The Center Position is Back
For the last several years, the Center postion in the NBA has been paper thin. Aside from Dwight Howard dominating down low, there have been very few quality centers. Because of the lack of true centers in the league today, many say it affects Dwight's legacy because he didn't have to battle Hakeem, and Ewing, and David Robinson and Shaq, the way they all did to each other. However over the past couple of seasons, many young athletic bigs have been drafted, and although many of them are unpolished and raw, they have made their niche as solid starting centers in the league. We may not have 4 stars at Center like we did in the 90's, but there are plenty of quality bigs this season, and most of them are under 25 and have a lot of potential. Here are the list of quality Centers-not Power Fowards- in the league today.
DeMarcus Cousins- 29 min 17 ppg 11 reb
Al Jefferson- 32 min 19 ppg 9 reb
Anderson Varejao- 31 min 11 ppg 12 reb(I think he's hurt though)
Drew Gooden- 24 min 13 ppg 6 reb(Ever Since Bougt has gone down, he's had six 20 point games)
Joakim Noah- 30 min 10 ppg 6 reb
Dejuan Blair- 21 min 9 ppg 5 reb(tag team with Splitter)
Dwight- 38 min 20 ppg 15 reb
Bynum- 35 min 16 ppg 13 reb
Greg Monroe- 33 min 16 ppg 10 reb
Marcin Gortat- 33 min 15 ppg 10 reb
Marc Gasol- 38 min 15 ppg 10 reb
Roy Hibbert - 30 min 13 ppg 9 reb
JaVale MvGee- 29 min 12 ppg 9 reb
Tyson Chandler- 34 min 12 ppg 10 reb(70% from the field!)
Emeka Okafor- 29 min 10 ppg 8 reb
Tiago Splitter- 21min 10 ppg 5 reb(tag team with Blair)
DeAndre Jordan- 29 min 8 ppg 9 reb
Samuel Dalembert- 23 min 7ppg 8 reb
Marcus Camby- 24 min 4 ppg 10 reb(This was tough, but 10 boards in 24 min is beast expecially at this age)
Plus Brook Lopez who has been out, and Al Horford, and Bargnani, that equals to 23 solid centers. Some may have been a stretch, and I had some tough decisions to make as for PF/Cs, but all in all, the trend is young athletic bigs that need to learn how to play in the post more but make a living by using their hops. I did not include Kendrick Perkins who has stunk it up this season, or Zaza Paculia, who has done a decent job while Horford is out, or the tag team of Mahinmi and Haywood. I almost added KG, but I wasn't sure how much he's been playing at Center now days. I didn't include young promising bigs like Favors or Kanter.
The point is that the center position is much more viable now than it was 2 years ago, and it seems like you need a solid center to compete now days. And if you include Power Fowards, the list mor than doubles. So although the position doesn't have the firepower it had 15 years ago, there are still many solid centers out there, and Cousins and Monroe are a couple that I believe will join Dwight in a couple years. And in addition to that, we have several promising bigs in the draft over the next couple of years, Which might make the league a Center's league again, just like the 90's.
When people say the C position is weak, I think they are referring to the lack of Elite ones. There is only one right now. Sure the depth is fine, but how many C's can you build around in this league and win with?
Forgot Pekovic, he's been tearing it up lately.
And YupYup, I agree, but a couple of years ago there weren't even 2 thirds as many quality centers, and as for Superstar centers, there is only one right now, It reamains to be seen who else joins Dwight. The way things are looking, Monroe and Cousins are on pace to become star centers, 20 and 10 in a couple of years. I don't want to jump the gun but pekovic has been looing really really scary lately, maybe he can. Anthony Davis, Drummond, John Henson(More of a power Foward) Cody Zeller, the future for Centers seems really bright, even moreso if Favors and Kanter develop.
Um Tim Duncan???
No he's right that up to a few years ago there weren't close to as many viable options at center. Just take a look at the names on the list they have all broken out within the past few years and they didn't take anybody's place most of them broke out cuz they were getting huge minutes a team that needed any big body to fill the middle.
And don't forget about Nikola Vucevic this dude is the real deal and is going to become a very good starting center in the Marc Gasol mold. He can shoot, pass, and bang.
Right on the money Mr.19134. I swear that 4-5 years ago, we'd barely be able to find 12 solid guys at center, let alone 25, And 80% of those guys have only started to scrape their potential.
No, Duncan is not a Center, he Plays 80% of his minutes at the 4.
Most of those players are power forwards though. They can play Center but they are not able to dominate on a consistent basis without help.
