By Cody Williams @TheSizzle20 on March 15, 2014
There has been talk around the NBA that the traditional center is a dying breed. While I find that to not entirely be the case, it’s hard to deny that there has been an evolution of sorts at the position. Big men in the middle are asked and capable of doing more things while also having different than you would have seen them doing some 20 years ago. With that evolution, who have been the 10 best centers this season?
Though his offense is sometime maddeningly inconsistent, Andrew Bogut has been a huge cog in the Warriors’ system this season. His presence in the post on both ends of the floors allows for things to open up for this team and when Bogut’s in full form they are simply at their best.
It’s only his second year in the league, there are already few centers in the league that can impact a game in more ways than Andre Drummond. Sure, his Pistons have been a wreck this season and parts of his game still need polishing. However, it’s impossible to watch Drummond perform and not think that he’s one of the best at his position in the league.
While Vinny Del Negro never fully put his faith in DeAndre Jordan with the Clippers, Doc Rivers certainly has and it has made a huge difference. Jordan has been pulling down boards at a phenomenal rate and has truly improved as a defender. His offense is still based almost exclusively in capitalizing on his athleticism, but he’s been productive enough to warrant recognition.
Injuries this year hurt Marc Gasol’s candidacy in terms of this list, but he’s been a monstrous help for the Grizzlies. As soon as he returned from being sidelined, this team started clicking and started making a push to get into the postseason. In case you don’t believe in Gasol, the timing of their turnaround is no accident.
Roy Hibbert has trailed off a bit in the second half of the season and might be seeing his Defensive Player of the Year nod slip away. However, the Pacers center is still an elite, game-changing defender for this Indiana team, even if his offense is often non-existent. His defense is simply that important to his team.
Chris Bosh is a natural power forward, but he’s definitely the Heat’s center and he legitimately doesn’t get the praise he deserves. Especially with the way Miami has rested Dwyane Wade this season, Bosh’s impact on both ends of the floor has been enormous for the Heat. He may be the pariah of the big three, but don’t deny him his due.
DeMarcus Cousins is on a pretty awful Kings team, which tends to detract from his value as a player. However, the Sacramento big man is having arguably the best season of his career and, despite a few incidents, has shown signs of maturing. With the way he’s played this year, it makes you wonder how dominant he can be if he puts it all together.
The Bobcats have established an identity as a defensive team this season, but their offense has basically been get Al Jefferson the basketball. Jefferson’s offensive numbers this season are some of the best of his career, especially over Charlotte’s late-season push. Moreover, he’s actually improved his defense this season. Without question, Jefferson has been one of the best centers in the NBA.
Coming to Houston has really been a quiet redemption story for Dwight Howard. While he still draws the ire of many basketball fans, he’s been big for the Rockets in aiding poor perimeter defense and in terms of having an option to go to on the interior offensively. Dwight isn’t at the MVP levels he once was, but he’s definitely still been a force for the Rockets.
Joakim Noah has really done it all for the Bulls this season. He’s developed his offense even further while still being a force defensively and on the boards. Not only is he scoring in more ways, but he’s also becoming arguably the best passing big man in the league. For how he’s been able to lead Chicago in the absence of Derrick Rose, Noah deserves to be called the best center in the league this year.
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