Ranking the best centers in the NBA today

The center position is as diverse as any in basketball. Some coaches rely on their centers to patrol the paint, control the glass and protect the rim while others need them to be the focal point of the offense. Which ever way a coaches decides to use his five man, they are very important to the success of any team.

Here is my ranking of the best centers in the NBA today. These rankings are based on what each player did in the 2014-15 season.

30. Nikola Pekovic, Minnesota Timberwolves

Pekovic saw his season marred by injuries, but had some nice moments when he was on the floor. One of his best games of the year came in an 11-point win over the Detroit Pistons when he totaled 29 points on 9-for-16 shooting from the floor and 11-for-12 from the free-throw line. He added three rebounds and two steals in 32:30.

For the season, he appeared in 29 games and averaged 12.5 points on 42.4 percent shooting with 7.5 rebounds in 26.3 minutes.

29. Andrea Bargnani, New York Knicks

While he has never lived up to being the first pick in the draft, Bargnani can still do some damage on the offensive end. One of his best showings of the year came in a 10-point win over the Philadelphia 76ers we he recorded 25 points on 8-for-15 shooting from the floor, including 2-for-3 from the 3-point arc. He added eight rebounds, four assists and four blocks in 34:28.

For the season, he appeared in 29 games and averaged 14.8 points on 45.4 percent shooting with 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 27.1 minutes.

28. Alex Len, Phoenix Suns

Len is starting to show why the Suns used a top five pick on him in the 2013 draft. One of his best outings of the year came in a 13-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers when he had 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the floor and 3-for-3 from the free-throw line. He added 11 rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block in 25:49.

For the season, he appeared in 69 games and averaged 6.3 points on 50.7 percent shooting with 6.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 22 minutes.

27. Jusuf Nurkic, Denver Nuggets

Although his minutes were limited for most of the season, Nurkic showed that he has a bright future in the NBA. One of his best performances of the year came in an eight-point loss to the Los Angeles Lakers when he recorded 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the floor. He added eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks in 27:08.

For the season, he appeared in 62 games and averaged 6.9 points on 44.6 percent shooting with 6.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 17.8 minutes.

26. Jordan Hill, Los Angeles Lakers

Hill was given extra opportunities to show that he could help the Lakers and he delivered with career highs in point, rebounds and assists. One of his best outings of the year came in a five point win over the Chicago Bulls when he managed 26 points on 50 percent shooting from the floor and 4-for-6 from the free-throw line. He added 12 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal in 41:28.

For the season, he appeared in 70 games and averaged a career-high 12.0 points on 45.9 percent shooting with 7.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 26.8 minutes.

25. Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers

Hibbert had a down year by his standards, but still put up some solid numbers for the Pacers. One of his best games of the year came in a 12-point win over the Philadelphia 76ers when he had 22 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the field and 10-for-13 from the free-throw line. He added eight rebounds and seven blocks in 32:17.

For the season, he appeared in 76 games and averaged 10.6 points on 44.6 percent shooting with 7.1 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.1 assists in 25.3 minutes.

24. Omer Asik, New Orleans Pelicans

Asik did an excellent job on the backboards during his first season with the New Orleans Pelicans. One of his best outings of the year came in a 17-point win over the Orlando Magic when he registered 14 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the floor. He added 17 rebounds, five blocks and two assists in 33:30.

For the season, he appeared in 76 games and averaged 7.3 points on 51.7 percent shooting with 9.8 rebounds in 26.1 minutes.

23. Zaza Pachulia, Milwaukee Bucks

Pachulia had a really solid year as the Bucks made it to the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. One of his best games of the year came in a two-point loss to the Brooklyn Nets when he had 22 points on 9-for-16 shooting from the floor and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. He added a season-high 21 rebounds, seven assists and a steal in 40:06.

For the season, he appeared in 73 games and averaged 8.3 points on 45.4 percent shooting with 6.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals in 23.7 minutes.

22. Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia 76ers

Noel had a tremendous all-round rookie campaign with the Philadelphia 76ers. One of his most impressive performances of the year came in a 16-point win over the New York Knicks when he had 23 points on 9-for-14 shooting from the floor and 5-for-7 from the free-throw line. He added 14 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end with five steals, three blocks and an assist in 32:03.

For the season, he appeared in 75 games and averaged 9.9 points on 46.2 percent shooting with 8.1 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, 1.8 steals and 1.7 assists in 30.8 minutes.

21. Timofey Mozgov, Cleveland Cavaliers

Mozgov was just the big man the Cavaliers needed after they lost Anderson Varejao for the season. He provided a much-needed rim protector on defense  while doing a nice job converting on the offensive end. One of his best outings of the year came in a 20-point win over the Miami Heat when he had 20 points on 9-for-11 shooting from the floor. He added eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 33:33.

