Oct 21, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) shoots against Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (right) during the preseason game at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

Top 10 Centers in the NBA Today

The NBA has officially taken the section for centers off the All-Star ballot. Has the position of center become a thing of the past?

After reviewing the teams around the league, one trend is certain: centers in today’s game are completely different than centers in the game even a decade ago. When David Robinson retired; media, NBA analyst’s, and sources around the league speculated that Shaquille O’neal would be the end of traditional centers.

The NBA has developed into more of a fast paced, passing oriented game. When centers dominated the game, the sport was based on isolating the game’s premier big men,and allowing them to play a half-court style of post game.

In the early 2000’s, teams such as the Sacramento Kings and Dallas Mavericks started to change the way the game is played. Offenses began to hinge on team ball movement, and started to eliminate general isolation during offensive possessions. Teams would use the isolation; but rather than setting up on a single side of the basket, teams began to rely on an inside out game with good passing and shooting.By  swinging the ball, pressing the tempo of the game, playing passing lanes and trying to get out into transition as a team; the team can control the tempo of the game on both sides of the floor. Both the Kings and Mavericks used passing big men to allow for total ball movement throughout the offense. In the 2012 NBA, centers are becoming less of a pivotal player in teams systems throughout the league.

The lack of talented big men overall has greatly effected the trend. Although some have supported the theory the position is starting to experience a resurgence in talented big men entering the league, and developing into solid NBA Centers.

Top 10 NBA Centers

1. Dwight Howard
Arguably the best center in today’s game, Dwight Howard is a 6-11, 265 pound center who is perhaps the most athletic center of all time. He has career averages of 18.4 ppg, 13 rpg, 2.2 bpg. He has a career 57.7 field goal percentage, and after being traded to the Lakers during the off-season, he is almost guaranteed to continue to grow as a player.

2. Marc Gasol
Marc Gasol has continued to grow in four seasons with Memphis, and after a 2010-11 season didn’t yield the results expected of him, Gasol returned last year with renewed determination and has started to regain his 2009-10 season form. Gasol is a 7-1, 265 pound center with career averages of 13.1 ppg8.1 rpg, and 1.5 bpg, and potentially has the largest upside in this group of centers.

3. DeMarcus Cousins
The young Sacramento Kings center has a large task in front of him after averaging a double double per game while also leading the league in double doubles in only his second season of his NBA career Cousins is a 6-11, 270 pound center with career averages of 15.9 ppg, 9.6 rpg2 apg, and 1 bpg. Only Marc Gasol and Dwight Howard stand in his way of the NBA elite..

4. Andrew Bynum
Bynum certainly proved he was an elite NBA player, and a top NBA center last season. However, Bynum’s constant uncertainty with injuries and attitude issues have clouded the young centers career. Bynum is a 7-0, 285 pound center with career averages of11.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.6 bpg. Can Bynum follow his best season with another good year with is new 76ers team?

5. Al Jefferson
The coveted Utah Jazz big man has started to flourish.The nine-year veteran will be expected to deliver big numbers this year with his Jazz team. Jefferson is a 6-10 ,289 pound center with career averages of 16.2 ppg, 8.9 rpg, and 1.4 bpg. Jefferson has continued to improve his defense since joining the Jazz in 2010-11, and must continue to do so if his team is to any chance at contending this year.

6. Kevin Love
Despite his injury during the preseason, Kevin Love has continued to improve every year he has been in the league. Love had a career year last year averaging 26ppg and 13.3 rpg. Love led the league in double double two years ago, and is potentially one of the most well rounded center in the league. Love is a 6-10, 260 pound center with career averages of 17.3 ppg, 12 rpg, and 1.9 apg. He must take his time coming back this year, so he can stay healthy.

7. Joakim Noah
Joakim Noah is undoubtedly the most hard-nosed center in the game today. He isn’t a dirty player or a player who has a penticton for fouling out of games, but is a player who never stops moving on either side of the floor and has a nose for rebounding and defense. Noah is a 6-11, 232 pound center with career averages of 8.9 ppg and 8.6 rpg. He must step up as the Bulls main center this year.

8. Greg Monroe
Much is expected of Detroit’s young big man Greg Monroe after a much improved sophomore season. Monroe almost averaged a double double in his second season in the league, but must continue his growth if he wants to be anything more than a decent center in the NBA. Monroe is a 6-11, 250 pound center with career averages of 12.1 ppg and 8.4 rpg. He must continue to develop the rest of his game.

9. Roy Hibbert
Hibbert is expected to lead Indiana back to the Eastern Conference playoffs. Hibbert has gradually become a more consistent player. He must continue to develop a nose for rebounds if he wants to improve. Hibbert is coming off caeer highs in rebounding, blocks and scoring. He is a 7-2, 280 pound center with career averages of 11.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.6 bpg, and 1.6 apg Look for Indiana’s big man to keep getting better.

10. Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis is the NBA’s newest center, and arguably the NBA’s newest up-and-coming star. Davis has no NBA career averages, but is a tall shot blocker with one of the games longest wingspan. He has a lot to prove in his first NBA season, and hopes to lead his New Orleans Hornets to success.

Tags: Al Jefferson Andrew Bynum Anthony Davis Chicago Bulls Dallas Mavericks DeMarcus Cousins Detroit Pistons Dwight Howard Greg Monroe Indiana Pacers Joakim Noah Kevin Love Los Angeles Lakers Marc Gasol Memphis Grizzles Minnesota Timberwolves NBA Philadelphia 76ers Roy Hibbert Sacramento Kings Shaquille O'neal Utah Jazz

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