Constructing a team around a superstar is the aim of every general manager, but with elite-level talent in short supply, front offices around the league need to be a bit more creative these days. And since the state of the center position isn't what it was 20 years ago, teams who have that anchor in the middle have a distinct edge over their peers.
There's increased talk about "positionless" lineups and other radical changes to how we define players, but the fact of the matter is that the center position is still vital in today's NBA. It's no secret that the highest percentage shots are those taken around the basket, so having an interior defender who serves as a deterrent in the middle is key. Those who lack that sort of presence will have to work that much harder on offense, while teams with quality centers—those perhaps a step or two below the level of Dwight Howard—have a solid base on which to build around. Finding perimeter players who can score is easy—locating a big man who is skilled on both ends of the floor is a true challenge.
Note: Statistics are accurate as of Dec. 6