It’s been a while since the Minnesota Timberwolves have seen a center play on the same level as Nikola Pekovic.
His offensive mentality and bruising style under the basket are a big part of what makes him so great, but his unselfish behavior and chemistry with the rest of the team really is what establishes him as the dominant center that we see.
Of course, he has his flaws. He has shown improvement, but Pekovic is still somewhat weak on the defensive side of the floor—although that’s not to say that he doesn’t command a presence under the basket.
What is most remarkable about Pekovic is that he remains productive despite not having a great outside game. He’s been averaging 14.2 points per game (PPG), and he’s been doing all of his damage inside the paint.
He’s been shooting 56 percent in the restricted area, 37 percent in the paint and 17 percent from mid-range. (Stats courtesy of NBA.com)
While those numbers go to show that he could stand to improve his outside game, his 14.2 PPG prove that his offensive game isn’t crippled by his lack of a jump shot.
In fact, Pekovic’s style of play is defined by his brutish mentality under the rim. His strength and surprising quickness keep opposing defenses on their heels, and he makes them pay for any weakness with his strength in moving to the basket.
Before recent years, the Timberwolves hadn't had a ton of luck with finding quality centers. I’m going to compare Pekovic to some of the best big men in Minnesota history and see just how well he stacks up.