After spending the past four days looking at the top 10 fantasy point guards, shooting guards, small forwards and power forwards, we’ve finally come to the projected top 10 fantasy centers for the 2009-10 NBA season. There’s a lot of room for discussion here, so don’t hold back your thoughts.
1. Dwight Howard: Even though Superman is at No. 1 here, I personally would try my best to avoid him in the first round. Still, I really have no problem with anyone who picks him early on, so long as they understand what they have to do after that. Howard’s atrocious free-throw shooting and turnovers are obvious, but he virtually guarantees that you’ll at least be competitive in rebounds and blocks each week. If you can build around him with players who shoot well from the line and don’t turn the ball over much, then Howard is a great foundation to start your fantasy team on. Also, if you are looking to build a team without regard for free-throw shooting and turnovers, Howard is also a logical first pick for your squad.
2. Al Jefferson: It took me a long time to finally decide to relegate Jefferson to this spot, but it basically came down to the fact that Jefferson is a much bigger health risk than Howard is. Nevertheless, when you draft Jefferson you get great numbers across the board and don’t have to fret much about drafting subsequent players that will make up for his flaws, which you have to do with Howard. Yes, he grabs fewer boards and blocks fewer shots, but his superior scoring, free-throw shooting and turnovers aren’t anything to scoff at. Jefferson gives you a better shot at winning every category each week than Howard does. He’s a sexy sports car that comes in automatic; Howard is an exotic sports car that only comes in manual. The choice is up to you.
3. Brook Lopez: There’s a good deal of hype surrounding this kid, and for good reason. He had a fantastic rookie season where he showed his ability to deliver all the stats you’d want from your starting fantasy center – solid rebounds, blocks, shooting percentages and low turnovers. Lopez is set to take a solid step forward this season and will see more than the 30 minutes he saw per game last year. His small-time name could allow you to nab him later than he should go in most drafts. Expect really good things from the Nets’ center this season.
4. Andrea Bargnani: The Raptor with a girl’s name finally asserted himself as a big man to be reckoned with last year, boosting his production in nearly every category. He’s a center who will hit almost two three-pointers each game, block shots and shoot a very high percentage from the line. Bargnani should benefit from Hedo Turkoglu’s presence on the team, as he’ll spread the court more. He’ll get more minutes this year and with trade rumors swirling around Chris Bosh, Bargnani could be a real steal in your drafts.
5. Al Horford: The young Hawks center is set to get more touches this season, according to coach Mike Woodson, and with his health back, Horford looks ready to take a shot at averaging a double-double, along with a steal and a block or two per game. His solid shooting percentages make him even more appealing. If he can stay healthy, Horford should benefit from more minutes and improved production this season.
6. Andris Biedrins: He’s the white, mini-Dwight Howard. He’s great for rebounds, a high field goal percentage, steals, blocks and low turnovers, but his free-throw shooting is just as bad as Howard’s. His health is a bit of a concern, and with the blossoming of Anthony Randolph there may be competition for rebounds and blocks, but Biedrins remains a solid fantasy center.
7. David Lee: He’s a center who gives you great rebounds and shooting percentages along with a steal per game, but that’s just about what Zach Randolph gives you. While the love for Lee in fantasy circles is understandable, until he blocks more shots he won’t be as valuable as he seems. If you have a team that is set with blocks then Lee will be a great addition, but the lack of blocks from this center keeps him from being higher on this list.
8. Mehmet Okur: You know what you’re getting when you draft Okur – solid shooting percentages, 1+ threes, 7+ rebounds and 16+ points, along with low turnovers and less than a steal and block per night. With the continued development of Paul Millsap, Okur may have trouble maintaining his minutes, but his numbers shouldn’t be affected much. A Carlos Boozer trade would free him up to boost his production, but until that happens Okur’s ceiling is set.
9. Nene: He’d be higher on this list if it weren’t for his fragile health. He’s back after suffering a fractured left forearm and has played pretty well during the preseason. When healthy, Nene gives you great shooting percentages, solid rebounds, low turnovers, 1+ steals and 1+ blocks per game. If you’re confident about his health feel free to boost him up on this list, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
10. Andrew Bynum: We know Bynum’s story by now – he’ll get you the type of stats you want from a fantasy center, but he has a body made of cracked glass. Whether he starts or comes off the bench Bynum is a valuable asset when healthy, but he’s as touch-and-go as they come.
On the cusp: Luis Scola, Emeka Okafor, Spencer Hawes, Marc Gasol, Greg Oden, Marcus Camby
What do you think?
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