Luke Byrnes of Hoopsworld recently did a top 5 installment in regards to the C position, but his article was highly debatable. So I wanted to drop my two cent on this topic, and expand it to a top 10 list. Basing this on positioning in All-Star appearances and All-NBA teams, Tim Duncan would not qualify as a C, but Amar'e Stoudemire will. Yao Ming will not appear on my list because he will be out for the upcoming season. I will base my predictions strongly on forecasting their production, but partly on the type of talent they will be as well.
1. Dwight Howard: One of the most incredible physical specimens to play basketball. Incredible athleticism with brute strength. Only 23, but already has a Defensive Player of the Year and Eastern Conference Championship on his resume. Not to mention he's been a leading All-Star vote-getter and Slam Dunk Champ. You can say all you want about his lack of offensive repertoire, but being so accomplished at this age is amazing.
2. Al Jefferson: I have been so impressed by this guy. Though he does not wow you by what he does, he does everything you can ask from a C. Poised to be an All-Star, he had averages of 23 ppg, 11rpg, and 2 bpg before he unfortunately went down with that ACL tear. He is said to be ready for training camp, and despite probable initial rust, I am expecting more of what we were seeing last season.
3. Brook Lopez: With this slot, I have high expectations for Lopez. Similar to Jefferson's situation, he is on a bad team and will get a ton of shots with Vince Carter now in Orlando. He averaged 15 ppg, 9 rpg, and 2 bpg the last 3 months of the regular season in only 30 mpg, even despite having a lot of the offense focused on the perimeter. He will be heavily counted on, and I see his numbers exploding.
4. Amar'e Stoudemire: Back to playing the C position this upcoming season, Stoudemire is coming off an eye injury that you're not quite sure how he will react. But let's look at how he was playing last year: 21ppg, but only 8rpg and 1bpg, in 37 mpg. He is certainly a stud offensively, but the lack of production in other categories despite his minutes knocks him down here.
5. Emeka Okafor: Another guy I am expecting big things from. Some players, like Al Jefferson, can take that role as the go-to guy and run with it. I think Okafor is one of those players that can only be a real good complementary player that relies on other stars to get the best out of him. With Chris Paul running the show, and good perimeter players in Stojakovic and Posey spreading the floor, this will open up things for Okafor, and a slight chance to be an All-Star in the West.
6. Andrew Bynum: Here's one debatable player. For those who argue he's too low, here's my arguement: He's sharing front court time with Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, and Pau Gasol. This goes without mentioning Kobe Bryant. It's hard to imagine how many shot attempts he can really get. For those who argue he is too high, here's a key stat I looked at: 17 ppg, 8 rpg, and 2bpg in the month of January last season, just before he went down with the knee injury. Being able to put those numbers with that talent laden team is impressive, but it will be hard to duplicate that kind of production this year. But he's such a talent, he has to be up somewhat high.
7. Shaquille O'Neil: Another debatable ranking. You can argue how can Bynum be ahead here, and again I will provide my arugement. We all know the best is behind Shaq, and despite putting 18 ppg and 8 rpg, he in under different circumstances in Cleavland. In a way, the offense ran through Shaq in Phoenix. That certainly won't go down in Cleveland. Tie that to the fact you have accomplished C Zydrunas Ilgauskas on the team. Can they put both on them playing together, with Shaq at the 4 sparingly? It's hard to think so when today's top PF's rely heavily on a polished face-up game, and some quickness. It would be a defensive nightmare. But to those who oppose Shaq being this high, here's what I say: It's Shaquille O'Neil! You don't think given an opportunity to face Kobe Bryant in the finals, then one-up him in championships that there isn't extra motivation there? And don't count a possibility of trading Ilgauskas (an expiring contract) mid-season. He'll be alright, just not ahead of the other guys on this list.
8. Nene: I love this guy (no homo). I always said that the year Yao Ming went first overall, I would have drafted Nene 1st since 7'5''+ players track records weren't so good prior to Yao. It was such a feel-good story to see him play healthy last year. That being said, he does play on a team where perimeter game is a focal point with Billups and Anthony. Plus, Nene does have an issue with getting into foul trouble. He averaged 16 ppg in 37 mpg in the playoff series vs. Dallas, but was limited 10 ppg in 32 mpg against the Lakers, while averaging 4.7 fpg. I love the aggressive style Nene plays with, but that high fpg number (3.6 last season in 32mpg) will just be something that comes with the territory.
9. Greg Oden: It's been really hard to truly evaluate Oden's career at this point. Yes, his start to his career has been disappointing to date, but for as much as that is tied to production, his injuries have been concerning. I am counting on a nice turnaround for the 3rd-year sophomore, but with Andre Miller now taking away some shots, Oden's improved numbers will be somewhat limited. Since at this point he is shooting for Nene kind of numbers, I have to put Oden behind him.
