Dec 16, 2011 Blog
Below are the initial 2011-2012 NBA Fantasy Basketball Center draft rankings for all 30 teams. I have placed a copy of the rankings under the 2011-2012 Draft Rankings Tab at the top of the homepage for easy access as drafts approach.
Tier 1 – The 2011-2012 Fantasy Basketball All-Stars
1 Dwight Howard (ORL) – Whether he’s in Orlando or any of the other 29 teams, he’s the man at Center. He is probably a tier all to himself. 2010 stats: 22.9 PPG, 14.1 RPG, 2.4 BLKG and 1.4 SPG. Yes, the 59.8 FT% hurts, but the 59.3 FG% soothes some of that fantasy pain. The only real drawback here is all the trade speculation, but I don’t think Howard is the type of person to let that distraction harm his game.
2 Al Horford (ATL) – Horford is probably the most consistent center on the board, and that’s definitely worth something. He posted 15.3 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 3.5 APG, .8 SPG, 1.0 BLKG. He’s got a career FG% of 53.6 and a career FT% of 76.2. One thing that probably slips by most drafters is the fact that Horford has the highest assists per 36 number at 3.5 per/36 than any other center on the board, which is a nice bonus from the center spot.
3 Al Jefferson (UTA) – Jefferson put up good stats in Utah last season and got big minutes because the Jazz were a little short on big men. Mehmet Okur is healthy again and the Jazz will surely want to get Enes Kanter some minutes, so Jefferson’s stats might drop tiny bit from last season’s 18.7 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 1.9 BLKG. He’s still great value though and one of the better scoring centers.
4 Joakim Noah (CHI) – Noah had some health issues last season but still put up a very respectable 11.7 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.5 BLKG. He’s healthy this season and has an all-around solid game that will help you in every category.
5 Andrew Bogut (MIL) – Bogut seems to be over the elbow problems from 2010 and ready to improve on his 2010 stats of 12.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG and 2.6 BLKG. I think the elbow probably had the most effect on his scoring dropping from 15.9 PPG in 2009 to just 12.8 PPG in 2010. The scoring should bounce back up to a near career high this season.
Tier 2 – Potential All-Star Performers
6 Andrew Bynum (LAL) – Bynum says he’s completely healthy and the Lakers could increase his minutes to around 34.0 per game, up from the 27.8 MPG he played last season. Lamar Odom is gone and those minutes will likely go to Bynum. If he can push himself to 34-36 minutes per game, you can expect a line of 15.0 PPG, 12.0 RPG and 2.5 BLKG. As always, the risk with Bynum is an injury.
7 Nene (DEN) – Nene decided to re-sign with Denver and that’s probably where he has the most fantasy value. The guy is as solid as the come and should post something very similar to his 2010 stats of 14.5 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 1.1 SPG, 1.0 BLKG. The Nuggets don’t have Kenyon Martin this season and they don’t really have any other quality bigs either, so Nene could see a bump in his minutes to around 34.0 per game, up from last season’s 30.5 MPG.
8 Greg Hibbert (IND) – So much potential and I think he’s just a step away from putting it all together. There are stretches where he looks like an all-star and then there are stretches where he looks completly lost. His biggest fantasy problem is his personal fouls, but he improved his fouls per/36 to 4.1 per/36 which was down from 5.0 per/36 in 2009. If he can continue to get his fouls under control, his minutes will go up and so will his fantasy stats.
9 Brook Lopez (NJN) – The next two guys on the board are not really like the others and are suitable for owners who want extra scoring from their centers but willing to sacrifice rebounds. Lopez posted 20.4 points per game in 2010 but saw his rebounds drop all the way to 6.0 RPG. He did still manage to block 1.5 shots a game. His career 80.1 FT% is also a big plus and will help owners who focus their strategy on percentages.
10 Andreas Bargnani (TOR) – Bargnani and Lopez are nearly identical players statwise, but Bargnani has a bit more perimeter oriented game than Brook. Guys who are seeking to build around the three point category will probably want to move Bargnani just ahead of Lopez in their rankings. Bargnani is a little weaker rebounder and shot blocker than Lopez. Bargnani’s 2010 stats: 21.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG, .7 BLKG, 3.4 3PAG.
Tier 3 – Dependable Value
11 Tim Duncan (SAS) – It really hurts to rank Duncan this low, but at nearly 36 years old his minutes fell to a career low of 28.4 MPG and will probably do so even more in this shortened season. He’s always a threat to miss games at random for rest. He still produces though, as his per 36 stats haven’t really fallen off at all. 28 minutes of Duncan is usually better than 30+ minutes of the guys below him on the list.
12 Marcin Gortat (PHO) – Gortat was a monster toward the end of last season and the question is whether he can keep that going this season. I think he can. Robin Lopez doesn’t seem to offer much competition for minutes at this point, so the starting job and 30+ MPG should be safe with Gortat. His 2010 stats after arriving in Phoenix: 13.0 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 1.3 BLKG.
13 Marc Gasol (MEM) – Gasol had a disappointing season in 2010, but he’s been given a big new contract and he should bounce back from the health problems that plagued him last year. He ended 2010 with 11.7 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.7 BLKG. The real story was in his minutes where he dropped to 31.9 per game in 2010, down from the 35.9 MPG he played in 2009. Now that he’s healthy, he could bounce back to 35+.
