Part V and final in our best-by-position preview for the 2010-2011 NBA season, the top 5 centers in the league.
Number 5 – Chris Kaman, Los Angeles Clippers
He had a career season last year, averaging 18.5 points with 9.3 rebounds, showing offensive skills on a consistent basis for the first time in his career while managing to stay healthy for 76 games and starts, a rarity for him in recent years. With Griffin ready to begin his rookie season a year late, the two can become one of the more efficient big-men duo’s in the league. If Kaman can stay healthy, which he usually finds hard to do for two consecutive seasons, I believe having Griffin beside him should mean another productive season for Kaman, who played in his first All-Star game in 2010.
Number 4 – Brook Lopez, New Jersey Nets
Entering only his third NBA season, Lopez is already one of the elite big men in the league in our opinion. A fantastic sophomore season on a horrible team, averaging 18.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game, showing a huge improvement in his offensive ability, moves in the paint and his ability to get to the line (6.2 attempts per game, 81.7%). He also doubled his assist production to 2.3, not a impressive number usually, but he certainly has shown he can contribute in every aspect. I expect him to be a 20-10 player this season and for years to come. Lets just hope he start seeing more W this season in Jersey.
Number 3 – Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee Bucks
It’ll be interesting to see how Bogut will begin 2010-2011, when he begins it, after his season ending injury late last season, injuring his elbow after falling from a slam dunk. He hasn’t played yet in the Bucks’ pre-season games but there’s a chance he’ll get a few minutes on Saturday against Memphis. Bogut had a career year in 2009-2010, finally showing some no.1 pick ability and numbers, averaging 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game, becoming a much more dominant and aggressive player on both ends of the court. If he gets back on track, the Bucks might be more than just a team hoping for a playoff appearance.
Number 2 – Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
Another year for the four time NBA Champions and two time MVP, starting his 14th NBA season, all with the Spurs, a bit slower, a bit older, but still a joy to watch, for those who appreciate more than just the flashy stuff. Duncan averaged 17.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, career lows while playing 31.3 minutes, also a career low. Duncan was more productive in the playoffs, playing over 37 minutes a night, scoring 19 per game. His numbers are going to continue their drop this season as Timmy will probably be getting more rest during the regular season while Splitter joins the Spurs and Blair will get more minutes to leave Duncan as fresh and healthy as possible for the playoffs.
Number 1 – Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
Although there are probably a few big men who are more versatile offensively than Howard, there’s no other center in the league I’d rather have on my team. The best rebounder (three straight seasons) and best shot blocker (two straight seasons) in the league and also the best defender, according to the awards the last two season had some rough patches last season but he got over them, and helped the Magic to another division title and made the conference Finals, where he didn’t get enough help from the rest against the Celtics. It’s going to be safe to put your money on Howard leading the league in rebounds and blocks again. We would like to see him score a bit more and show some, I don’t know, MORE, at times, besides dunks and tips, but still, he is easily the best center in the league, and he’ll get better.