Oct 8, 2009 News
The list of actual real life centers is pretty short this season, but luckily sites like Yahoo and ESPN have a lot of the Power Forwards with Center eligibility. The list below is more limited to the guys who will actually be playing center this season. It’s probably the hardest of the five categories to rank since there is clearly a top 10 or so, but he rest is pretty much interchangeable trash.
Dwight Howard (Orlando, #12, 6’11-265, 24yo) Yes, he has a career FT% of 60.1%. Live with it. The guy is Superman in every other category. Simply draft a couple of excellent FT shooters to compensate and take Howard as your #1 Center. Howard is a first round Top 5 pick if you are in a H2H league. Last seasons line: 20.6 pts, 1.4 ast, 13.8 reb, 1.0 stl, 2.9 blk and a 57.2 FG%.
Tim Duncan (San Antonio, #21, 6’11-260, 33yo) Curiously, you never hear anyone complain about Duncan’s 68.5% FT% do you? He has averaged between 33.4 and 34.8 minutes a game over the last 5 seasons and he can easily end up in that range again this year putting up career average stats. Last seasons line: 19.3 pts, 3.5 ast, 10.7 reb, .5 stl, 1.7 blk and a 50.4 FG%. With McDyess at PF, Duncan will probably see most of his time at center this year.
Al Jefferson (Minnesota, #25, 6’10-265, 24yo) Jefferson is recovering from a torn ACL in his right knee, but so far reports have been excellent on his recovery and he is playing well in the preseason. He was having an great year before the injury posting 23.1 pts, 1.6 ast, 11.0 reb, .8 stl, 1.7 blk, 49.7FG% and 73.8 FT%. He should get most of the minutes at Center and should post increasing quality stats as his knee strengthens.
Mehmet Okur (Utah, #13, 6’11-263, 30yo) Most people don’t rank Okur as high as me, but he has qualities that make him very attractive, especially for H2H leaguers. Okur made 90 3 pointers at a 44.6% rate last season, which is very helpful from your center position. He fits well into a ‘small ball’ type drafting strategy. He probably isn’t quite as attractive if you are drafting a ‘big’ strategy going for blocks and rebounds. Last seasons stats: 17.0 pts, 1.7 ast, 7.7 reb, .8 stl, .7 blk, 48.5 FG% and 81.7 FT%. Consider your strategy and league type and work Okur in as needed.
Brook Lopez (New Jersey, #11, 7’0-260, 21yo) Lopez is a risk at #5, but the upside is there. He has no real competition for minutes and I’ve read that Frank is going to get him more involved in the offense. The defensive stats will only improve. Lopez recorded 13.0 pts, 1.0 ast, 8.1 reb, .5 stl, 1.9 blk, 53.1 FG% and 79.3 FT%. He is an offensive rebounding machine. If he can get the fouls under control, he should bump up to around 36 minutes a game this season, which combined with his natural skill development, could lead to some big stats.
Andrew Bynum (LA Lakers, #17, 7’0-275, 22yo) Bynum presents a huge injury risk with loose ligaments in his knees. Since entering the league 3 years ago, he hasn’t averaged more than 28.9 minutes a game in any season. Throw in the fact that Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol are still going strong and Bynum may again play only around 30 minutes a night. His 3rd year stats in 2008 were similar to the rookie stats put up by Lopez. He produced 14.3 pts, 1.4 ast, 8.0 reb, .4 stl, 1.8 blk, 56.6 FG% and 70.7 FT%. Let someone else reach for him.
Andrea Bargnani (Toronto, #7, 7’0-250, 24yo) At just 24 years old, I think Bargnani finally figured it out during the second half of last season. His 2008 line: 15.4 pts, 1.2 ast, 5.3 reb, .4 stl, 1.2 blk, 45.0 FG% and 83.1 FT%. Like Okur, he can knock down the 3 pointer, making 119 of them at a 40.9% rate. He is another ‘small ball’ type draft strategy player. He doesn’t rebound that well, but he does manage to provide decent block numbers.
