by Will Overton
The infusion of young and exciting talent at Center has the position at one of it’s deepest points in a long time. You can argue over who should be the number one rated guy, but you can’t deny that the first tier or two are as deep and talented as they have been in a long time.
Here is how I see the top 25 shaking out:
- Al Horford – Atlanta Hawks
- Marc Gasol – Memphis Grizzlies
- Dwight Howard – Houston Rockets
- Al Jefferson – Charlotte Bobcats
- Brook Lopez – Brooklyn Nets
- DeMarcus Cousins – Sacramento Kings
- Joakim Noah – Chicago Bulls
- Larry Sanders – Milwaukee Bucks
- Roy Hibbert – Indiana Pacers
- Nikola Vucevic – Orlando Magic
- Andre Drummond – Detroit Pistons
- Marcin Gortat – Phoenix Suns
- Jonas Valanciunas – Toronto Raptors
- Andrew Bynum – Cleveland Cavaliers
- Nikola Pekovic – Minnesota Timberwolves
- Enes Kanter – Utah Jazz
- Tyson Chandler – New York Knicks
- Spencer Hawes – Philadelphia 76ers
- Tiago Splitter – San Antonio Spurs
- JaVale McGee – Denver Nuggets
- Anderson Varejao – Cleveland Cavaliers
- Andrea Bargnani – New York Knicks
- Chris Kaman – Los Angeles Lakers
- Brandan Wright – Dallas Mavericks
- Andrew Bogut – Golden State Warriors
- It takes a little bit of work to build a team around Dwight Howard, which is why he isn’t at the top of this list. If you’re willing to restructure your draft strategy to accommodate for his woeful free throw shooting though, he really is a strong second round pick. The idea that you should avoid him like the plague is quite backwards. With Howard you’re still getting a top five rebounder and shot blocker who will also score in the top five at this position. Don’t let the FT% overrule the whole work.
- Could this be the year that DeMarcus Cousins takes strides towards shedding the head case label and plays consistently like the top 25 player he is? My fantasy analysis doesn’t extend to being a fortune teller unfortunately. Cousins could be an absolute monster, but you have to worry about suspensions, foul trouble, turnovers and bad games that come far too often. He’s worth the risk at the right time, I think that time is right around the third time after you have two other anchors on your team.
- Will Larry Sanders repeat what he did last season? I think he certainly could. If you ask Larry he’ll tell you that he could be even better now that Brandon Jennings is gone and they have a point guard who may make getting him the ball more of an emphasis. Anyone who can average close to a double-double with three blocks per game is a shoo-in for the top 50 in leagues, or at least he should be.
- It’s pretty amazing how fast Jonas Valanciunas adapted to the NBA style of play, something you don’t always see from European big men. Over the last month of the season Jonas averaged 15.1 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 1.9 BPG once the Raptors really turned him loose. Valanciunas is still just 21 years old so the sky is really the limit for this kid seeing how he’s already this good. If he can fill out a little more this season in order to help him on the boards he is going to be a force.
- When you should take Andrew Bynum is a question that will plague fantasy owners this offseason. A former first round pick in fantasy leagues he is coming off a whole year away from the game in which he had surgery on both of his knees. Cleveland has the luxury to rest him and let him play a few less minutes with their depth. If that is enough to keep him healthy he could outperform this ranking, but he could be hurt in the first week and not play again. Thus the conundrum. If you take him, you have to have one or two other centers you trust as well.
- The 76ers lost Andrew Bynum, even though they never really had him to begin with. They drafted their center of the future in Nerlens Noel, but we don’t know if or how much he’ll play this year. That leaves the tried and true steady Spencer Hawes. One of the more underrated guys in fantasy basketball Hawes is good for 11/7/1.5 at the least and that’s pretty solid once you get past the top couple tiers of centers.
- I’ve been told I’m missing the boat by not ranking Andrew Bogut higher on this list, and I may very well be. He’s just not the same player anymore though, and the thought of what he could with 30+ minutes per game feels like a pipe dream. I like Bogut for his blocks, but I don’t think he averages double figures in points or rebounds let alone both of them. Not to mention the obvious health risk involved there as well.
- My not ranking Emeka Okafor in the top 25 is partly based on him not being healthy and partly based on performance. While Okafor is solid, he leaves a lot to be desired at this point in his career and I’d rather just have a stat specialist on my bench like JaVale McGee or Andrea Bargnani then an aging Okafor. Or an up and comes like Brandan Wright who I believe strongly in as a sleeper.
If you want to see more of my rankings and projections for all of these guys and more you can purchase the RotoProfessor Draft Guide for just $5