During his time in Cleveland, he appeared in 46 games and averaged 10.6 points on 59 percent shooting with 6.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 25 minutes.

20. Robin Lopez, Portland Trail Blazers

Lopez had another solid season even though he missed more than a quarter of the year with injuries. One of his best showings of the year came in a 19-point win over the Cleveland Cavaliers when he had 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting from the floor and 3-for-4 from the free-throw line. He added six boards, three steals, two assists and a block in 29:15.

For the season, he appeared in 59 games and averaged 9.6 points on 53.5 percent shooting with 6.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 27.8 minutes.

19. Tiago Splitter, San Antonio Spurs

Like a number of other centers, Splitter struggled to get on the floor during the year. When he was in the lineup, he provided valuable front court support in limited minutes. One of his best showings of the season came in a 19-point win over the Atlanta Hawks when he had 23 points on 10-for-14 shooting from the floor and 3-for-4 from the free-throw line. He added eight rebounds and two assists in 27:09.

For the season, he appeared in 52 games and averaged 8.2 points on 55.8 percent shooting with 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 19.8 minutes.

18. Tyler Zeller, Boston Celtics

Zeller proved to be an excellent offseason acquisition for the Boston Celtics. On of his most impressive performances of the year came in a 17-point win over the Loa Angeles Lakers when he managed 24 points on 10-for-11 shooting from the floor and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. He added a season-high 14 rebounds, two assists and a block in 31:08

For the season, he appeared in 82 games and averaged 10.2 points on 54.9 percent shooting with 5.7 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 21.1 minutes.

17. Al Jefferson, Charlotte Hornets

Jefferson took a step back offensively during his second season in Charlotte. In fact he averaged his lowest point total in since he left the Boston Celtics. One of his best showings of the year came in a three-point win over the Atlanta Hawks when he registered 34 points on 15-for-24 shooting from the field. He added nine rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal in 41:06.

For the season, he appeared in 65 games and averaged 16.6 points on 48.1 percent shooting with 8.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 blocks in 30.6 minutes.

16. Enes Kanter, Oklahoma City Thunder

Kanter made a splash on the offensive end from the moment he landed in Oklahoma City, but still has a difficult time on the other end of the floor. One of his best performances of the year came in a four-point loss to the Dallas Mavericks when he registered 30 points on 9-for-13 shooting from the floor and 11-for-12 from the free-throw line. He added 16 rebounds, an assist and a block in 38:22.

During his time with Oklahoma City, he appeared in 26 games and averaged 18.7 points on 56.6 percent shooting with 11.0 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 31.1 minutes.

15. Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors

Valanciunas put up another really solid campaign even though his minutes were down from the year before. One of his best games of the year came in a three-point loss to the Detroit Pistons when he recorded 31 points on 14-for-15 shooting from the floor and 3-for-4 from the free-throw line. He added 12 rebounds and a block in 35:36.

For the season, he appeared in 80 games and averaged 12.0 points on 57.2 percent shooting with 8.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 26.2 minutes.

14. Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat

Whiteside burst onto the national radar with a couple of monstrous performances before settling in to have a nice season. One of his best showings of the year came in a one-point loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves when he had 24 points on 12-for-13 shooting from the floor. He added 20 rebounds, including nine on the offensive end to go along with three steals and two blocks in 35:31.

For the season, he appeared in 48 games and averaged 11.8 points on 62.8 percent shooting with 10.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 23.8 minutes.

13. Marcin Gortat, Washington Wizards

Gortat had another solid campaign in his second season with the Washington Wizards. One of his mort impressive outings came in a 13-point win over the Philadelphia 76ers when he finished with 23 points on 10-for-11 shooting from the floor and 3-for-4 from the free-throw line. He added 14 rebounds, three assists and two blocks in 31:01.

For the season, he started all 82 games and averaged 12.2 points on 56.6 percent shooting with 8.7 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.2 assists in 29.9 minutes.

12. Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets

Lopez is one of the most skilled offensive big men in the game today. One of his best games of the year came in a two-point win over the Milwaukee Bucks when he had 32 points on 13-for-20 shooting from the floor and 6-for-6 from the free-throw line. He added 18 rebounds, five blocks and two assists in 41:45.

For the season, he appeared in 72 games and averaged 17.2 points on 51.3 percent shooting with 7.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 29.2 minutes.

11. Andrew Bogut, Golden State Warriors

Bogut isn’t asked to do much on the offensive end, but he is one of the premier defenders in the league. One of his best performances of the year came in a eight-point win over the Brooklyn Nets when he had 11 points on 4-for-7 shooting from the floor. He added 14 rebounds, five assists, four blocks and a steal in 31:00.

For the season, he appeared in 67 games and averaged 6.3 points on 56.3 percent shooting with 8.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.7 blocks in 23.6 minutes.

10. Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

Noah had another impressive season on the defensive end of the floor, but struggled offensively. One of his most impressive outings of the year came in a two-point win over the Golden State Warriors when he totaled 18 points on 7-for-12 shooting from the floor and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. He added 15 rebounds, six assists and a pair of steals in 40:19.

For the season, he appeared in 67 games and averaged 7.2 points on a career-low 44.5 percent shooting with 9.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.1 blocks in 30.6 minutes.

9. Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons

Drummond is one of the elite rebounders and worst free-throw shooters in the game today. One of his best games of the year came in a seven-point loss to the Boston Celtics when he had 27 points on 12-for-18 shooting from the floor. He added 14 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end to go along with five blocks and four steals in 39:02.

For the season, he appeared in 82 games and averaged 13.8 points on 51.4 percent shooting with 13.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 30.5 minutes.

8. Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic

Vucevic had an all-star caliber year even though the Orlando Magic didn’t have a successful season. One of his best outings of the year came in a 13-point win over the Minnesota Timberwolves when he finished with 37 points on 18-for-25 shooting from the floor. He added 17 rebounds, two assists and a steal in 40:08.

For the season, he appeared in 74 games and averaged 19.3 points on 52.3 percent shooting with 10.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 34.2 minutes.

7. Tyson Chandler, Dallas Mavericks

The return to the Dallas Mavericks was exactly what Chandler needed to have another big season. One of his best showings of the year came in a seven-point win  over the Philadelphia 76ers when he managed 20 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the floor and 6-for-7 from the free-throw line. He added 13 rebounds, four steals and three assists in 31:47.

For the season, he appeared in 75 games and averaged 10.3 points on 66.6 percent shooting with 11.5 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.1 assists in 30.5 minutes.

6. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

His defensive performance throughout the season was one of the best in the league, but his offensive efficiency was also top-notch. One of his most impressive performances of the year came in a 18-point win over the Houston Rockets when he finished with 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting from the floor and 3-for-3 from the free-throw line. He added 22 rebounds, four blocks and two assists in 35:33.

For the season, he appeared in 82 games and averaged 8.4 points on 60.4 percent shooting with 9.5 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 1.3 assists in 26.3 minutes.

5. Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets

Injuries limited Howard for a good chunk of the season, but when he was on the floor, he was still one of the best in the game. One his most impressive performances of the season came in a 17-point win over the San Antonio Spurs when he had 32 points on 12-for-18 shooting from the floor and 8-for-13 from the line. He added 16 rebounds, two blocks and a steal in 32:38.

For the season, he appeared in 41 games and averaged 15.8 points on 59.3 percent shooting with 10.5 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.2 assists in 29.8 minutes.

4. Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks

Horford made it to his third all-star game in a last six years thanks to some terrific play for the Atlanta Hawks. One of his best showings of the season came in a 18-point win over the Philadelphia 76ers when he managed 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting from the floor and 5-for-6 from the free-throw line. He added 10 rebounds, 10 assists and a block in 29:07.

For the season, he appeared in 76 games and averaged 15.2 points on 53.8 percent shooting with 7.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.3 blocks in 30.5 minutes.

3. DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers

Jordan is one of the best finishers in the game today and a tremendous rebounder. He earned first-team all-defense and third-team all-NBA after leading the league in rebounding. One of his best games of the year came in a 17-point win over the Dallas Mavericks when he had 22 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the floor and a respectable 6-for-9 from the free-throw line. He added 27 rebounds, including 11 on the offensive end to go along with three blocks and a steal in 38:58.

For the season, he appeared in 82 games and averaged 11.5 points on 71.0 percent shooting with 15.0 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 1.0 steals in 34.4 minutes.

2. DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings

Cousins made his first all-star game appearance and earned second-team all-NBA thanks to a dominating campaign for the Sacramento Kings. One of his best showings of the year came in a seven-point loss to the Philadelphia 76ers when he had 39 points on 50 percent shooting from the floor and 15-for-20 from the free-throw line. He added 24 rebounds, two steals and a block in 40:14.

For the season, he appeared in 59 games and averaged 24.1 points on 46.7 percent shooting with 12.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.7 blocks and 1.5 steals in 34.1 minutes.

1. Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies

Gasol doesn’t put up the most impressive stats, but he is the most complete center in the game. He made his second all-star game and earned first-team all-NBA after leading the Grizzlies to another good season. One of his most impressive performances of the year came in a 12-point win over the Indiana Pacers when he had 33 points on 13-for-19 shooting from the floor and 7-for-9 from the free-throw line. He added 13 rebounds, two steals and a block in 37:42.

For the season, he appeared 81 games and averaged 17.4 points on 49.4 percent shooting with 7.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.6 blocks in 33.2 minutes.

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