Aug 31, 2010 Blog
2010-2011 NBA Fantasy Basketball Center Draft Rankings
Rankings for the Center position using our FPS Ranking System will be updated throughout the offseason. Updated rankings can always be found under the 2010-2011 Rankings Tab on the Fantasy Basketball Daily Homepage.
Dwight Howard (37.4 FPS, 61.2 eFG%, 59.2 FT%, 35 MPG)
It’s an easy selection for the top of the Center rankings, even though Howard has a few flaws. His biggest flaw is his free throw shooting. It’s not often that you see a player with a FG% (61.2%) that exceeds his FT% (59.2%), but Howard accomplished that feat last season. He’s also a little high in turnovers (3.3 per game) for a center. Howard’s free throw rate was 97.8 last season and I had to check that figure three times just to make sure it was right, because it just seems so outrageous. He got to the line 816 times on only 834 field goal attempts. Howard’s overall draft position will depend on whether you are in a H2H or Rotisserie league. He will easily go in the first round in a H2H league, while he might fall just a little in a traditional nine category Roto league. He’s a big help in the shotblocking category with 2.8 per game and he will even get you about a steal a game. His Usage rate in 2009 was 23.9 and should stay in that range for 2010. Don’t be scared of Howard’s bad FT%, especially in H2H leagues.
Brook Lopez (32.0 FPS, 49.9 eFG%, 81.7 FT%, 37 MPG)
Lopez had a great rookie season in 2008 and made a big leap forward in his second season in 2009 and I think he can make even more improvement this year. His FG% of 49.9% is solid and he’s excellent at the line with a 81.7 FT%. However, his defensive rebound rate fell from 21.2 in 2008 to 17.5 last season and was one of the lowest of the top 10 centers. Hopefully, he can work on his rebounding and get back to somewhere around 10 rebounds a game. He’s a good shotblocker with 1.7 per game. Lopez’ free throw rate was 45.1, which got him to the line 6.2 times a game where he hit 81.7%. 27.1% of his 2009 scoring total came from the line. Troy Murphy is now with the Nets and maybe he can pull opposing PF’s to the perimeter so that Brook doesn’t have to deal with as many double teams, which should help his overall stat line.
Al Jefferson (30.6 FPS, 49.8 eFG%, 68.0 FT%, 33 MPG)
Al Jefferson is my pick to surprise on the center rankings this year. Jefferson spent the first part of last season trying to recover from February 2009 ACL surgery on his right knee, but he still managed to get on the court for 76 games and got better as the season wore on and the knee improved. With a whole season under his belt to rehab and strengthen the knee, he should be ready to put up a great line in his new Utah home. The only concern with Jefferson is his defense, which is just horrible. Mehmet Okur is currently dealing with an achilles injury, so Jefferson should start at Center and I don’t see him giving up the spot even if Okur returns healthy. Jefferson’s minutes dipped to 32.4 per game in 2009, but much of the decrease was due to the physical limitations he had in November and December due to his recovering knee. His per/36 minute stats actually didn’t show much decline at all in the quality of his play. He’s a good scorer (17.1 per game), rebounder (9.3 per game) and shotblocker (1.3 per game). His free throw rate is a little low at 23.6, however that might have been a result of trying to conciously avoid contact to keep the knee healthy. I’m expecting Jefferson to have a great year with the Jazz.
Joakim Noah (26.2 FPS, 50.4 eFG%, 74.4 FT%, 30 MPG)
Noah is a great talent, but staying on the court was a problem for him in 2009. He suffered with plantar fasciitis for much of the season which limited his minutes and caused him to miss 18 games. That condition should be fully healed, but you will want to keep an eye on it this preseason before determining Noah’s final draft ranking. He is a great rebounder with a defensvie rebounding rate of 27.6, which was good for 11.0 rebounds per game. He’s a good shotblocker (1.6 per game) and plays great defense. His shooting percentages (50.4 eFG% and 74.4 FT%) are decent for a big man. Noah is good at getting to the line with a free throw rate of 42.1 and hits at a 74.4% rate. He’s got a Jumper/Inside split of 24%/76%. Keep an eye on his health and be ready to take him in the first five centers off the board if he looks fully recovered.
