10) Jonas Valanciunas
12.8 points per game, 9.1 rebounds per game, 1.3 blocks per game, 56% from the field, 76% at the line, 0.7 assists per game
“JV” as he’s known in the North, put together another solid season. He came close to averaging a double-double and he continued to shoot a decent percentage from the field. He’s not the most athletic big man, but he takes up space and he’s a hard worker. I’m not sure if Drake has used his name in any songs, but I’m sure it’s coming.
9) Nikola Vucevic
18.2 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.1 bpg, .510 fg%, .753 ft%, 2.8 apg
Vucevic is probably the most underrated center in basketball. I probably underrated him myself. One reason for that is he’s never played an entire 82 game season. Another reason is that he’s never been on a really good team. He’s got all the skill you need to be a top big man. He’s a got a sweet jumper and good low post moves. He’s not the best defensively but he’s good for 1 block per game. He’s not Dwight Howard or Shaq but he’s the 3rd best center in Magic history.
8) Dwight Howard
13.7 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 1.6 bpg, .620 fg%, .489 ft%, 1.4 apg
Father time and an unwillingness to improve in the low post may be catching up to Dwight. Even under those circumstances he was able to average a double-double and shoot a very high percentage from the field. He may not have had as many touches as he was used to this season, but he also doesn’t seem to have the same explosiveness he displayed in past seasons. Superman has definitely left the building.
7) Al Horford
15.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.5 bpg, .505 fg%, .798 ft%, 3.2 apg
Horford continued his high level of play again this season. I wasn’t sure if I would put him on the list with the centers or the power forwards, but I went with center because that’s what he is for the Hawks. He’s a good defender for an undersized player, and he’s an adequate scorer. If he can increase his rebounding numbers he’ll be right at the top of this list after next season. One last thing, he seems like he should be on the Spurs, not sure why but it just feels that way to me.
6) Hassan Whiteside
14.2 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 3.7 bpg, .606 fg%, .650 ft%, 0.4 apg
I was tempted to put Whiteside in my top 5, but I chose not to because he came off the bench so much this season (started 43 of 73 games). I want guys I can count on in my top 5. And trust me if an NBA coach thinks he can count on you- especially a legit center- then you’re gonna start. Look, Whiteside is a straight up beast in the paint as a defender and rebounder, but offensively he could use some work on his post game. He’s got a nice midrange jumper, he just needs some counters and a go to move. He’ll easily be in my top 3 after next season if he improves in those areas. He’s also gonna get paid this summer, like over a hundred million. I’m not mad at him at all.
Stats courtesy of http://www.basketball-reference.com