Who is the Denver Nuggets Center to Own?

by Ray Kuhn 

What about both?

Yes I know, you come here looking for answers, and I just took the easy way  out. But that is not necessarily the case. Both JaVale McGee and J.J. Hickson should be owned this season, and they likely will be drafted around the same time in draft. So then who do you draft?

The answer, depends on the composition of the rest of your team, and what you are looking for. Center is generally not an easy position to fill beyond the few top options, and this is especially true in leagues where you start two centers. Yes, the position is deeper this season than year’s past, but it doesn’t mean that center is easy to fill.

McGee has potential, and is the more exciting option. The center who is entering his sixth season in the league has both potential and talent. But at this point, I am not sure he is really going to get that much better from a fantasy standpoint.

It is still October, but McGee has been looking more comfortable on the offensive end both with moves around the basket and with his mid-ranger jumper. Denver coach Brian Shaw has made it a point to focus more on McGee’s offensive game, but it is yet to be seen how that will translate into the regular season.

Last season the 25-year old averaged 9.1 points a game, and the most he has scored in a season is 11.3 two seasons ago. The issue with McGee, is that he only averaged 4.8 rebounds a game this season down from 7.8 the year prior. However, the one good thing is that you can count on at least 2 blocks per game from McGee. Another problem, is that it will be considered a good season for the center if his free throw percentage is higher than 60%.

On the other hand, Hickson is a more solid known quantity. He is also 25 years old, and if you are looking for guaranteed production, he is your man. Between the centers, the scoring will likely be about equal, but he should be good for close to 9 or 10 rebounds a game. But by going with Hickson, you are giving up about 1.5 blocks a game which will make a big difference. Plus the free throw percentage will be better here, but not by too much.

Statistically, other than blocked shots, these players are pretty similar. But that is a pretty big difference. Playing time should be about the same, but McGee certainly has more upside and potential. If need be, you shouldn’t have an issue finding players similar to Hickson on the waiver wire as plug and play options. But if I have the choice, I’m going with McGee.

What does everyone else think?


  1. Brian Huynh says:

    It sort of depends on what your team needs since these 2 players will probably be drafted in the mid-later rounds depending on how many managers your league has. Even though he has asthma issues, I still believe McGee has more value because of his ability to block shots. He was only 1 of 8 players to block more than 2.0 shots last year (and I believe that number will increase now that he’s a starter), and I agree with you that finding a big that can get 8-9 rebounds later on in the draft isn’t that difficult. I’m just wary of hickson because he is playing behind McGee and Faried so his playing time will be inconsistent.

  2. Capoeira says:

    Denver has made it clear that McGee will be the features center, he will have more minutes and should break out. Hickson is really a 4 and backup at best

  3. Will Overton says:

    I agree with both of you that McGee is the best choice, but Hickson could have value on your bench, especially in 12 team or deeper leagues.

    McGee just has that one quality, shot blocking, that isn’t as easy to find.

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