Al Horford (28.5 FPS, 55.2 eFG%, 78.9 FT%, 35 MPG)
Sometimes, as a fantasy owner, you just want a guy you can plug in at Center and just not worry about him. Well, Horford is that guy. He isn’t flashy, but he is dependable and you know you’re probably getting something close to 14 points and 10 rebounds a night with a block thrown in and good shooting percentages. Horford has a Jumper/Inside split of 51%/49% and a free throw rate of 32.0, which got him to the line 3.3 times a game where he converted at a 78.9% rate. He’s got a defensive rebounding rate of 23.3 and an offensive rebounding rate of 9.6. Horford only missed a single game last season and should be on the court full time this year, so grab him if you want a dependable big man. He doesn’t have much upside, but he doesn’t have much downside either.
Marc Gasol (29.5 FPS, 58.1 eFG%, 67.0 FT%, 36 MPG)
Gasol’s season was ended by a neck injury, but he’s playing for Spain this summer and looks fully recovered. A neck injury should be much easier to recover from, and less likely to reoccur, than a knee, foot or ankle injury. Gasol had a Jumper/Inside split of 35%/65% with a free throw rate of 57.8 which got him to the line 5.4 times a game where he converted at a weak 67.0% rate. He needs to improve the free throw shooting. 25.3% of his scoring total came from the line. His 58.1 eFG% is excellent. He’s a good shotblocker with 1.6 per game and will even get you 1.0 steals per game. His rebounding is solid with a defensive rebounding rate of 20.5 and an offensive rebounding rate of 9.8.
Andreas Bargnani (26.5 FPS, 52.3 eFG%, 77.4 FT%, 35 MPG)
Bargnani is a scoring center but his rebounding is very weak, so keep that in mind when you are determining exactly what you want to accomplish with you draft pick at center. Bargnani’s defensive rebounding rate is 15.9 and his offensive rebounding rate is just 4.6. He does somehow manage to block 1.4 shots per game. He’s also a very good three point shooter, which is a unique characteristic for a center and one you could use to build your H2H fantasy team. He put up 4.1 threes per game and hit 37% of them. His Jumper/Inside split of 74%/26% shows his perimenter orientation and his low free throw rate of 20.5 shows that he doesn’t draw contact. His draft ranking will really depend on what you want from your starting center.
Andrew Bogut (32.2 FPS, 52.0 eFG%, 62.9 FT%, 33 MPG)
Bogut was having a huge breakout season before injuring his shoulder, elbow and hand in an April fall. I have ranked him pretty high this early, but that could change, depending on the health of his elbow. I’ll move him ahead of Noah if he’s healthy. Bogut is an excellent shotblocker with 2.5 per game last year. He is weak in the free throw category with a 62.9 FT%, but luckily his low free throw rate of 26.0 only got him to the line 3.4 times per game. Bogut is an excellent defensive player and defensive rebounder. His Usage rate took a big jump to 23.3 last season and hopefully he can return healthy and maintain that number.
Chris Kaman (29.9 FPS, 49.0 eFG%, 74.9 FT%, 35 MPG)
Kaman started out the 2009 season on fire but tailed off a little after the all-star break. His final numbers were excellent though. His Jumper/Inside split was 51%/49%, with a free throw rate of 25.5 which was good for 4.0 attempts per game where he hit at a 74.9% rate. Kaman had a defensive rebounding rate of 23.2 and an offensive rebounding rate of 8.1 which allowed him to grab 9.3 rebounds a game. He added 1.2 blocked shots per game, but his defense is average. He is a great value pick in the middle rounds.