Emeka Okafor (New Orleans, 6’10-255, 27 yo) Chris Paul made a soft Tyson Chandler look good, so Okafor should really be excited for the change of scenery. Okafor is as consistent as they come with almost identical lines over the last 4 seasons. Last seasons line in Charlotte: 13.2 pts, .6 ast, 10.1 reb, .6 stl, 1.7 blk, 56.1 FG% and 59.3 FT%. He averages a career 14.0/10.7 double-double. He does bring a career 59.6 FT% with him, but it doesn’t hurt quite so much because he doesn’t shoot as many as someone like Howard.
Nene (Denver, #31, 6’11-250, 27yo) Nene (Hilario) has had the worst injury luck than anyone I can think of and you can’t help but cheer for the guy. He only played in 136 games from 2004 to 2008, but managed to average 32.6 minutes over 77 games last season. At 27 his body hasn’t had much basketball wear and tear and his last injury wasn’t really an injury at all - it was testicular cancer. Nene is a survivor and I think he will continue to play all out this season putting up excellent stats comparable to last seasons line of 14.6 pts, 1.4 ast, 7.8 reb, 1.2 stl, 1.3 blk, 60.4 FG% and 72.3 FT%.
Al Horford (Atlanta, #15, 6’10-245, 23yo) At 23 years old and entering his 3rd season, Horford isn’t flashy but he is solid and improving. His 2008 line: 11.5 pts, 2.4 ast, 9.3 reb, .8 stl, 1.4 blk, 52.5 FG% and 72.7 FT%. Horford really improved his shooting last year and I think he bumps up to around 35 minutes a game this season.
Shaquille O’Neal (Cleveland, #33, 7’1-325, 37yo) Shaq isn’t going to get more than 30 minutes a game this year at 37 years old and with Zydrunas Ilgauskas still on the roster. However, 30 minutes of a fired up Shaq is better than most starting centers in the league. Last season in 30.0 minutes he put up 17.8 pts, 1.7 ast, 8.4 reb, .7 stl, 1.4 blk, 60.9 FG% and a 59.5 FT%. He only got 519 FT attempts last season, so he has become a little easier to offset on your roster with another good FT shooter.
Andris Biedrins (Golden State, #15, 6’11-240, 23yo) Biedrins is still only 23 years old and learning how to play the center position. Biedrins averaged 30 minutes a game last year and his stats were very similar to Shaq’s. His 2008 line: 11.9 pts, 2.0 ast, 11.2 reb, 1.0 stl, 1.5 blk, 57.8 FG% and 55.1 FT%. The difference, Biedrins is on the way up while Shaq is headed down.
Spencer Hawes (Sacramento, #31, 7’0-235, 21yo) 21 year old Hawes enters his third year in the league with a starting spot now that Brad Miller was shipped out of town. Last season in 29.3 minutes a game he put up 11.4 pts, 1.9 ast, 7.1 reb, .6 stl, 1.2 blk, 46.6 FG% and 66.2 FT%. His minutes and stats should take another leap up this season.
Andrew Bogut (Milwaukee, #6, 7’0-260, 25yo) Bogut suffered back problems last season but looks to be healthy so far this preseason. When healthy he was top 10 in value. His line over 33 games before the injury was 11.7 pts, 2.0 ast, 10.3 reb, .6 stl, 1.0 blk, 57.7 FG% and 57.1 FT%. His final ranking will completely depend on his health.
Marcus Camby (LA Clippers, #23, 6’11-235, 35 yo) Camby only got 31.0 minutes over 62 games last season, partly due to age and partly due to the presence of Chris Kaman. I don’t expect that he will exceed that this year at 35 years old. 2008 line: 10.3 pts, 2.0 ast, 11.1 reb, .8 stl, 2.1 blk, 51.2 FG% and 72.5 FT%.
Jermaine O’Neal (Miami, #7, 6’11-258, 31yo) J. O’Neal says he’s in the best shape in years, but he is already missing time in the preseason with an injury. Owners are going to draft him too high on name recognition. He will likely be a 30 minute a night player. Last seasons line between Toronto and Miami: 13.3 pts, 1.8 ast, 6.4 reb, .5 stl, 2.0 blk, 47.4 FG% and 78.8 FT%.
