The center position is one at which you rarely find a player that fulfills the requirements of a center. A center has the responsibility of rebounding the basketball, setting picks, anchoring a defense, and protecting the rim. They are almost like the middle linebacker on a football field. These five centers listed below not only do all of these things, but they do them better than anyone else in the league.
- DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings)
– It is hard to remember the last time I saw a center as skilled as DeMarcus Cousins. He reminds me of Hakeem Olajuwan in terms of his ability to handle the ball on the perimeter. He has gained control of his emotions this season, and it has paid dividends for the Kings. Putting up some crazy numbers and he is doing it in multiple ways. From having his back to the basket to stepping out and hitting jumpers, Cousins can hurt you in so many ways. You have to pick your poison and hope he has an off night.
- Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons)
– He is the best rebounder of this group. He crashes the boards with like a madman and controls the glass on the defensive end. His offensive game is improving immensely, but he does most of his damage on putbacks and running the floor right now. On the defensive end, he blocks shots and changes others, which helps to anchor this renewed Detroit defense. He is a lot like his great predecessor in Ben Wallace, but with an offensive game that will make him a great superstar for many years to come.
- Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies)
– He looks and plays like an old-school big man with that Euro twist that has become a staple in the NBA today. He is a banger in the post, but has an amazingly soft touch around the rim and at the free throw line. He is a lot like his brother, but with his wrestler-like build, is able to score in the paint more. Along with Cousins, he has the best game in terms of jump-shooting out of this group. He defines the “grindhouse” mentality of the Grizzlies, but does it on the defensive end as well, proving so when he won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2013.
- Dwight Howard (Houston Rockets)
– There was a time when he was number one on this list, but injuries have limited him the past few seasons. With that said, Dwight still can get a double-double with little to no effort and block a good number of shots while changing those he does not. When healthy, he may be the most athletic player on this list with his freakish jumping ability and sheer size and strength. He is the player considered the closest to Shaq when it comes physical ability, although he may be a better shot blocker.
- Hassan Whiteside (Miami Heat)
– Whiteside is an interesting player. He is still developing a somewhat limited offensive game, but his strength lies in rebounding and blocking shots. He has the highest block rate in NBA history at the moment and shows no signs of slowing down. His length is unbelievable and that helps him grab boards and yes, block shots. What I like about Hassan is that when he blocks shots, he blocks them down back into play rather that out of bounds and giving the ball back to opponents. Let’s not forget his 3 triple-doubles the last two seasons that included double-digit blocks (the first person to have one since Marcus Camby).