The center position in the NBA used to be the easiest one to rank for one reason, there were only a handful of good ones so it didn’t matter who fell in the last few spots. That has all changed in the last few years, especially since a handful of great power forwards have moved over to the 5 spot. Whittling the list down to ten was very difficult so I’ve decided to mention some of the players who just missed the list. Nikola Pekovic, Nikola Vucevic, Larry Sanders, Al Jefferson, Tyson Chandler and Roy Hibbert all fell short of top ten status. Other than Hibbert, all of them are one-dimensional players who would probably make the list if they played the other end of the floor. As for Hibbert, although he was huge in the Pacers playoff run, he really struggled during the regular season. He just wasn’t good enough in 2012-13 to crack the top ten.
10. Brook Lopez- Lopez is a very gifted offensive player, who can beat you with a number of different moves. The reason he lands at ten on my list is because he isn’t a dominant rebounder. In fact, he is one of the worst rebounding centers in the entire league. In 2012-13, Lopez averaged 19.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks a night.
9. Kevin Garnett- Garnett is long past his prime and playing a different position than in his younger years but is still a really solid player. Garnett settles for deep jumpers far too often because he has lost a step on the offensive end of the floor but makes the list because of his defense and intensity. That doesn’t mean “KG” is useless on offense as he still averaged 14.8 points and a couple of assists a night. It will be interesting to see how he blends into the talent laden Nets roster this upcoming season.
8. DeMarcus Cousins- Cousins is a terrible decision maker, especially when it comes to his shot selection, but his talent is undeniable. If he can get his head screwed on straight, Cousins will be unstoppable. For all his flaws, Cousins still managed to average 17.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals a game.
7. Chris Bosh- Bosh isn’t a natural center and definitely doesn’t play like one. Ever since he left Toronto to try to win championships, Bosh’s game has changed dramatically. With the Raptors, Bosh was a back to the basket player who could finish around the rim. In Miami, he is relegated to being a spot up shooter and garbage man. Even though that role doesn’t fit him well at all, Bosh has still found a way to make his presence felt. Bosh averaged 16.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks a game while winning his second title.
6. Greg Monroe- with the progression of Andre Drummond, there is no doubt that Monroe will be making the transition to the power forward spot in the very near future. For now though, he is a center and a very good one. Monroe can do a little bit of everything on the floor. Even though his field goal percentage has dropped three straight years, Monroe can really score the ball. He is also a really solid rebounder and a decent defender. Last season, Monroe averaged 16 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals a game.
5. Al Horford- Horford had a great bounce back season after missing most of 2011-12 due to injury. He averaged 17.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks a game. This season should be even brighter now that he doesn’t have to contend with the like of Josh Smith for touches.
4. Joakim Noah- Noah isn’t your prototypical NBA big man. He can dominate a game without having to have a play run for him which is why Noah only averaged 11.9 points a game last season. Noah’s main contributions come from a direct result of his hustle. Last season, Noah averaged 11.1 rebounds a game, of which 3.9 were on the offensive end to go along with 4 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.1 blocks.
3. Marc Gasol- Gasol is a great defensive player, as shown by the fact that he was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2012-13. He is also very effective on the offensive end of the floor. Gasol averaged 14.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 1.7 blocks a game, while leading the Grizzles to the Western Conference Finals.
2. Tim Duncan- Duncan has been one of the premier players in the NBA since he entered the league in 1997. That didn’t change in 2012-13 as Duncan had his best season in three years and was a huge piece of the Spurs finals appearance. Duncan averaged 17.8 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.7 blocks a game while making the All-NBA first team for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
1. Dwight Howard- Howard was not a fit with Kobe Bryant or the Los Angeles Lakers and had his worst season in more than five years to show for it. With that said Howard is still the best center in the NBA and will be for years to come. His ridiculous physical gifts outweigh all of his crap other than his horrid free throw shooting. Even on a really down year, Howard averaged 17.1 points on 57.8 percent field goal shooting to go along with 12.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.4 blocks a game. Just imagine what kind of numbers he could put up if Howard could make a free throw.