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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The center position has changed drastically over the last few years. Gone are the days of lumbering big men strictly posting up and patrolling the paint. Nowadays, there is much more emphasis placed on centers who are mobile and can spread the floor with their shooting or passing.

Dwight Howard- Howard has received much criticism for his antics going from team to team.  However, he is still the most talented center in the league and he can match up physically with any post player you throw at him. His biggest strengths are his defense and rebounding, while he may never develop Hakeem-like post moves, he is still good for 18-20 points a night.

Joakim Noah- Noah is exactly what the new breed of centers are supposed to be. He is a great rebounder and defender, having won Defensive Player of the Year this past year, but it’s his passing that really sets him apart. He led his team in assists this past season, which is unprecedented for a center. Although he is not a great scorer, he is a very good offensive player because of his passing and ability to set screens.

Demarcus Cousins- Cousins is arguably the best scoring center in the NBA and his wide array of offensive moves gives him an edge over larger, slower centers. He has improved his jump shooting and can now spread the floor like a power forward and his rebounding is up there with the best of them. He has always been criticized for his defense, but that is slowly improving- watch out if he becomes an above average defender.

Deandre Jordan- Jordan has gone from being an overpaid rebounder to a legitimate member of the Clippers big 3. Doc Rivers has done wonders for him, turning him into a All-Defense type of player, where before he was simply a guy who could be counted on for a few highlight blocks a game. He may be one of the worst offensive centers in the game from a skills standpoint, but he plays within himself and led the league in field goal percentage this past year by only attempting shots that he knew were within his range (about 2 feet and in).

Marc Gasol- Gasol would be hands down the best passing center if it were not for Noah. He has taken over Zach Randolph’s spot as best player for the Grizzlies and they have not missed a beat.  A former Defensive Player of the Year, he sets the tone for the Grizzlies on that end of the floor and you routinely see the Grizzlies running the offense through him at the elbow on the other end.

Honorable Mention- Al Horford, Andre Drummond, Brook Lopez, Al Jefferson

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