^I chose those guys as carefully as I could, and I believe all of them play center at least 50% of the time, most of them more. Drew Gooden was a tricky one, but I figured that ever since Bougt has been out, that he's been playing the 5.
i believe that nba will be getting a lot of good big men coming in the next few years
anthony davis , andre drummond , cody zeller , nerlens noel , steven adams , meyers leonard , alex len , isiah austin , kaleb tarczewski , and jonas valanciunas coming over next year from europe
There are certainly "quality" centers in the NBA. But, when you look at those players, there are not that many great over even good centers. In fact, I can pick out 9 players who many thought would be PF's. Many of those players would be better off not being centers. It is not going to be close to the 90's, those were centers that carried teams.
You look at your list, you have one of those. One. None of the others are close. Not Andrew Bynum, not Al Jefferson, none of them other than Dwight Howard are guys you can build a contending team around. They can be pieces on competitive teams, but when you looked at Shaq, Hak, Pat and David Robinson, those guys are not around and it does not look like anyone other than Dwight is even near that class. Center, still not that great.
^I am not saying that the Centers in the League right now are as good they were in the 90s, I said we have a collection of guys that could become like the guys we had in the 90s.
The two points that I made were A) The Center position is much stronger now that it was 4 years ago, and B) In another 4 years we could be looking at a really really good looking bunch of centers.
I could pick out at least 13 guys from that list that were either not in the league, or quality bigs at the time 4 years ago. You could definatly pick out more, I left Horford and Bargs there, but back to the topic, I don't think you could add many more guys, infact, looking at the basketball reference guys, I could look at 13 guys and say that they were solid productive centers.
For the future, I really really think Cousins and Monroe will join Dwight, and Bynum still has room to grow, Al Jefferson is still young. Plus Drummond and Davis, and guys like Noah, McGee, Gortat, Blair, Chandler, we really might be headed for a really good generation of centers. All I was saying was compared to years past, this years collection of big men is much better.
"The Center position is much stronger now that it was 4 years ago"
- Dwight Howard: 20ppg - 14rpg
- Yao Ming: 21ppg - 10rpg
- Amar'e Stoudemire (He played center back then): 25ppg - 9rpg
- Marcus Camby: 9ppg - 13rpg
- Tim Duncan: 19ppg - 11rpg
- Al Jefferson: 21ppg - 11rpg
- Tyson Chandler: 12ppg - 12rpg
- Shaquille O'Neal: 14ppg - 9rpg
- Emeka Okafor: 15ppg - 12rpg
- Al Horford: 10ppg - 10rpg
- Chris Bosh: 22ppg - 8rpg
- Pau Gasol: 19ppg - 8rpg
- Brad Miller: 13ppg - 9rpg
- Zydrunas Ilgauskas - 14ppg - 9rpg
- Chris Kaman: 15ppg - 12rpg
- Jermaine O'Neal: 13ppg - 7rpg
- Andrew Bogut: 14ppg - 10rpg
- Mehmet Okur: 14ppg - 7rpg
Seven 19PPG+ scorers to your two.
...any day of the week.
^More than half of your list is power fowards. If you're putting Duncan, Gasol and Bosh on that list, than I can put those same guys on my list and Aldridge, Love, Griffin, Ryan Anderson, David Lee, Jamison, David West, Al Harrington, and Nowitzki.
There are only 14 centers on your list, and although there might be a couple PFs on my list, at least 20 of them are classified correctly. That's 6 additional quality players at one position, plus a ton a of youth.
Aldridge, Love, Griffin, Anderson, Lee, Jaminso, West, Harrington, Nowitzki do not start nor do they play center at all. Except maybe for Aldridge but even then, he hasn't started at center.
Duncan started at center in 2007-2008 for half the season, the guys you mentioned have not started at center all season. There's a huge difference.
Gasol played center that season because Bynum was injured, if you want, I'll take out Gasol and add Bynum to my list, really makes no difference, they are both quality big men. Bosh guarded centers on the Raptors because Bargnani couldn't and centers guarded Bosh right back. Thus, making him a center.
There's a reason I listed combo-bigmen, not just because I felt like adding more to the list, but because they actually started at center for half or more than half of the season.
Any other player you need me to clarify?
^I still don't count those guys as Center, they were playing as Center due to the circumstances, but they aren't Centers. My point was not guys that played center particularly that season, but normally played Center, without getting technical, there are 14 Centers on that list. I'll include Bosh, so you can make it 15, but I hope you see what point I'm getting at.
If you want to dissect my list, I'll do yours one-up.
DeMarcus Cousins - He started (or came off the bench) at power forward half the season with Westphal.