10. Al Horford: This guy is quite the trooper, playing out of position and being a team-first guy. An under-the-radar type of player, he does what he needs to averaging 11 ppg and 9 rpg. A little concerning, however, is the fact that he only barely improved from his rookie year, and performed poorly in the playoffs. But given his effort, he gets this final spot over guys like Biedrins, Bargnani, and Bogut.
I honestly dont think Brook Lopez is going to get a whole lot better. He has room to get bigger and stronger but he seems like a "what-you-see-is-what-you-get" kind of guy. The thing that holding him back is his robiticness (if thats a word lol). He plays stiff and isnt very fluid, which hurts him a little offensively down low and makes him predictable. Im not ready to say he'll explode and put up all-star caliber numbers.
i have to disagree with the brook comment he was alot more athletic then i thought and reminds me alot of Brad Daugherty and i think his career is headed down a similar path. I do think shaq should be alot higher since this is a contract year and if he comes into the season in better shape he could easily put up 20-10. esspecially since there isnt any real challeneges for him at center other then howard in the west
Bynum is not that good and I doubt Oden will burst out this year
you dont think the numbers bynum put up before injury and as young as he is wasnt that good?...and he isnt in his prime yet?..youre one of the few.. theres a reason one of the smartest organizations didnt trade him even when the all powerful kobe wanted them too
Nene, D Howard, Al Jefferson and Al Horford are really power forwards playing out of position. The game has evolved in the past 20 years to the point where these players are now playing the center position. If you watch, they play like power forwards also and neither of them, my boy Nene included really don't have many moves down low.
Dhamp...the greatest basketball mind in the world. Next to Hubie Brown anyway.
Dwight Howard is a Center not a PF.
20 years ago, Kevin Garnett, Chris Webber, Rasheed Wallace, Zach Randolph would have been centers. However, they've become power forwards who now spend more time away from the basket than posting up and positioning themselves in the paint. So the center has become a lost position. A space to plug anyone 7 feet tall to grab a few rebounds and alter shots.
DHAMP....... the most intellegent basketball thinker in the world. Next to Hubie Brown anyway.
Andrew Bynum having better stats than Oden next year.
I thought that the Suns were going to have Robin Lopez as there starting Center and leave Amare at the Power Forward spot?
Is going to do a little bit of both...Play some center, but mostly PF...I don't think the Suns can rely on Robin just yet.
I assume this list is for the upcoming season. The only one I would argue with would be Amare, something about him to me doesn't resemble a center and I don't think he will be matching up with many centers on either end of the court. I think Bogut and Beidrins should be top 10. Even with that said, it's hard to disagree with the list. All of these guys have some major deficiencies as well as advantages. Some guys you would point out their injuries (Oden, Bynum, Shaq), others you could say are playing out of position (Amare, Jefferson, Horford) and some you could say don't get as many opportunities that they need to shine because they play on teams where the perimeter guys are gobbling up all the shots (Nene, Bogut, Beidrins).
brook lopez ahead of amare and shaq and andew bynum broook lopez is not in the same category of nene let alone top 5 centers of the league total lack of knowledge of basketball
i'm not sure who i'd boot out, but beidrins should be in there. dude got like 20 double doubles in a row.
Yeah. I went on a limb on Brook Lopez. But wow, did you guys forget he was only a rookie on a team where most scoring was coming from the perimeter last season? If you want to argue guys like Biedrins and Nene face the same issue, those players at least play in a high octane offense. The Nets ran a dribble-drive offense which is a guard-oriented offense that features spreading the floor and dribble-penetration to the rim for lay-ups or kick-out three-point shots. Basically, Lopez is not featured in this. And so what this guy is not a super athlete like a D. Howard or Stoudemire. Lopez, like Jefferson, won't get it done in spectacular fashion, but will give the quietest 18 and 10 you can get. And you Bfresh2Death, Lopez averaged more bpg and rpg than Nene despite playing fewer minutes per game, so I don't know how you can say he is not in the same category as him. I would think after everyone slept on him last year, saying Robin Lopez would eventually be better than his brother, that they would not make the same mistake this time around. I know I won't. Many of the other guys on this list are injury prone. Lopez played all 82 games. You all can say what you about the rest of the list, but refrain against Lopez unless you surely have a strong valid point.
Many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.
Okafor, Jefferson, Amare, Dwight, Horford and even maybe Nene should all be playing the PF during their careers. All of these are dominant(or can be) PF's forced to play the C. I agree that the C position has been lost and the old bump and grind in the post will be a lost art. However, great article tough to debate.
In my opinion, right now there is no better person to have at the CENTER of your defense than Dwight Howard and barring him losing an arm I dont see that changing for at least 5 years. The guy is an absolute terror. I am a firm believer that people didn't realize the fact that the magic played next to no defense for long stretches last year and Howard bieng there neutralized that because nobody really wanted any part of that. All I have to say is that I havent seen a player play scared in my life like the way I saw that Igauskas was scared of Dwight Howard in the conference finals.