clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NBA Center rankings: Conspiracy Theory

Ranking of the NBA's centres for the 2014/15 Fantasy Basketball season...

Dikembe Mutombo's famous finger. Who will provide the NBA's next famous appendage?
Dikembe Mutombo's famous finger. Who will provide the NBA's next famous appendage?
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

We should just call this position "boards and blocks". Getting a centre without blocks is like getting a  girlfriend/boyfriend with a chastity belt: What's the point?

Your #1 source of those elusive blocks, centres also generally contribute positively to rebounds and field goal % (and negatively to free throw %). If you can find a C with a good FT%, those are the rarest jewels in the C treasure chest... This is part of the reason I think Jonas Valanciunas will ultimately be a Fantasy stud...

While hybrid Cs do exist, are you really interested in hitching your Fantasy wagon to Andrea Bargnani? (Due to very loose definitions of who actually plays the C position, there are way more Fantasy options than there should be at this position.)

Many ways to punt creatively, but punting blocks basically means punting centres - and leaving a roster spot or 2 open makes absolutely no sense.

So you're stuck with having to find the most helpful Cs you can get. Just make sure you check their block totals (or the advanced stat block %) to identify the next tier of Dikembe Mutombos. (Insert finger wag here.)

Here are my top centres for the upcoming season...

Not in my house:

1. Anthony Davis, NO

2. LaMarcus Aldridge, POR

3. DeMarcus Cousins, SAC

4. Al Jefferson, CHA

5. Serge Ibaka, OKC

Aldridge's defensive stats are way lower than they should be, but you can't argue with his offensive numbers. All these guys are clear first-round picks, and I believe Anthony Davis could become the best Fantasy Basketball player in the world this year. He is somebody you really want to try to grab...

The fake Cs:

5. Dirk Nowitzki, DAL

6. Chris Bosh, MIA

7. Blake Griffin, LAC

8. Kevin Love, CLE

None of these guys are centres, but according to Yahoo's position rankings, they are. So I'm including them here. I've certainly noticed that the trend in recent years is to provide as much roster flexibility as possible - which I feel is disingenuous. Part of the strategy should be to find players who ACTUALLY PLAY THE POSITION. Anyway, I digress. While none of these players in this tranche are Cs, they all qualify. And they will all get you stats. Very little in blocks with this quartet, but all are focal points of their offenses. (The only question mark for me is Kevin Love: What will his role in New Cleveland's offense be?)

The question marks:

9. Al Horford, ATL

10. Paul Millsap, ATL

11. Joakim Noah, CHI

12. Dwight Howard, HOU

13. Andre Drummond, DET

14. Brook Lopez, BKN

The big questions for these guys: Do Horford and Millsap help or hurt each other's stats? How much will the presence of Pau Gasol affect Noah's numbers? Are Howard & Drummond the anchors of a punt-FT% strategy, or are they simply losing you a cat every week? Is Brook Lopez healthy?

Who the hell are you?

15. Ryan Anderson, NO

16. Marc Gasol, MEM

17. DeAndre Jordan, LAC

18. Tim Duncan, SAS

19. Nikola Vucevic, ORL

This is the most statistically volatile section of my C rankings. Every year I wait for the league to find out that Ryan Anderson's numbers are inflated, and every year he proves me wrong. Rationally, Anthony Davis should be eating this guy's lunch, right? But he still gets the numbers. I've ranked him way lower than lots of other people, let's see if he makes me look like a chump... Again. The "other Gasol" is now the better Gasol, but he's never realized the immense Fantasy potential he's hinted at his entire career. Is this the year he breaks through? No. No, it isn't. Marc Gasol is a very good Fantasy Basketball player, but he'll never be a great one... DJ put up video game numbers last year, but I don't see how anyone could sustain 13.6 rebounds/game? Tim Duncan died 4 years ago. This has all been some sort of conspiracy... Of all of Orlando's young assets, do you believe Vucevic is their best? I don't either.

You're still good, right?

20. Pau Gasol, CHI

21. David Lee, GSW

22. Derrick Favors, UTA

23. Marcin Gortat, WAS

Gasol Sr.'s usage depends on D-Rose's health. Can Pau and Joakim coexist? At what point does Harrison Barnes start to take touches away from David Lee? Did last year hint at something greater for Favors? Or will he always be the "potential" guy? If you ask me, Marcin Gortat is starting to feel like Chris Rock's "old guy in the club" routine...

The knife cuts both ways...

24. Nerlens Noel, PHI

25. Larry Sanders, MIL

In the Fantasy world's post-hype sleeper barrage of on again-off again 'hype' candidates, Noel & Sanders are equal parts under-the-radar and way overhyped. I don't see the point of reaching for Nerlens - when he was basically a defensive specialist in college - and has missed an entire year of development. Still, Blake Griffin missed a year, and he doesn't suck. But Nerlens didn't have Blake's profile in the NCAA, so I think he'll be sneaky value for people who know nothing about basketball, but disappointing for people who think they know everything about basketball... As for Larry Sanders, he's clearly both one of the best shot blockers in the NBA - and one of the NBA's biggest head cases. The guy could start randomly blocking people's shots at Walmart for all we know. Stash these guys at the end of your draft queue, but don't pull the trigger until the last possible second...

Value at the end:

26. Zach Randolph, MEM

27. Nikola Pekovic, MIN

28. Robin Lopez, POR

29. Anderson Varejao, CLE

30. Greg Monroe, DET (tie)

30. Jonas Valanciunas, TOR (tie)

30. John Henson, MIL (tie)

With all of the fake Cs, the centre talent pool is surprisingly deep. While I'm not suggesting you wait until the late rounds to grab a couple, take a look at the guys who are available after the first 25 are gone... While not the multi-cat beasts of the early rounds, there is considerable value here...

Bonus options:

Roy Hibbert

Channing Frye

Spencer Hawes

Tyson Chandler

Jordan Hill

Amir Johnson

Joel Embiid

Roy Hibbert could really benefit from Paul George's absence. How much confidence is left in that shell of a man? Channing Frye has a habit of finding ways to provide multi-cat value... Spencer Hawes is a complete enigma to me: Very inconsistent, but also has top 25 Fantasy potential. As a benchwarmer, I'll rank him just outside the top 100. But this is a player you want to keep an eye on... Tyson Chandler gets no love, but this is still one of the best defensive players in the league... Jordan Hill could really benefit from an uncertain situation on a rebuilding team... Amir Johnson is one of the best kept secrets in the NBA. As for Embiid, he's PROBABLY done for the year. But I keep hearing his recovery is going well. Depending on how deep your league is, he could fit into your endgame...

So that's what I got, e-ballers. I've ranked all 5 positions, so go out and win your league now. As far as centres go, if you really look at the list, traditional roles are deteriorating. Not so many "pure centres" anymore - especially with all of the fictitious Fantasy C eligibility options. While only 1 cat, I always try to find Cs who fill up the blocks category. Pretty hard to load up there otherwise... While the art of blocking shots ain't what it used to be, Anthony Davis could just make it cool again. And when AD becomes the best Fantasy Basketball player in the world - possibly as soon as this year - you can proudly bust out your retro Dikembe Mutombo jersey. Just make sure you practice that finger wag. It's not as easy as it seems...