Anderson Varejao - As you said, "playing as Center due to the circumstances"
Drew Gooden - As you said again, "playing as Center due to the circumstances"
Dejuan Blair - Guards power forwards
Emeka Okafor - Kaman starts at center and on what planet are 9ppg-7rpg stats of a quality big man?
Tiago Splitter - Again, on what planet are 9-5 good stats for a quality big man?
DeAndre Jordan - 8 ppg 9 reb, again, 8-9? Not even a double digit stat.
Samuel Dalembert- 23 min 7ppg 8 reb... Do I really have to explain again?
And just like that, 8 players are crossed off your list of "quality big centers"
Anderson Varejao is a center who can play Power Foward equaly as well, which is why he played the four when Lebron was there.
If Blair doesn't play Center, than who does? And Splitter's stats are like that because he shares minutes with Blair. If you want to combine them, then go ahead.
DeAndre is quality big that gets you high percentage shots, boards, and blocks. He is a quality big. I agree with you on Dalembert, and Gooden.
And why can't a big man be of quality if they get you 10 points, 8 boards, and solid D in under 30 minutes?
And Cousins is a Center, no doubt about it.
So you can cross of 3, at most 4, but my point is that there is more potential among bigs than there was 3-4 years ago.
of ammirs list, i would say gooden and blair are not centers. Of toungue out's list, i would say stoudemire, pau and bosh are not centers. I know they have played center for stretches, especially amare with the suns who also used boris diaw at center for an entire season cause they went small, but at the end of the day, i think all these guys are true pf's.
Aren't Pau Gasol and Tim Duncan centers that can play power forward? Why can I not use that excuse for them?
Blair and Splitter, one cannot add their stats and say they're one center. Nobody adds Wade and LeBron's stats and say their an MVP averaging 50ppg, 11apg, 12rpg. No, nobody does that because it's unfair to add stats of two players to equal one.
DeAndre shoots a high percentage because he takes 5 shots a game with alley-oops and off double-teams off Dwight. Can he create his own shot and drop 15ppg? No. If it wasn't for Blake Griffin, DeAndre would still be on the bench.
More potential among bigs is correct
"The Center position is much stronger now that it was 4 years ago" as you said, is incorrect.
There was much more depth, talent, variety, and skill 4 years ago than there is now.
I've always had a problem w/people feeling so certain that Duncan is a PF. On O he plays the 4 80% of the time and on D he plays the 5 80% of the time. He's been the biggest player on his team (and the physical center of his team's D) for pretty much his entire career. IMO he's always been more of a 5 than 4, but people seem to be irrationally set on calling him a 4 despite the obvious fact that he plays @least 50% of the time as a 5. I've always found that odd.
Aamir, I realize there are some good young bigs right now, but something often lost about the 1990's is that there were plenty of quality bigs playing that didn't get the recognition because of the star bigs of that era. I like Marc Gasol and Bogut just fine, but along with the star C's there were plenty of forgotten guys of that caliber. I like your list, but as all of you know, I love making lists too and here are the top bigs of the 1993-94 season, and today's crop really doesn't compare.
David Robinson - 29.8 ppg 10.7 rpg 4.8 apg 3.3 bpg
Hakeem Olajuwon - 27.3 ppg 11.9 rpg 3.6 apg 3.7 bpg
Shaquille O'Neal- 29.3 ppg 13.2 rpg 2.9 bpg
Patrick Ewing- 24.5 ppg 11.2 rpg 2.7 bpg
Alonzo Mourning - 21.2 ppg 10.2 rpg 3.1 bpg
Brad Dougherty - 17.0 ppg 10.2 rpg 3.2 apg
Kevin Willis ( Played C that year for Atlanta) - 19 ppg 12 rpg
Dikembe Mutombo - 12 ppg 11.8 rpg 4.1 bpg
Rony Seikaly - 15.3 ppg 10.3 rpg 1.3 bpg
Vlade Divac - 14.3 ppg 10.8 rpg 3.9 apg 1.2 spg 1.4 bpg
Olden Polynice - 11.6 ppr 11.9 rpg 1.0 bpg
Rik Smits - 15.7 ppg 6.2 rpg
I only included centers averaging double doubles with the exception of Smits due to the fact he was almost averaging 16 ppg. I feel a lot of your young players will be good guys, guys who start, but in the grand scheme of things they are just the Olden Polynices and Rik Smits of their generation. I think Cousins and Monroe could be future stars, but Marc Gasol, Roy Hibbert and others are good, no doubt, but there were guys like that 15-20 years ago that you just never heard about because any year 4-6 HOF centers were playing at the same time. It's not that there weren't any good players after the big names, it's just that they were very un heardalded because of the big names.
