An almost comprehensive and only marginally biased breakdown of every starting center in the NBA

January 12, 2012

When he isn't asking for a trade, he is The Best

By Jack Maidment

Greg Stiemsma is currently the starting center for the Boston Celtics.

If that is not a good enough reason to examine the state of the center position in the NBA right now, I don’t know what is, so here is a breakdown of the 30 brave souls who are starting down low this season.

Safe to say this could get interesting.

STUDS. There are two and only two and one is significantly better and more reliable than the other. Simply put, Dwight Howard is far and away the best big man in the NBA. Then there is Andrew Bynum who, when his knees aren’t on vacation, is a monster. Consistently. These are the only truly elite centers in the NBA right now. Good start.

GOOD, COULD BE GREAT. Andrew Bogut. Before his elbow almost fell off, the Australian was on his way to becoming a very good and almost great player. He rebounds, he scores, he cares. What’s not to love?

Even though I know he will make me regret it, DeMarcus Cousins also makes this tier. Hear me out. When he isn’t being a petulant teenager he is really good. I’m not sure he will figure it out in Sacramento but soon enough I believe he will. He is too talented and too big not to.

NEVER GOING TO BE STARS BUT VALUABLE. This group is the most diverse and ranges from very valuable to better-than-solid. All of them have issues which prevent them being ranked higher. But they all do really good things for their teams. They include: Tyson Chandler (see Championship, Dallas), Kendrick Perkins (see Defense, Scowl), Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Marc Gasol (almost made the next level), Al Jefferson.

TABLE GUYS. They giveth and they taketh away. Usually excel at one thing, struggle elsewhere. But ultimately valuable in some way: Nene, Andereson Varejao, Chris Kaman, Joel Anthony, Brook Lopez (scores, but I like my centers to rebound – I’m old fashioned), Marcus Camby.

UP AND COMERS. Could go either way. Will probably end up as either table guys or NGTBSBV guys. Greg Monroe, DeAndre Jordan, JaVale McGee (Just. He should be putting it together by now)

GUYS THAT MAKE YOU SAY URGGGGH, YEAH, HE’S OKAY. Roy Hibbert, Marcin Gortat. Enough said.

TEAR JERKERS. Players who make you cry when you see them hit the floor for the tip. Usually overpaid. More frustrating than anything else. Brendan Haywood, Kwame Brown, Samuel Dalembert, Darko Milicic.

NOT CENTERS AND PROBABLY MUTANTS. Harsh, but probably fair. Andrea Bargnani because he is 7ft tall and had three rebounds last year (look it up), DeJaun Blair because I’m pretty sure I read he has no knees.

WHO? Greg Stiemsma. Byron Mullens. Spencer Hawes (didn’t know about Spencer ‘I work out with Shawn Kemp’ Hawes, so he landed here. Apologies). If anyone can tell me where these guys played college ball, that would be great. Thanks.

That’s your 30.