The NBA: December 2013 Position Battle – The Top 5 Centers Right Now

This is our fifth Position Battle post of 2013-2014, and we will focus on the top five centers at this point in the season. Like the previous post on the league’s current top power forwards, this list of the five current best centers leaves out many names we know and love. Marc Gasol didn’t crack the top five (he was close, though), along with Al Jefferson, Tim Duncan, Joakim Noah, Roy Hibbert, and Chris Bosh. Wow. Those are six of the most talented slotmen on planet Earth right there! See who’s left.

Note: All of the following stats are based on each player’s stats as computed by They were taken on December 23, 2013 (Manila time).

5. Brook Lopez (BKN) - 20.7ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.8bpg, .563 FG%, .817 FT%, 21.2 EFF
The fact that Lopez has been playing like an all-star should be a source of celebration for the desperate-as-hell Brooklyn Nets, but that’s not the case now after Lopez has been ruled out for the remainder of the season. He’s the best offensive middle-man in the East, and now all he’ll be doing is pining for what could have been. Is it too early for Jason Kidd to blow up his too-old-too-hurt-it’s-not-funny-anymore squad?

Brook Lopez is out for the season. He's the only one who
seems shocked.
(image from

4. Al Horford (ATL) - 18.2ppg, 8.3rpg, 2.5apg, 1.0spg, 1.5bpg, .562 FG%, 22.0 EFF
The best Dominican Republic player in the league’s history continues to fly under the radar as one of the Association’s most productive bigs. I remember him playing for Kansas years ago and hearing a commentator say that Horford will struggle in the NBA, while his then teammate, Joakim Noah, would thrive as an energy guy. Well, right now Noah is nowhere on this list, while, lo and behold, Horford is having his way. Granted, of course, the Hawks aren’t exactly the league’s scariest team.

3. Andre Drummond (DET) - 13.2ppg, 12.6rpg, 1.6spg, 1.7bpg, .619 FG%, 22.1 EFF
I call him the Baby Dwight. He’s pretty good around the basket despite lacking old-school low post moves. He eats rebounds for breakfast despite having another marquee big guy in the Pistons’ frontcourt (Greg Monroe). He also blocks shots with impunity, and (this is the kicker right here) he sucks ass from the free throw line. Correction: Andre Drummond is a worse free throw shooter than Dwight Howard (Drummond makes just 38% of his free throws – THIRTY-EIGHT PERCENT). There are few more insulting descriptions in the world of basketball (“you look like Nick Van Exel” is in the vicinity).

2. Dwight Howard (HOU) - 18.3ppg, 13.2rpg, 2.0bpg, .588 FG%, 24.1 EFF
Dwight is happier in Texas than he ever was in California. He is happier playing alongside James Harden than he ever was playing around Kobe Bryant. He’s scoring more, rebounding more, and assisting more this season compared to last season. He’s shooting better from the field and from the stripe. AAAND his Rockets are 18-10 while the Lakers are 13-14. Yep, the happy times are back in Howardsville (I looked it up. Apparently, there are at least three different Howardsvilles on the planet!!!), while it looks like the Dwightmare is over.

1. DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) - 22.5ppg, 10.7rpg, 3.2apg, 1.8spg, 1.0bpg, .496 FG%, 25.0 EFF
It’s Boogie time in Sac-town! Cousins is the league’s best center. Yes, repeat and repeat until your brain hurts. It'll still be true, though. He’s filling the stat-sheet every night for the Kings (Sacramento is the second-worst team in the conference, but that’s beside the point), and most of the time these are good stats. What’s a little disturbing, however, is the fact that, 26 games into the season, Cousins leads the league with EIGHT technical fouls already. That’s about one T for every three games, which means, if my Math does not betray me, he is on pace to get T’d up about 25 times, which will beat his 17 last season. Because an NBA player will get suspended for his 16th tech and then for every tech afterwards, the Kings can expect Cousins to miss around 10 games. Of course, missing games means his tech total for the year will also fall below 25. Ugh. Too much Math for one NBA post. Clearly, though, the league’s best center also has the league’s worst temper (let’s not even talk about EQ).

DeMarcus Cousins is the league's best center, and the
league's leading complainer.
(image from

Outside looking in:
Nikola Vucevic (ORL) - 20.7 EFF
Spencer Hawes (PHI) - 20.4 EFF
Marc Gasol (MEM) - 20.2 EFF

Game Recaps:

(Sunday, December 22nd)
Final Score: Indiana 106, Boston 79
Indianapolis, IN ( - Lance Stephenson filled the stat sheet with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists as the Indiana Pacers crushed the Boston Celtics, 106-79, from Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Stephenson now has three triple-doubles this season -- two of which came against the Celtics -- and is the only player in the Association with more than one. Paul George paced Indiana with 24 points, while Roy Hibbert added 15 points with 12 rebounds and three blocks. Danny Granger contributed 12 points off the bench to build off a five-point effort in his season debut against Houston on Friday. Avery Bradley scored 13 points, while Jeff Green and Courtney Lee chipped in with 11 points apiece for Boston, which has lost three straight.

Final Score: Toronto 104, Oklahoma City 98
Oklahoma City, OK ( - Kyle Lowry had 22 points and nine assists as the Toronto Raptors handed the Oklahoma City Thunder their first home loss of the season following a 104-98 triumph on Sunday night. A Lowry triple with 3:15 left gave Toronto a 98-93 cushion, but Perry Jones sunk a pair of free throws and Kevin Durant nailed a straightaway 3 to knot the game with 1:39 left. The Raptors, though, netted the final six points of the contest. John Salmons made two foul shots at the other end and Jonas Valanciunas blocked Russell Westbrook in transition to keep Toronto in front. Amir Johnson knocked down two free throws to make it 102-98. Durant missed a triple with 12 seconds left and Lowry pulled down the rebound and nailed a pair of foul shots to seal the outcome. Johnson tallied 17 points and 13 rebounds for Toronto, which has won four of its last five contests. DeMar DeRozan netted 17 points in the victory. Westbrook had 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists, while Durant added 24 points and eight boards for the Thunder, who had their nine-game winning streak snapped. Oklahoma City was the lone remaining unbeaten team at home heading into the tilt.

Final Score: LA Clippers 120, Minnesota 116 (OT)
Los Angeles, CA ( - Jamal Crawford scored the final four points of regulation and Chris Paul made crucial free throws down the stretch in overtime as the Los Angeles Clippers survived with a thrilling 120-116 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves from Staples Center. Blake Griffin paced the Clippers with 32 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out early in the extra session. Paul, who scored 19 points with 13 assists, carried the load from there, sinking 5-of-6 from the foul line in the final seconds to help LA secure its fifth straight win. Crawford added 22 points, Darren Collison went for a season-high 18 off the bench and DeAndre Jordan grabbed 17 rebounds in the triumph. Minnesota's starting frontcourt tandem of Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic was dominant despite the loss. Love filled it up, tallying 45 points, 19 rebounds and six assists, while Pekovic scored a career-high 34 points to go with 14 boards.

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2 Comment

too bad Lopez is injured.


This is a terrific rundown of centers. I was told that a gifted player in that position comes approximately once in seven years. To quote my friend, Miel H., "It was predicted that whoever he is, he will come around in 2017." It's 2014, and these big men can still improve. I'm partial to Dwight Howard, though. LOL!