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

  • steppxxxxz

    kevin love is a forward. By any definition. Monroe is by nature a four, but has played five. Drummond makes him a four again.

  • Robert

    Kevin Love is listed and has played center for the Minnesota Timberwolves every year he has played in the NBA. He is Listed as a Forward-Center on the Teams official website and roster.Minnesota only has two other players listed at center, both of which have only played a combined 15 games for Minnesota in he last two seasons. Monroe has been the starting center for Detroit since starting 48 games as center in 2010-11. Monroe started all 66 games as center last season as a Piston. Detroit lists Monroe and Drummond as centers on the official roster. Some consider Maxiell to be the pistons center; but at 6-7, he is listed as a forward. So by definition, and according to the NBA, the Detroit Pistons, and the Minnesota Timberwolves; Drummond, Monroe, and Love are all centers.

    • noodlekaboodle

      Ummmm, What about Peckovic, He played 112 games in the last two seasons, and last season averaged 25 minutes a game, and even though he was terrible Darko is a center and he averaged 24 minutes a game 2 years ago and 16 last season as well. Before that Al Jefferson played for Minny so he was the center, not Love.

      • Robert

        Pekovic will be the center of the future, but he was a bench player last year. He wasn’t able to make the transition to a full-time starter. He didn’t start or end the season as a starter, and only played in 47 games. Even though the Timberwovles are trying to work him into the starting line-up, he only started 35 games in a 66 game season. Pekovic will continue to improve, but with career averages of 9 ppg and 4.8 rpg, he isn’t exactly a premier center. Love plays the Center position for the majority of the games. Pekovic will have a lot of time to prove he can play in this league while Minnesota waits for Kevin Love’s broken hand to heal. Darko played in less than half of the games last season, so while he is a center, he isnt a starter, and he cannot be considered amongst the NBA’s elite big men. Al Jefferson has been on the Jazz for two years. If you look at the two seasons Love played with Jefferson; Jefferson was injured for 32 games of the 08-09 season after tearing ligaments in his right knee. When the Timberwolves moved Love to center that season, they decided to keep him at the center position the following season, playing Jefferson at the power forward position. Kurt Rambis wanted to play Love at center and Jefferson at Forward for many reasons, but mainly because of defensive match-ups. Love had improved his assist averages at center, which is one of the other primary reasons the T-Wolves wanted to keep him at center. His ability to spread the floor allows the team to run the offense through him, and allows other players to get better shots. If Jefferson had stayed and played the 4, Rambis as well as Minnesota management believed it would create major match-up issues for other teams. The two were unable to mesh and Jefferson was traded to the jazz for Kosta Koufos and two first-round draft picks. So for three and a half of his four seasons, Love has been the center for the T-wolves.

      • Robert

        Thank you for the reply btw. I respect your comments and opinions, and enjoy discussing them.

  • Stephen Ajamie

    Nice feature about Roy HIbbert on here. As a Pacers fan, I was at the front of the line saying Give Roy a max contract. I think he’s worth it so much more than just the playing ability. You should see what Hibbert does for the community, especially his own fan section Area 55. He’s taken them out for bowling, out to a movie, and such. He actually took them out for a movie before he knew he was coming back to the Pacers. To me that shows what kind of man Roy Hibbert is. I think this is his season to prove his playing ability is up there with the top centers, and I hope that he’ll get consideration for the Eastern Conference All Stars when that comes around.

    • Robert

      Thank you very much. I have honestly gradually become a big fan of Hibbert. He is a special player, and off the court he sounds like one of the most respectable people in the NBA today! I think he will have a great season, and prove he deserves a spot in the NBA elite!

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.carpenter.355 Brian Carpenter

    Marcin Gortat is not on this list and therefore the list is not relevant. Gortat is a premiere center by any definition and should be on this list above Noah.

    • Robert

      Gortat is one of the few who would have receive an Honorable Mention, but i decided to leave that whole section out of the article because i deemed it would be too much. However, Pau Gasol , would’ve received a mention, but he is now being played at power forward. But Kris Kaman and Tyson Chandler are very solid players as well. If Andrew Bogut wasnt injured, he would have been considered as well as Al Horford. Horford was injured most of last season, and has a lot to come back from (knee injuries to big men can be career changers). People could even make a case for DeAndre Jordan. So..Here is the Honorable Mentions:
      1. Pau Gasol
      2. Marcin Gortat
      3. Andrew Bogut
      4. Al Horford
      5. Kris Kaman
      6. DeAndre Jordan
      7. Tyson Chnadler

      • http://www.basesandbaskets.com/ Elijah

        *Chris Kaman…also Bynum is well, gone, but I’m sure this list would change if you did it again now.