Should Kevin Durant play the center position in the playoffs?

The Phoenix Suns are going to need Kevin Durant at his best in the playoffs to have any chance of winning, but should that include playing the center position?
Phoenix Suns v Milwaukee Bucks
Phoenix Suns v Milwaukee Bucks / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

The postseason is closing in as the Phoenix Suns are wrapping up their tough schedule for the 2023-24 season. The Suns only have four games left, and they aren't the easiest bunch, as they play against some of the top teams in the Western Conference. They'll face the L.A. Clippers on a back-to-back, which could determine their final spot in the West standings.

They're coming off a 113-105 loss against the New Orleans Pelicans, which puts them in a predicament. Although they're still in the sixth spot in the standings, they're tied with the Pels. Like the Suns, New Orleans has four games left in the season. But they have a better schedule compared to the Arizona team.

In their loss against the Pels, head coach Frank Vogel showed the fans a nine-man rotation that the coaching staff might use in the postseason. This comprises their "Big 3" (Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Kevin Durant), Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Eric Gordon, Royce O'Neale, Drew Eubanks and Bol Bol.

This rotation could be tweaked in certain situations, which is why it opens up a new option for the team in the center spot. Durant's height can be maximized in the playoffs if the Suns consider playing him in the center position.

The playoffs are where teams take things seriously, especially on the defensive end. Which is why the thought of Durant playing the center position isn't the best. Teams ramp up their physicality and having a 6-foot-11, lanky forward as the man in the middle will be a significant disadvantage for the Suns.

However, there are a few positives as to why putting KD in the middle would be a logical move.

The biggest advantage that stands out in this idea is the matchup advantage it gives the team. With KD being matched up against the opposing team's center, it eliminates the opposing team's rim protector. For example, if they get matched up against the Oklahoma City Thunder, putting the former Thunder star at center automatically means rookie Chet Holmgren will have to guard him.

At 7-foot-1, Holmgren is a threat on the defensive end making it difficult for opposing teams to attack the paint. Taking a player of his caliber out of the defensive equation opens up the floor. More spacing, more opportunities for the Suns to execute quick buckets via cutting into the paint. And if the Thunder opt to play a zone defense, it will leave someone on the floor open.

This is the same case if the Suns get to play against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The team could bring defensive center Rudy Gobert to the paint and expose his perimeter defense, something that has been done by the Clippers before.

Defensively, it's not ideal to put the 2014 MVP in the center position as it'll expose their interior presence. Big men like Nikola Jokic and Karl-Anthony Towns might target him on that end of the floor.

Final thoughts:

Putting Durant in the center position might not have all Suns fans in agreement, but it's still something the coaching staff should carefully consider.

Next. 3 tweaks the Suns will make for the playoffs. 3 tweaks the Suns will make for the playoffs. dark

Although the team already has an advantage by having a Big 3, they'll need another advantage for the postseason. Phoenix can try using this strategy for a short period and if it's effective, can gradually rely on it more.

Trying this tactic could work out well for them if they start as soon as their next regular season game. This will prepare them better for the 2024 NBA Playoffs.