Okay, it’s not Andrew Bynum. I’m sorry its just not. I understand that he is WHEN he is healthy, but do you realize in his now eight-year career he has only played more than 60 regular season games three times. Not to mention he has played in none this year, thus far. I understand a lot of people say he’s number two under the argument of the center position is dying. To that I say why? Why is the center position dying? It may be true that the Shaq’s and Olajuwon’s of the world are disappearing. The guys you can just chuck it into the post and they’ll create something out of nothing. It’s really an art form what men like this have done and there are players like that still out there. They may not be hall of famers but they are out there. Here are a few of my candidates to compete for top center of the league.
Al Jefferson – Big Al is a great big man in this league but, mainly gets overlooked because he plays for the Utah Jazz. That’s not a knock on Utah, you just don’t get to see them play as much on national TV to make a bigger name for himself. He averages, for his career, 16 ppg and 9 reb. He plays back to the basket and has a deadly mid range game. Not to mention he can play pretty good defense, which doesn’t always translate into blocks. The only thing teams don’t like is he can be a bit of a black hole once it gets dropped to him in the post.
Joakim Noah – Looks better and better after every year. I’ve been very impressed with this former Gator. His defense is unquestioned and rebounding is what you ask out of your center. He doesn’t have the greatest athleticism in the world but, he really doesn’t need it. I’ve even noticed his mid range shot fall on more than one occasion, granted the ball corkscrews upon his release, it doesn’t matter how it looks it just has to go in. Going forward Noah is looking like he’s going to have a very good career ahead of him and with derrick rose and maybe one more piece could lead Chicago to a title.
Marc Gasol – The big-bodied Gasol has a lot different game then his lanky brother. Marc beats you up, scraps, he gets down right rough with most people. He has been a giant reason for the Grizzlies continued success with the consistent rebounding and good passing from down low. He isn’t seen on the highlight reels to often swatting away shots but, he does his fair share of altering shots when players drive.
Brook Lopez – Brook made the all-star game this year which is great especially after spending all last season on IR. He doesn’t play the most physical defense and only averages 1.7 blocks per game for his career, but he is starting to develop and get much better at it. Along with the blocks he isn’t the best rebounder either and can be seen getting bullied sometimes, he is a smart player and he will figure it out in due time. Also he does have a bit of a shooting stroke from mid range, it can come and go but, it is there and you have something to work with.
Greg Monroe – Georgetown sure knows how to put out the big men. Although I haven’t watched a whole lot of Pistons games this year, I have noticed Greg Monroe. I feel this 22 year old can really develop into something special with the right coach. As of right now he is still posting some decent numbers, I’d like to see what he can do with a little more help around him to utilize his passing abilities.
Roy Hibbert – Good God how tall is this man? This 7ft 2 monster regularly looks like a man amongst boys, surprisingly though his rebounding isn’t that great and he is rarely seen dunking the ball, but with height like that though he still deserves to be mentioned on this list. If he could just work on his positioning abilities on rebounds there’s really no reason why he couldn’t be towards the top of the league’s leading rebounders.
JaVale McGee – JaVale is often seen on ESPN’s top 10 or not top 10 sometimes both. Although his basketball IQ is in question sometimes there is no denying his leaping ability. Javale can smack a ball into the 12th row for one series and be seen trying to draw a charge on Nate Robinson the next. He is very fun to watch for the good and bad, I’m just glad he’s not on my team because I think I’d go insane watching him play regularly. On the plus side his bone headedness has went down considerably since being moved to Denver. I’m a fan of his for sure, but that’s mostly due to him making me laugh or screaming “WOW, did you see that!!!”
Demarcus Cousins – I feel I need to put him on here just on potential. I really not even sure what to say about him, his own team has suspended him or removed him from team functions because of his attitude. It’s like Zach Randolph all over again except Cousins has more upside. I think if he get on a team with a more established coach he’ll grow up but, as of now he’ll just be another wanna be gangster in the NBA, maybe the move to Seattle will help him, but I’m not going to hold my breath.
These are the Centers I wanted to highlight to help point out that the Center position is not dead. The league is just changing into more teams wanting to Run’n Gun and bomb threes that some of these young centers don’t get the touches required to put up the bigger and more consistent numbers. Until a team sees resounding success built around a low post player again like Tim Duncan it Isn’t looking to change.
Written By: Andy Lesmeister
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