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Nene Photo: Keith Allison/Flickr

Ranking the NBA’s 10 best: Centers

After ranking my top 10 Point Guards, Shooting Guards, Small Forwards and Power Forwards, we arrive finally at the Centers. The guys who can dominate on the glass, shot-block, fill the lane, finish on the offensive end with power or finesse. Just who are the best big men in the league? Here are my rankings of the top 10 centers in the NBA….

10. Al Jefferson

Al Jefferson Photo: Doug Wallick/Flickr

Al Jefferson Photo: Doug Wallick/Flickr

PPG RPG

APG

BPG

18.6

9.7

1.8

1.9

Last off-season, the Jazz offloaded Carlos Boozer’s chunky contract and replaced it with Al Jefferson’s rather shorter but still chunky contract. What they got was a younger, better and more consistent low-post scorer. Jefferson put up double-digit points and rebounds for three straight seasons with the Celtics and Timberwolves and almost did it again last season with the Jazz.
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9. Marc Gasol

Marc Gasol Photo: Truthaboutit/Flickr

Marc Gasol Photo: Truthaboutit/Flickr

PPG

RPG

APG BPG
11.7 7.0 2.5 1.7

This season, Marc Gasol has seriously shaken off the tag of the Gasol you never really heard about. Playing for brother Pau’s former team, the younger Gasol put up steady numbers in the regular season. However, in the postseason he averaged 15.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game as Memphis detonated San Antonio and almost knocked out the Thunder. The younger Gasol has a bright future and looks to have formed an awesome partnership with Zach Randolph on Memphis’s front line.
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8. Brook Lopez

Brook Lopez Photo: Keith Allison/Flickr

Brook Lopez Photo: Keith Allison/Flickr

PPG RPG

APG

BPG

20.4

6.0

1.6

1.5

If the younger Gasol is putting up big numbers, then the elder of the Lopez brothers also had a solid season. Brook Lopez improved his points production this year to a whopping 20.4 points per game, but dropped off in rebounds by over two per game – a worrying stat that your center is only grabbing six boards a game, and only 3.5 game on the defensive end. However, with New Jersey looking to make big free agent acquisitions, Lopez needs to have a rebound season next year, which he will if surrounded by solid talent.
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7. Nene

Nene Photo: Keith Allison/Flickr

Nene Photo: Keith Allison/Flickr

PPG

RPG

APG

BPG

14.5

7.6

2.0

1.0

Nene has stepped out of the shadows of Marcus Camby as the Nuggets starting center and he’s excelled, averaging 14 points and a shade over 7.5 boards in each of his last three seasons. He’s a standout player rather than spectacular, but he’s going to be a much sort after free agent once the lockout is over.
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6. Andrew Bynum

Andrew Bynum, Photo: Mark Redford

Andrew Bynum, Photo: Mark Redford

PPG

RPG

APG

BPG

11.3

9.4

1.4

2.0

Andrew Bynum is a massive presence for the LA Lakers, both literally and figuratively. Bynum’s defensive presence and toughness are an awesome combination alongside Pau Gasol on the Lakers’ front line. The health of his knees are always a discussion point and he always seems one fall away from a lengthy spell on the sidelines – in only two of his six seasons has he managed to play over 60 games.
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