The NBA: March 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.

Don’t look now, but the Chicago Bulls are sneaking up on the Toronto Raptors and might actually steal third seed in the East. That’s awesome news for Bulls fans, and, more importantly, it might make Heat fans a little edgy. The main conduit for Chicago’s recent rise, of course, has been the awesome play of Joakim Noah, who is joined by a hodge-podge of young bigs and old bigs in this top five list.

And, for all the Lakers and Magic fans who despise Dwight Howard, you’ll be happy to know he’s nowhere on this list.

Note: All of the following stats are based on each player’s stats as computed by They were taken on March 23, 2014 (Manila time).

These are the NBA's top five centers right now.
(composite image by Enzo Flojo/Hoop Nut)

5. DeAndre Jordan (LAC) - 10.0ppg, 12.0rpg, 1.2spg, 2.2bpg, .667 FG%, 22.0 EFF
Lost in the din of Lob City is the fact that, since 2013 turned into 2014, Jordan has only one game where he totaled fewer than 10 rebounds. Yes, DeAndre Jordan is no longer just a guy who blocks. He is rebounding and scoring better than he has before. Remember that this is a guy who has never averaged more than 7.8 boards or 8.8 points in his young career. Clearly he’s doing something right. Hell, he might even be a sleeper for Most Improved Player of the Year.

4. Pau Gasol (LAL) - 17.6ppg, 10.4rpg, 3.6apg, 2.4bpg, 22.2 EFF
With the Lakers probably not winning as many games as there are NBA teams by season’s end, one thing is clear for me – Pau Gasol is playing for his free agency value. Does Gasol stay put in this kind of volatile situation to play with an aging Kobe and even older Nash next season? I think not. I say he plays awesome as the Lakers go up in flames heading into the summer and then he signs up with a contender (Chicago, are you listening?). I’ve always been a bit of a Gasol believer, and I think he still has a couple of good years in him.

Pau Gasol pivots against the Marcin Gortat and the Wiz.
(image by Noah Graham/Getty Images)

3. Al Jefferson (CHA) - 21.0ppg, 11.4rpg, 2.0apg, .505 FG%, 22.8 EFF
Unlike former frontline running mate Paul Millsap, Al-Jeff is no All-Star, but his Cats are a couple of games ahead of Millsap’s Hawks in the East and have moved up to the seventh seed. Yes, these are the BOBCATS. They have been riding Jefferson like crazy, and the underrated center has responded in spades. He has failed to score in double-digits only a handful of times this season, and, more often than not, he also clocks in double-figures in rebounding. I don’t think he’ll ever be flashy or fashionable enough to be an All-Star, but, man, he is the epitome of a workhorse (and, yes, his millions are not too shabby, too).

2. DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) - 20.8ppg, 13.3rpg, 3.0apg, 2.0spg, 1.5bpg, 24.0 EFF
Maybe someday soon Cousins will be mentioned in the same breath as other centers who have put up big numbers while also leading their respective franchises to the postseason. In the meantime, though, he’s mentioned in the same sentence as fellow West big man Kevin Love, who, like Cousins, has not made the Playoffs yet. Love will probably get there eventually, especially if he fast-tracks his progress by signing with a different club soon, but as for Cousins,  I’m not so sure. I mean, as good as he is, he is still a bit of a headcase. If he’s not careful, he might eventually be another Eddie Curry.

DeMarcus Cousins slices through the Spurs' defense.
(image by Rocky Widner/Getty Images)

1. Joakim Noah (CHI) - 14.2ppg, 11.2rpg, 7.6apg, 2.4spg, 2.0bpg, 28.0 EFF
The guy taken after Greg Oden, fellow Florida alum Al Horford, Yi Jianlian, and Brandan Wright in the 2007 NBA Draft is now the NBA’s best center. There is no disputing that, especially now that the Bulls have defied all expectations (again) to become a sneaky East contender. Behind Noah’s unwavering tenacity and unending motor, they have leapfrogged their way into the East’s top four, and might even sideswipe the Raptors for that important third seed and a possible second round date with the Heat. Naturally, Noah has been awesome, and, I mean, who wouldn’t be if you had a dad like he does.

Joakim Noah owns the Bulls right now.
(image by R. Brent Smith/AP)

Outside looking in:
TIm Duncan (SAS) - 20.8 EFF
Marcin Gortat (WAS) - 20.5 EFF
Derrick Favors (UTA) - 20.0 EFF

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