has certainly been overtaken by the plays that happen in the open space.
Also, many organizations bet big money on the multi-faceted talents of the big men that are rising these days, and so to keep the ball out of the post would be to deprive these franchise cornerstones of one of their biggest advantages.
“There are not many guys left who can post up anymore,” chimed in the great Jason Kidd once. “We are losing an integral part of our sport.”
The post-up, while minimized, is still an efficacious weapon to have. The value of high-percentage shots at the rim can't be ignored even though the math supporting long-range threes makes sense. One of the advantages being that using the post player as the entry passer opens up numerous potential attacking options as the passer is close to the basket.
Despite the way the game has changed, the following players still manage to make these old-school moves work in the modern game. Let's take a look at the top ten post players (in terms of post points per game) from the 2017-18 season.
#10 DeMarcus Cousins - 3.9 Points per game
Within the 48 games he played with the Pelicans last season before going down with a torn left Achilles injury, Boogie had averaged 25.2 points and 12.4 rebounds per game.
Primarily, DeMarcus Cousins is an isolation post player who can stretch the floor with 3-point shooting.
Although he used the post for just 16.6% of his offense last season, he still got 4.4 post possessions per game and scored 3.9 points per game using his low-post moves. Sporting an impressive 0.88 point per possession(in the post), Cousins was a dominant force with his back to the basket.
Statistically, his presence in the paint fades away when he is on the defensive end of the scheme, as Cousins is in the 77th percentile when guarding isolation plays, and in the 83rd percentile when defending post-ups.
It will be interesting to see how his maneuvers in the block will gel in with the Warriors' rapid-transition style of playmaking.