Roy Hibbert (21.6 FPS, 49.7 eFG%, 75.4 FT%, 25 MPG)
Hibbert will get a chance to shine this season now that Troy Murphy has been traded. His biggest problem will be getting his fouls under control. He collected 3.5 fouls a game in only 25 minutes and there were many games last season where he was on the bench in the first half after picking up three quick fouls. This season the Pacers have no other decent big men, so offenses are going to attack Hibbert in hopes of getting him in foul trouble. Hibbert also needs to work on his defensive rebounding, where he put up a weak 15.5 rebounding rate. His offensive rebounding rate was still pretty good at 9.4. He blocked 1.6 shots a game. His shooting percentages (49.7 eFG% and 75.4 FT%) won’t kill you. Keep an eye on any moves by the Pacers to try and bring in another big man before the season starts.
Andrew Bynum (26.3 FPS, 57.0 eFG%, 73.9 FT%, 31 MPG)
Bynum underwent surgery in late July to repair a torn miniscus in his knee and nobody is exactly sure how long recovery is going to take. The knee is really scaring me and I’m not sure why he didn’t have the surgery immediately after the playoffs rather than waiting until almost August to have it done. His final ranking will depend on his health, but I’m ranking him on the expectation that he’ll be ready for the season. Bynum is only 23 years old, but he’s a huge talent and an important part of the championship Lakers. He’s a good defensive player and swatted 1.4 shots a game. His 57.0 eFG% is excellent and his 73.9 FT% won’t kill you. He’s a good rebounder with a 20.4 defensive rebounding rate and 10.1 offensive rebounding rate. Keep an eye on how the knee heals and adjust his ranking accordingly.
Marcus Camby (27.2 FPS, 47.7 eFG%, 63.9 FT%, 32 MPG)
Camby is on the opposite extreme from Andreas Bargnani. His value comes from rebounding (11.8 per game), steals (1.3 per game) and blocks (2.0 per game). He’s extremely weak in scoring (7.5 per game) and percentages (47.7 eFG% and 63.9 FT%). His lack of involvement in the team’s offense is illustrated by his low Usage rate of only 12.8. Camby is an excellent defensive player, but he’s getting up there in age at 36 years old and that is going to make it tough to keep banging inside with the young guys. Portland is expecting Greg Oden to be healthy this season, so Camby could see a big reduction in minutes to keep him fresh. Keep an eye on Oden’s development and Camby’s health in camp before assigning his final draft ranking.
Nene Hilario (27.2 FPS, 58.7 eFG%, 70.4 FT%, 34 MPG)
Nene is having some injury problems this summer which have caused him to miss playing for Brazil in the FIBA. I’m not exactly sure of the severity of the leg problems, but it’s something that could alter his draft ranking as camp starts. He’s only missed 5 games in the last two seasons, so hopefully this isn’t anything serious. Nene had a good season in 2009 putting up 13.8 points a game with a 58.7 eFG%. His Jumper/Inside split was 26%/74% and he had a free throw rate of 58.0 which got him to the line a career high 5.1 times where he converted at a 70.4% rate. He’s a good defensive player and managed to put up 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks. Keep an eye on his leg injury, as well as the trade status of Carmelo Anthony and injury status of Kenyon Martin, to determine Nene’s final ranking.
Samuel Dalembert (21.6 FPS, 54.5 eFG%, 72.9 FT%, 26 MPG)
Dalembert’s problem has always seemed to be his work ethic and attitude, so maybe a move out of Philly can get him going again. He now finds himself on a pretty decent Kings roster with the center spot all to himself. Dalembert is an excellent rebounder, posting a defensive rebounding rate of 30.7 and an offensive rebounding rate of 13.1 last season, which was good for 9.6 rebounds in only 25.9 minutes a night. He can be a good defensive player when he wants and managed to put up 1.8 blocks. He’s got a Jumper/Inside split of 37%/63% which allowed him to put up a very efficient 54.5 eFG%. Keep an eye on what role the Kings have planned for him in camp.
