The NBA: February 2014 Position Battle – The Top 5 Centers Right Now


In this Position Battle post, we will focus on the top five centers at this point in the season. We will take into account just the players’ stats for the latest five games of their respective teams. This will, hopefully, give us a more current picture of each player’s production.

And just like that the consensus best center on the planet is, once again, actually the best center on the planet. He is putting up monster stats again, and leading his new team in an awesome midseason run. Also, we have a couple of underrated slotmen and one guy who just loves to make posters out of people.

Note: All of the following stats are based on each player’s stats as computed by HoopsStats.com. They were taken on February 20, 2014 (Manila time).


5. DeAndre Jordan (LAC) - 13.0ppg, 14.6rpg, 1.4spg, 2.8bpg, .750 FG%, 27.2 EFF
Look out below because DeAndre Jordan is finally shaping up to be the kind of center the Clippers need to make some serious noise come Playoff time. For the first time in his young career the poster-maker is averaging a solid double-double along with awesome D stats. He’s still not the kind of center who’ll drop 30 on, say, the Mavs (or even the Bucks), but he has become a reliable enough offensive weapon to keep opposing frontlines busy (as if they weren’t busy enough with Blake Griffin). If this April and May become memorable (in a good way) for Doc Rivers and his crew, then a ton of credit should go Jordan’s way.

DeAndre Jordan is a top five NBA center?! Why, YES!!!
(image from sportal.au)

4. Andre Drummond (DET) - 16.0ppg, 17.0rpg, 1.4spg, 1.8bpg, .587 FG%, 28.4 EFF
I’m really a big fan of this young kid, who reminds me a lot of Dwight Howard pre-post move days (Wait, Howard has post moves?). Sure, his footwork is only marginally better than an elephant’s on Dancing with the Stars, but he more than makes up for it with great low block positioning, tenacity, and timing. Drummong is the kind of player who doesn’t hog a lot of headlines, but goes to work anyway, and the results have been nothing short of astounding. Just recently, against tough teams San Antonio, Denver, and Brooklyn, Drummond averaged about 16 points and 15 boards, and then in his last two games he upped his rebounding to 19.5 per. He’s blooming earlier than projected, and Joe Dumars is smiling in his front office right now.


3. Joakim Noah (CHI) - 14.8ppg, 13.2rpg, 6.8apg, 2.0bpg, .556 FG%, 29.0 EFF
The Bulls are on a pretty impressive streak, winning all of their last three games. That’s in no small thanks to Noah, who has been a great ball of energy. The All-Star big man reeled 20 and 13 against the Lakers, followed it up with a 19-16-11 triple-double versus the Hawks, and then a nifty 14 and 13 against the Nets before the All-Star break. Oh, and he blocked nearly 3 shots per game, too. Nobody will ever be able to fix that crap-awkward jumper of his, but who cares?! He’s the biggest reason the Bulls are still somehow relevant, and that’s all that really matters.


2. Al Jefferson (CHA) - 26.0ppg, 10.4rpg, 3.2apg, 1.4spg, 1.0bpg, .542 FG%, 29.0 EFF
Great players on bad teams – there are many of those (read; Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo, Kyrie Irving, etc.), but none have been so great for so long and have been on such terrible teams for about as long, too. Ever since Jefferson got drafted in ’04, he has seen postseason action a total of (insert drumroll mp3) TWICE (7 games in 2005 with the Celtics, where he normed 6 points and 6 boards per game, played behind Raef LaFrentz, and lost to the sixth-seeded Pacers; 4 games in 2012 with the Jazz, where they were swept by the always-aging Spurs). The former fifteenth overall pick is now on his fourth pro club, but his chances of returning to the Playoffs are thinner than Lindsay Lohan’s of catching an Oscar. Still, his EFF has been in the 20s since 2006-2007, which means he has been at least a near-the-top player for most of his career. Will things ever get better for Al-Jeff, or will he forever be just one of those great-ones-on-bad-clubs?


1. Dwight Howard (HOU) - 25.8ppg, 12.8rpg, 1.6spg, 2.6bpg, .657 FG%, 31.6 EFF
The man who throttled the Magic and the Lakers seems to be really happy in sunny Houston, Texas, where he’s no third-wheel, and, more importantly, he’s not the biggest star. In many ways, James Harden is the kind of guy who really should work well with Dwight, mainly because Harden doesn’t dominate the ball as much as Kobe Bryant does, and he knows how it is to play effectively alongside other superstars (shout-out to the OKC days!!!). Of course, whether this new pairing will indeed bear golden fruit is still up in the air (let’s wait till the end of the Playoffs, shall we?), but, this early, the signs are lookin’ pretty good. Howard hasn’t been playing this well (31.6 EFF in his last five games) since, well, ever! Now what if the Rockets actually kept Goran Dragic instead of letting him go to make space for Jeremy Lin?
  
Dwight Howard is smiling more than he has
in a long long time.
(image from SoleCollector.com)

Outside looking in:
Chris Kaman (LAL) - 24.2 EFF
DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) - 23.8 EFF

Jared Sullinger (BOS) - 20.6 EFF


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4 Comment
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Al Jefferson was in the playoffs two years ago with the Jazz
they got swept by the Spurs

Balas
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You’re right! I had a suspicion my primary reference was off on something. Should’ve dug a little deeper. Thanks for the assist!

Balas
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just wait for marc gasol to get his rhythm back

Balas