14 JaVale McGee (WAS) – McGee is the king of blocked shots for centers. His 3.2 blocks per/36 was the best mark for all centers. He’s also got a nice scoring touch dropping 10.1 PPG while grabbing 8.0 rebounds a game. McGee should continue to improve.
15 Chris Kaman (NOH) – Kaman was sent to the Hornets in the Chris Paul trade where he should step in and start at center with Emeka Okafor at PF. Kaman has some scoring ability as evidenced by his 2009 season when he put up 18.5 PPG. New Orleans will need all the scoring it can get from Kaman. He also escapes having to compete with DeAndre Jordan for minutes. Look for Kaman to get back to 33-35 MPG with 15-17 PPG.
Tier 4 – The 10 Point, 10 Rebound Double-Double Club
16 DeAndre Jordan (LAC) – While Jordan is a great rebounder and shot blocker, his offensive game hasn’t developed yet and with Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler and Blake Griffin on the floor the Clippers aren’t looking for offense from Jordan. He’ll get ally-oops from Paul to the tune of about 10 points per game. The other problem with Jordan is his fouls. He’s been at 4.5 personal fouls per/36 in all three of his pro seasons. If he maintains that rate, his minutes and fantasy stats could disappoint.
17 Emeka Okafor (NOR) – I had Okafor on a few teams last season and he was seeing the bench a lot in the fourth quarter when the team needed offense. He posted a career low 10.3 PPG in 2010 and I don’t expect much change this season. He could find himself at PF with Kaman at Center. Okafor is a solid rebounder (9.5 RPG) and shot blocker (1.8 BLKG).
18 Anderson Varejao (CLE) – Varejao will be asked to play center this season simply because the Cavs just don’t have anyone else. He’s dealth with some injury problems, but if he can stay healthy he’ll get big minutes. Expect 10.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG and 1.2 BLKG.
19 Chuck Hayes (SAC) – Hayes was great sleeper center play last season off the waiver wire, but you’ll have to pay up for him in 2011. The Kings locked him up for four years and gave him the starting center spot. Hayes should qualify perfectly for the 10 PPG, 10 RPG tier.
20 Tyson Chandler (NYK) – Chandler posted 10.3 PPG, 9.4 RPG and 1.1 BLKG last season with Dallas and should post something similar with the Knicks. He’s never been a huge scorer with his high mark being 11.8 PPG in 2008 when he got 35.2 MPG. He’s a better real life asset than he is fantasy asset.
21 Kendrick Perkins (OKC) – Perkins showed up at Thunder camp in excellent shape having dropped 32 pounds, which should take some stress off his knees. The Thunder could give him around 30 minutes a game which could produce a solid 10.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 1.2 BLKG season.
Tier 5 – Eveyone Else
22 Brandon Haywood (DAL) – Haywood inherits the starting center spot now that Tyson Chandler has gone to New York. Haywood isn’t flashy and he’s 32 years old, but he could get you 8 PPG, 8 RPG and maybe climb into the double-double tier as his ceiling.
23 Jermaine O’Neal (BOS) – O’Neal says he’s healthy, but he also said that last year, and the year before that too I think. Shaq is gone, Glen Davis is gone, so Jermaine is going to have to step up and play some minutes. He’s just a huge injury risk though in this compressed season.
24 Spencer Hawes (PHI) – I keep waiting for Hawes to get his fantasy act together, but it just never happens, and may never happen. He turns 24 this season and I think the Sixers need to give him some serious run to see what he can do. He’s either going to make a big leap of progress or he’ll likely be traded, stuck to the bench or simply outright waived. Big risk, big reward on Hawes.
25 Darko Milicic (MIN) – He’s still the starter in Minnesota and he actually managed to put up 8.8 PPG and 2.0 BLKG in 2010 in just 24.4 MPG. His rebounds were a bit low with just 5.2 per game, but that’s probably to be expected with Kevin Love grabbing 15.2 per game. If he can get a tick up in minutes to 27-28, he might be draftable late.
26 Marcus Camby (POR) – I love Camby’s game, but he’s almost 38 years old and just not a fantasy asset anymore. His scoring dropped to just 4.7 PPG last season and that’s just a fantasy buzzkill. He did pick up 10.3 RPG and 1.6 BLKG, but that’s just not enough to overcome the lack of scoring. His name alone will have him going too high in drafts, avoid him.
27 Andris Biedrins/Kwame Brown – Not sure what the Warriors plans are for this timeshare, but it can’t be good for the fantasy value of either player. The guy with upside here is Kwame if you want to gamble.
28 Ben Wallace (DET) – Will get some rebounds, but really isn’t draftable, especially if the Pistons go with Greg Monroe at Center rather than PF.
29 DeSagana Diop (CHA) – He’s the only center on the Bobcats roster after losing Kwame Brown. I’m guessing the Bobcats will run small and go with Diaw at center, but you never know.
30 Hasheem Thabeet (HOU) – Houston lost Chuck Hayes and really have no one else to play center, why not plug Thabeet in and see what he can do?
31 Joel Anthony (MIA) – Absolutely not.
Waiver Wire Centers: Jason Thompson, Mehmet Okur, Zaza Pachulia, Omer Asik, Chris Wilcox, Jeff Foster, Robin Lopez, Joel Przybilla, Kurt Thomas