The NBA ten years ago was a completely different animal: it was a league dominated by back-to-the-basket bigs and limited motion offenses. Players like Blake Griffin became iconic on account of their ability to run up and done the court like super-humans. With this revelation came an eventual progression toward the three point shot. At the end of the day, three is better than two.
The modern day four is often a lanky three who is too slow to keep up with other small forwards. While this isn’t the case for all players, fours have become more mobile and active when running the length of the floor. As previously mentioned, Blake Griffin was revolutionary in what constituted a power forward, however, even his breed is dying. Griffin skillset is not effective enough to play his listed position. A major part of his offense comes from within three feet of the basket, a reality which worsens the tempo of the game. The once All-Star and MVP caliber player has been reduced to an awkward one on a team of misfits.
Players like Griffin should have followed suit with the trend of the small-ball five. Griffin, even now after his past of injuries, could make a glorious transition to the center position. This obviously will never occur today because he shares the floor with another talent by the name of Andre Drummond. The idea, however, still stands. Any player with some offensive skillset and appropriate weight can play the five. Heck, the Lakers already announced that they will play Lebron there as early as this season.
If the Clippers let Deandre Jordan walk to the Mavericks in 2015, they could have easily transitioned Griffin to the five where he would have dominated because of his athleticism and passable jumpshot.
The league has been evolving so fast that the idea of positions will eventually become obsolete as a whole. Most teams play two small forwards instead of having a preset power forward. An example that comes to mind is the Boston Celtics: the team of a million small forwards. Their starting lineup consists of three forwards, all of which were drafted as threes.
The age of 6’8-7’0/ 250 lb athletes playing power forward is essentially over; they are playing center instead. As offenses get quicker, it will be no surprise when a team decides to throwout a lineup completely consisting of lanky tall guards: Giannis Antetokoumpo.