Originally written on Pass The Pill  |  Last updated 11/18/14
The NBA in recent years had has a drought of dominant big men leading their teams to NBA titles. Gone are the days when giants like Shaq ran the court, as the game has recently relied more on fast-paced finesse scoring rather than physical post games and hard nosed defense. Whether it truly has been just a lack of talent or the center position becoming less vital, the elite players at the 5 are few and far between. That may change soon, however, as there are a number of interesting young options set to make their mark on the NBA as early as this season.     Photo credit: SB Nation 5. Andrew Bynum, Cleveland Cavaliers The most proven center on this list is also at the bottom, but for good reason. He may very well be the best center this side of Dwight Howard when healthy, but health has been a major question throughout his career. Weak knees aren’t the only thing plaguing this young center, however, as he has had a string of questions about his maturity and character. Still, the past two season he has been on the court he has averaged around 15 points and 8 rebounds a game, and has been dominant in just about every facet you could ask for. Cleveland took a chance on him with a two year prove-it deal this offseason, and if he does indeed prove it he may be the reason the Cavaliers return to the playoffs this season.   Photo credit: Black Sports Online   4. Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers When the Pacers signed Roy Hibbert to a max contract worth $58 million in 2012, the NBA collectively laughed at what seemed like a ludicrous deal. Well, no ones laughing now. After a slow start offensively that could have been due to a wrist injury, Hibbert took his game to a whole new level after the All-Star break, and it carried over into the playoffs. He averaged over 17 points and 9.9 rebounds in the 19 postseason games, including a masterful Conference Finals series in which the Pacers nearly knocked off the defending champs due in no small part to Hibbert’s average of 22 points and 10 rebounds a game. People still have a right to be skeptical after his slow start to the season, but I for one am a believer in Hibbert, as is Carmelo Anthony and everyone else who was on the receiving end of one of his vicious two blocks per game in the playoffs.   Photo credit: thestar.com 3.  Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors Jonas Valanciunas is well on his way to becoming a household name. After a solid rookie season, he set the Summer League on fire and was named the Las Vegas Summer League MVP. Usually that doesn’t mean a whole lot, but he got people talking and now Valanciunas legend is growing. He has a rare finesse to his game that NBA centers usually lack, and can surprisingly hold his own with the likes of Joakim Noah and Roy Hibbert despite his slim frame. He is also a capable defender with a lot of room for growth, and has all the makings of a franchise center. Remember the name Jonas Valanciunas ladies and gentlemen, because he is going places. To the playoffs, the All-Star game, the Olympics, on the cover of Sports Illustrated, the skies the limit.   Photo credit: Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues 2. Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons Talented is an understatement for a man such as Andre Drummond. His potential alone netted him 13 points and rebounds per 36 minutes in his rookie season with an astounding .608% field goal percentage. His game was so raw and unpolished, yet he handled the best the NBA had to offer and came away with a very solid rookie season. Now he seems to have added a bunch of new elements to his game, as he was a man among boys during the NBA Summer League and showcased how improved he really is. Even if the pre-draft concerns about his work ethic prove to ring true, he can make an impact at the NBA with his current skill set. I doubt this is where Drummond peaks though, and I believe he will be in debates about the NBA’s best center for the next decade.   Photo credit: SI   1. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans I may receive some backlash for having a tweener like Davis at the top of this list, but hear me out: he is that damn good. Most tweeners are good players that lack all of the qualities to make them a full-time player at either position. Not Anthony Davis. He has all the good qualities of both positions and next to none of the bad ones. His massive 6’10 frame and elite shot blocking ability may scream center, but when he hits a 20-footer and makes over 70% of his free throws you’ll be left thinking you’re going up against the next great NBA power forward. He is a once-in-a-decade type player, and if he stays healthy you are looking at the next great NBA big man.   The post Who Is the NBA’s Next Elite Center? appeared first on Pass The Pill - Kings of Hoops.

Clint Trickett retires due to concussions, hid two

Drew Stanton likely out for the year, postseason included

Byron Scott: ‘Idiots’ think Lakers are better team without Kobe

Undrafted QB Connor Shaw to sign with Browns, likely start

Report: Alex Smith out week 17 with lacerated spleen

Belichick: Garoppolo has better understanding of NFL


Lionel Hollins: 'Honored and blessed to coach Kevin Garnett'

Curt Schilling gives Johnny Manziel advice on Twitter

The last time the Lions won in Green Bay

Carmelo Anthony: The Knicks are dying

Andre Johnson willing to take pay cut with Texans?

Mets star David Wright reaches out to sons of slain NYPD officer

WATCH: Craig Sager is touched by outpouring of support during leukemia fight

Hiroki Kuroda returns to Japan, ditches Yankees

Kevin Garnett: ‘very weird’ to see Celtics without Rajon Rondo

Report: New Jersey Devils fire head coach Peter DeBoer

Mark Richt confirms Todd Gurley will leave UGA for NFL

Frank Gore: Colin Kaepernick is 'not broke'

The story of Morgan Bulkeley and birth of National League

Five breakout stars in 2014

The 2014 NFL All-Help Offense

Five things the world learned about the NBA on Christmas

What if Bear Bryant coached in the NFL?

The year’s 10 most notable sports media stories

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Five breakout stars in 2014

The 2014 NFL All-Help Offense

Five things learned about NBA on X-Mas

What if Bear Bryant coached in the NFL?

Carmelo Anthony: The Knicks are dying

The last time the Lions won in Green Bay

Year's most notable sports media stories

'Roberto Gronkowski wishes fans Feliz Navidad

Are the Seahawks back on track?

Wright reaches out to slain officer's sons

Q&A with Rich Eisen; TNF, DirecTV and living in LA

Dan Le Batard sums up Miami's relationship with LeBron

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.