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All-NBA Fantasy Team v3

The top two centers in the NBA do battle.  Are they the best fantasy centers as well?
The top two centers in the NBA do battle. Are they the best fantasy centers as well?

Our mid-season All-NBA Team ends with the big men. The centers who you should typically target are ones that provide you with a high FG %, blocks a decent amount of shots, brings down rebounds, and can score with the best of them. This season there appears to be one or two centers that are lacking in one area or another, but I’ll award them as I see fit…

First Team

C Amare Stoudemire, New York Knicks

C Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers

Stoudemire was a no-brainer for first team honors as he and Raymond Felton have single-handedly transformed the Knicks from jokes to Eastern Conference Contenders (Pretenders?). Prior to the start of the season, skeptics were wondering if Amare could succeed without Steve Nash. What do you think? With Felton doing his best Steve Nash impression in Coach Mike D’Antoni’s offense, Stoudemire is averaging career highs in PPG (26.2), BPG (2.2) and APG (2.7). Even though it seems Stoudemire routinely is putting up 30-10’s night in and night out, he’s actually only averaging 8.8 rebounds per game.

A 50% FG shooter this season, Amare has even added a few three-pointers in for good measure. Stay tuned to see if Stoudemire can keep it up in the second half. Gasol, a double-double machine, has thrived in the Lakers offense since the Grizzlies gift-wrapped him for a pack of Skittles during the 2008 season. What makes Gasol stand out from the rest of the Center pack are his passing skills. He’s always been a gifted passer as he routinely averages around 4 APG each season. It’s an added bonus for the big man who’s averaging 18.3 PPG, 10.5 RPG and 2.0 BPG.

Surprised Dwight Howard didn’t earn first team honors? Then tune in to see where he landed after the jump…

Second Team

C Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks

C Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

Horford should be the starting center for the all-underrated NBA Team. When discussing the league’s top big men, how often does Horford’s name come up? Putting up 2nd round numbers, Horford has gradually improved his game each year he’s been in the league. The 4th year big man even deserves to be considered for the All-NBA First Team as he is averaging career highs in PPG (16.2), APG (3.5), FT % (81.3), FG % (a ridiculous 57%) to go along with his 0.8 SPG and 1.1 BPG. If Free Throw Percentage isn’t a standard category, or if you play in a league without percentages, go ahead and rank Howard # 1 on this list. Howard is a blocks and rebounds monster who can carry your team at will. The immense downside to owning Howard is throwing the FT % category. You won't find a bigger liability in the free throw category, although Blake Griffin is giving Howard a run for his money. Howard kills you because he gets to the line so often (11.4 times per game) and only makes his shots 58.5 % of the time. Otherwise Howard is an absolute monster based on his 57.9 FG %, career-high 22.4 PPG, his 13.6 RPG, 1.2 SPG and 2.2 BPG.

Third Team

C Al Jefferson, Utah Jazz

C Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

It seems Jefferson still has a little ways to go before we see the explosive 20-10 player we saw in Minnesota before his knee injury. Will we ever see that player again? Does it matter? Well to us fantasy nerds it does. In his new surroundings, Jefferson is putting up similar numbers to last season. He seems to be playing rather well even alongside fellow big man and fantasy stud Paul Millsap. Jefferson quietly averages nearly 2.0 BPG while adding double doubles on a nightly basis.

I know you’re all thinking, "Mahoney, are you crazy? Noah? Isn’t he out until the All-Star Break?" Yes, reader, he is out until right after the ASB. However, on a per game basis, Noah has been about the 5th best Center in the fantasy world. I’ll let your conscience decide if I’m cheating or not by adding Noah to the list. Honestly, it speaks measures about the state of the true Center position in the NBA. I could have just as easily added LaMarcus Aldridge of the Blazers or Zach Randolph of the Grizzlies since they are Center-eligible in most leagues, but I must abide by my own imaginary rules discussed in the original Fantasy All Stars column. In 24 games this season, Noah has done everything you’d ask for in a Center. He’s averaging 14.0 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 1.6 BPG,, 2.7 APG, 1.2 SPG and shoots 51.4% from the field. Once Noah got hurt, the shrewd owner in you could have just replaced him with Carlos Boozer. You did draft both players, right?

Honorable Mentions

C David Lee, Golden State Warriors

C Marcus Camby, Portland Blazers

C Nene Hilario, Denver Nuggets

C Tyson Chandler, Dallas Mavericks

PF/C Elton Brand, Philadelphia 76ers

Lee has stepped his game up lately, but for the purpose of midseason awards, it’s too little, too late. The aforementioned Boozer would make the third team if he was strictly center-eligible. Any players you disagree with?