The center position is the weakest position in the NBA in terms of big-name players. But, it still plays a vital role in a team's ability to succeed.
Centers come in all forms in today's game. Some centers are mainly shooters and scorers, whereas some are mainly defenders and rebounders. But great centers have the ability to dominate on both sides of the ball.
The following is a list of the top five centers in the NBA today.
These players just missed making it onto the list of the top five centers in the NBA.
Andrew Bogut/Milwaukee Bucks
Al Hordford/Atlanta Hawks
Greg Monroe/Detroit Pistons
Roy Hibbert/Indiana Pacers
Marc Gasol/Memphis Grizzlies
Al Jefferson has a great balance to his game.
He can both defend (averaging 1.8 blocks per game this season) and score (averaging 18.7 points per game this season).
His offensive game features an above-average mid-range shot among centers and skillful post moves. He's also decent on the boards (averaging 9.2 per game this season).
Unfortunately, Jefferson doesn't seem to do anything in a spectacular manor. But, his above-average, all-around game helps to land him among the top five centers in the league.
Andrea Bargnani leads all centers in scoring this season (22.3 points per game). Unfortunately scoring is about all Bargnani can do. At least he does it well though.
He averages one three-pointer per game and shoots 48.9 percent from the field—a great percentage when you consider he's mainly a jump shooter.
Bargnani often switches back and forth from the center and power forward position and seems more like a power forward than anything else. He doesn't have the toughness, ability to rebound, or the ability to protect the rim that most centers have (averaging only 6.5 rebounds and 0.6 blocks per game this season).
If Bargnani can work on his inside game, along with his defense and rebounding, he could work his way into being one of the top two centers in the league. But for now, Bargnani sits at the No. 4 spot.
Brook Lopez is one of the best young centers in the league and is full of potential.
Unfortunately, he's currently injured and depending on how well he heals and how much the injury affects him, could define the rest of his career.
But, Lopez has proven he can perform. Last season, he averaged 20.4 points to go along with 1.5 blocks per game and a field goal percentage of 49.2 percent. But, his rebounding numbers were low (only 5.9 per game).
If Lopez can come back and play at the level we're used to him playing at and also improve in the rebounding category, he could become one of the best centers in the league one day.
Since returning from his injury, Andrew Bynum has performed at an elite level.
He's averaging 16.9 points per and 13.6 rebounds to go along with 2.2 blocks per game. Unfortunately, Bynum has struggled with injuries his whole career, but when playing, has proven he has the potential to be a great player.
Bynum has six years of experience in the NBA and is still only 24 years old. I expect Bynum to keep improving and working on his mid-range shot and his poor free-throw shooting (only 55.6 percent on the season).
If Bynum can improve these aspects of the game, he could challenge the No. 1 center in the league for the top spot on this list.
Dwight Howard is an obvious choice for the best center in the league. He's the only true superstar center the NBA has right now.
Howard is an absolute monster on the court.
He's averaging 20.5 points and 15.2 rebounds per game. He also plays great defense and is one of the best in the league at protecting the rim (averaging 2.2 blocks per game). Howard has improved his post game, and I expect him to continue to improve in this aspect of his game.
He does have a few down falls.
Howard is awful at the foul line (45.9 percent this season) and has no mid-range game. Howard also finds himself in foul trouble too often, which affects the Magics success immensely. He needs to improve his free-throw shooting, because he's going to continue to get to the line a lot each game, and the other team will have no problem fouling him if they know he's not going to make them pay.
Also, if Howard ever adds a mid-range jump shot to his game, he may become one of the most unstoppable players to ever play in the NBA. I expect Howard to be the best center in the league for many years to come, and if he can improve on what he needs to, he could become the best player in the NBA.