Emeka Okafor (23.1 FPS, 53.0 eFG%, 56.2 FT%, 29 MPG)
Okafor’s defense was so bad last season that he found himself on the bench in the fourth quarter of many games, which decreased his minutes per game to a career low 28.9 a night. Opposing centers put up a whopping 58.6 eFG% against him. He’s going to have to play better defense to earn those minutes back and improve his fantasy value. Okafor is a terrible free throw shooter with a 50.9 career FT%. He’s a good rebounder and put up a defensive rebounding rate of 24.7 and an offensive rebounding rate of 12.2, which allowed him to pick up 9.0 rebounds a game. He’s also a pretty decent shotblocker with 1.5 per game. The Hornets gained Trevor Ariza’s defense, so maybe that will take some of the defensive pressure off Okafor. See how it plays out in camp.
Robin Lopez (15.0 FPS, 58.8 eFG%, 70.4 FT%, 20 MPG)
Lopez is going to get a shot at a bigger role with Phoenix this season now that Amare is gone, but he’s going to have to improve on his 15.6 defensive rebounding rate and his 70.4 FT%. He’s a high energy guy and might be better suited for a backup role with the second unit. Keep an eye on his role in camp.
Yao Ming (2008) (33.0 FPS, 54.9 eFG%, 86.6 FT%, 34 MPG)
I listed Ming’s 2008 stats just to provide an idea of what to expect if he can return healthy from the broken foot that sidelined him for the 2009 season. His final ranking all depends on his health, but I think he is worthy of taking a shot on somewhere around this ranking and definitely higher if the foot looks good. Ming’s career 83.2 FT% disproves the myth that big men can’t shoot free throws. He’s also got a pretty good 52.5 career eFG%. His career defensive rebounding rate is 23.3 and his career offensive rebounding rate is 9.3, good for 9.3 rebounds a game. He’s also got a career average of 1.9 blocks per game. Ming is a gamble this season, how lucky do you feel?
Channing Frye (20.4 FPS, 57.3 eFG%, 81.0 FT%, 27 MPG)
Channing Frye was a nice surprise last year and he could play an even bigger role for the Suns now that Amare Stoudemire has been traded. Frye is an excellent shooter (57.3 eFG%) and he is deadly with the three point shot, putting up 4.8 per game and hitting 44%. He’s a guy you want to grab if you want some threes from your center spot. His rebounding is a little weak with a defensive rebounding rate of 17.6 and an offensive rebounding rate of 3.6. He has a hard time guarding bigger centers and doesn’t block many shots, with only .9 blocks a night. He also has a hard time creating any offense of his own and was assisted on a very high 84% of his shots, but hopefully Steve Nash can keep finding him. Frye’s draft ranking really depends on what stats you want from your center position.
Jermaine O’Neal (23.6 FPS, 52.9 eFG%, 72.0 FT%, 29 MPG)
J. O’Neal had a pretty good season for a 32 year old center with balky knees. This year he moves to the Celtics where he will platoon with Shaq O’Neal. Two O’Neal’s on the Celtics, and I’m pretty sure neither one of them is Irish. Jermaine could once again see around 28-30 minutes, but I think his Usage rate will decline from 2009′s 22.9 figure. The Celtics just have too many other more efficient offensive weapons. He’s still a solid rebounder posting a defensive rebound rating of 20.7 and an offensive rebound rating of 9.9, while also blocking 1.4 shots a game. J. O’Neal has a Jumper/Inside split of 67%/33% which is a little different than his younger days when he lived inside.
Brendan Haywood (22.5 FPS, 56.2 eFG%, 62.0 FT%, 31 MPG)
The move from Washington to Dallas really crushed Haywood’s fantasy value as he saw a decline in almost every category, especially minutes. His per/36 stats were still similar to his career numbers, so it appears to the be the lack of minutes, not ability, that is hurting his fantasy value. It probably won’t get much better for Haywood this season since he will be splitting time with Tyson Chandler. Haywood is a good rebounder putting up a defensive rebound rating of 21.5 and an offensive rebounding rating of 13.5, while adding 2.1 blocks. He has a Jumper/Inside split of 17%/83% and a free throw rate of 49.9 which got him to the line 3.7 times a game where he converted at a very poor 62.0% rate. His eFG% was excellent at 56.2%, due to all the opportunities at the rim. See how the playing time is going to be distributed between Haywood and Chandler before determining his final ranking.