^I've heard about everyone of those guys except Sikaly and Polynice, and I agree that the centers were very good back then, but my point was that you have guys like Cousins and Monroe, and Dwight, you can add potentially Anthony Davis and Drummond to that list, and for solid centers, you have McGee, Hibbert, Gasol, Blair if he gets PT, DeAndre, and Bynum. Those are all guys I think that could be double double guys or already are. I'm just saying that the potential in the afforementioned group could potentially be somewhat as good as the centers back in '94.
Somewhat, minus the star power at the forefront. To be honest, I think the greatest reason why the center play of the past 12 years has fallen off so much is the failure of top center prospects like Michael Olawankandi, Kwame Brown, Chris Mihm, Darko, Rafal Araujo and others.
The NBA is littered with 7 footers drafted highly that never panned out, but some became great; however, from Shaq and Zo in 1992 you really didn't have any young guys coming with that kind of impact until Yao and Dwight Howard.
Maybe Monroe and Cousins can lead a new generation, but the guys that were at the top of their game in the 85-97 years were amazing. I mean, in the list I generated in 1993-4 you had 2 centers dropping 29 ppg and one with almost 5 apg.
With all the talk about the renaissance in the C position, I wondered who people considered the 2nd best C in the NBA behind Dwight Howard. I feel that Dwight is clearly the best C in the NBA but behind him you have a lot of young players maybe just getting towards their peak such as Bynum, Marc Gasol, Hibbert, Noah even slightly younger prospects such as DMC, Greg Monroe, DeAndre Jordan, the more established guys like Chandler, Gortat, Bogut, Okafor, Perkins and the solid veterans like Camby.
I read the above article with interested and counted the large number of good C’s listed and then if you add in the injured guys like Bargnani, Horford and prospects like Biyombo, Kanter, Valanciunas and Drummond who have all just begun or will soon be beginning their NBA careers then the C pool looks pretty stacked going forward. But a lot of teams will still chase the number one man Dwight Howard as there is a considerable gap between him and the rest of the pack so having the top C in the league might give the team a huge advantage over having even the 2nd best C for example and teams will put their good C’s on the line in an instant to get Dwight Howard.
Having thought long and hard, I could not actually put the rest of the C’s in any sort of order as a lot of them are so closely matched and the ironic thing is Greg Oden who many people thought could become the 2nd best C in the NBA or even overtake Dwight Howard has been injured for the majority of his NBA career and the highest drafted C since Greg Oden, Hasheem Thabeet has fallen out of rotation with his current team. So perhaps the two guys considered the best C prospects since Dwight have not been able to become a force in the NBA for various reasons.
Hitster's got it right. It seems like nowadays, because the number one center in the league is so clear-cut, teams aren't looking to draft a center that could be LIKE him, but more so they draft centers that could DEFEND him. Think about your list of centers that you say are up and coming and could be those "stars" like in the 90's (which in my personal opinion this generation's centers just can't compete with them). DMC, Monroe, Gasol, Jefferson, and maybe B. Lopez are the only ones on that list who are able to fill it up in scoring. But the rest of those guys make their name on the defensive side of the ball, and their is nothing wrong with that but the centers of the 90's were more than just one dimensional. Hell, even DH12 has developed a better post game outside of 5 feet. He no longer JUST dunks, he's taken lessons from Patrick Ewing the assistant coach (one of the reasons I wish he'd stay, you can't get that experience and teaching elsewhere) and has made his own game grow from being a dunker and defender to having an array of post moves and a good player.
When I look at the post players from these years, there is just one dominating player, and the rest are a lot of potentially good centers. I think one thing you fail to take into account is that obviously big men, especially from this time, take a lot longer to develop than guards. It almost seems like the low post scorer that has the Hakeem or Ewing moves are gone and teams rely on having an athletic center that can jump out the gym and finish on ally oops, for example McGee, Jordan, Dwight, Chandler, Amar'e... I mean outside of Amar'e and Dwight, how many of those athletic centers have a real go-to move in the post that nobody can stop?
Im going to end this "debate" and say neither now or 4 years ago was an elite time for centers. Ill take the Shaq/Ewing/Hakeem/Mourning/Robinson/Mutumbo days over either of those in a heartbeat.
^That wasn't even a question, that's not what we were debating, we were debating that A)The Centers today are better than they were 4 years ago, and B) The Centers in 4 years Will be the best since the Shaq/Ewing/Muntombo/Mourning/Hakeem/Robinson days.