Greg Oden (Portland, #52, 7’0-257, 21yo) I think Oden is probably still one more year away from being a #1 center, but he should do enough this season to be useful. His ‘rookie’ line over 61 games was 8.9 pts, .5 ast, 7.0 reb, .4 stl, 1.1 blk, 56.4 FG% and 63.7 FT%. He has looked great in the first couple of preseason games and there is talk of Oden beating out the The Vanilla Gorilla for the starting spot.
Chris Kaman (LA Clippers, #35, 7’0-265, 27yo) The presence of Marcus Camby just killed Kaman’s fantasy value last year and it doesn’t look like the timeshare is going to be much different this season. Last year’s production: 12.0 pts, 1.5 ast, 8.0 reb, .5 stl, 1.5 blk, 52.8 FG% and 68.0 FT%.
Marc Gasol (Memphis, #33, 7’1-265, 24yo) Gasol actually had a pretty good season in his first year in the league posting 11.9 pts, 1.7 ast, 7.4 reb, .8 stl, 1.1 blk, 53.0 FG% and 73.3 FT%. Thabeet and Haddadi are in the mix, but Gasol should still get about 30 minutes a night.
Tyson Chandler (Charlotte, 7’1-235, 27yo) Chandler had a terrible season in 2008, mainly due to foot problems. He hasn’t fully recovered from those problems yet. He also finds himself in a less favorable position in Charlotte where he will be expected to be more mobile than he was in New Orleans. Not good for a guy with foot problems. Last season Chandler fell off to 9.9 pts, .5 ast, 9.8 reb, .4 stl, 1.4 blk, 56.5 FG% and 57.9 FT%. There will be a lot of people who overpay for Chandler, don’t be one of them.
Kendrick Perkins (Boston, #43, 6’10-280, 25yo) Perkins has improved every season and his minutes reached 29.6 over 76 games last year. His line was 8.5 pts, 1.3 ast, 8.1 reb, .3 stl, 2.0 blk, 57.7 FG% and 60.0 FT%.
Brad Miller (Chicago, #52, 7’0-261, 33yo) A 33 year old center in a timeshare doesn’t equal fantasy success. After being traded to Chicago last season, Miller only got 27.6 minutes a game putting up 11.8 pts, 3.2 ast, 7.4 reb, .8 stl, .4 blk, 47.8 FG% and 85.3 FT%. Miller is another year older and Joakim Noah is another year better.
Brendan Haywood (Washington, #33, 7’0-263, 30yo) After having somewhat of a breakout year in 2007, Haywood only played 6 games in 2008 due to an injury to his right wrist that required surgery. Haywood is the starter going in to the season, but might be the last option on offense with all Washington’s big guns.
Samuel Dalembert (Philadelphia, #1, 6’11-260, 28yo) Dalembert didn’t have a very good season in 2008 posting line of 6.4 pts, .2 ast, 8.5 reb, .4 stl, 1.8 blk, 49.8 FG% and 73.4 FT%. It seems his attitude is his biggest liability and he found himself on the court only 24.8 minutes a night over 82 games. Hopefully the return of Elton Brand will get him going this season, but don’t count on it.
Nenad Krstic (Oklahoma City, #12, 7’0-240, 26yo) Krstic had a pretty decent season over the last 46 games in OKC recording 9.7 pts, .6 ast, 5.5 reb, .5 stl, 1.1 blk, 46.9 FG% and 79.7 FT%. He could be a last round sleeper.
Chris Andersen (Denver, #11, 6’10-228, 31yo) The Birdman. A special #26 bonus spot to a guy who is a great story. Anderson crawled back from the dead after serving his 2 year suspension for drugs and found a home in Denver. While he only gets around 20 minutes a game, he goes all out and can definitely help your fantasy team in the blocks category. He managed to record 2.5 blocks in his 20 minutes. Good luck Chris and keep it going.
A couple of other guys will probably make the Top 25, but their minutes are very uncertain right now:
Darko Milicic (New York), Eric Dampier (Dallas), Joel Przybilla (Portland), Drew Gooden (Dallas), Glen Davis (Boston), Joakim Noah (Chicago), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (Cleveland), Jeff Foster (Indiana), Roy Hibbert (Indiana), Chris Wilcox (Detroit), Kwame Brown (Detroit), Marcin Gortat (Orlando), David Andersen (Houston), Hasheem Thabeet (Memphis), Nick Collison (Oklahoma City)