JaVale McGee (FPS 13.8, 50.8 eFG%, 63.8 FT%, 16 MPG)
McGee is going to be a good center in a couple of years, but right now he’s probably about where Roy Hibbert was last season. He’s going to get a shot at decent minutes and you should keep an eye on him this preseason to see what his role is going to be. The Wizards have Andray Blatche and Yi Jianlian, so McGee could get pinched on minutes if he doesn’t play good defense. McGee needs to work on his 63.8 FT% and his 18.7 defensive rebounding rate. He is a very good shotblocker with 1.7 in only 16 minutes a night.
Tyson Chandler (14.1 FPS, 57.4 eFG%, 73.2 FT%, 23 MPG)
Chandler will probably settle into a backup role behind Brendan Haywood and should only be considered a late round flier. He’s also a huge injury risk.
Anderson Varejao – He’s locked up the starting center spot for Cleveland and will bring energy and rebounding. He might also find himself asked to score a little more than last season. Good late round value.
Darko Milicic – Minnesota really was serious about starting Darko this season at center. He’s going to get minutes and he seems fairly happy in Minnesota so maybe he will give full effort.
Andris Biedrins (17.3 FPS, 59.1 eFG%, 16.0 FT%, 23 MPG)
I’m not sure that Biedrins is even draftable this season. And yes, that 16.0 FT% is correct. Just horrible. I don’t want to completely write him off yet, because there may be some issue or injury from last season that isn’t public, but keep an eye on him during camp. Give him a gamble is he’s showing any improvement.
Shaquille O’Neal (21.2 FPS, 56.6 eFG%, 49.6 FT%, 24 MPG)
Shaq is chasing a ring with Boston this season and he will platoon with Jermaine O’Neal until Kendrick Perkins returns. He should get about 20 minutes a night and could put up stats similar to his 2009 stats with the Cavs. You know about his horrible free throw shooting, but the impact has lessened over time since Shaq only gets about 4.3 free throw attempts per game these days. You can draft him if you just like having Shaq on your team, but don’t expect production anywhere close to his past reputation.
Joel Anthony – He’s going to get minutes for Miami and he you need blocks, he could be your guy.
Other Centers who could make their way onto the rankings as the season approaches:
Greg Oden - I’m just not a believer yet. He’s got to get past Marcus Camby for significant minutes. We’ll see.
Erick Dampier – He’s still with Charlotte, but he’s probably going to be waived. His final landing spot will determine his fantasy value.
Ben Wallace – He’s back with Detroit and I’m going to wait to see how his knees are and what kind of minutes the Pistons have planned for him.
Brad Miller – He’s in Houston now and if Yao Ming doesn’t fully recover, Miller could be their center. Regardless, he’s going to get minutes.
Mehmet Okur – Okur is trying to recover from an achilles problem and it’s uncertain when he’s going to be ready. Al Jefferson is probably the new center in Utah anyway, so I’m not sure what role Okur is going to have even when healthy.
Nenad Krstic – The chairthrower should still get minutes in OKC, but I’m not sure how many.
Nick Collison – He’ll be splitting minutes with Krstic and newly drafted Cole Aldrich.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas/Joel Anthony – They should be splitting minutes in Miami, but will either one ever get to touch the basketball?
Spencer Hawes – Hawes has talent and he’s now in Philly with a chance to grab some center minutes there.
Others considered: Anthony Tolliver, Darius Songaila, Nazr Mohammed, Ronny Turiaf, Tiago Splitter, Timofey Mozgov, DeMarcus Cousins.