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NBA Draft 2013: Tracking the Best Available Centers

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 27, 2013

NBA Draft 2013: Tracking the Best Available Centers

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    The center class in the 2013 NBA draft is quite shallow, but potential is the name of the game here. 

    Very few true big men are ready to compete from day one, but many of them could become stars down the road. In fact, there is a higher percentage of players with All-Star potential at center than any other position, although there's also a far greater chance that each center flames out quickly. 

    The center prospects you see here were taken from the big board of Jonathan Wasserman, B/R's NBA draft lead writer. Seventeen made it into the top 100, and you'll see them presented in the same order here. 

    If your team is looking for a 7-footer or a player who likes to guard one, you'll want to scan through this list and figure out which option you'd like them to draft. 

11. Dewayne Dedmon, USC, 6'11", C

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    While shooting 50 percent from the field, Dewayne Dedmon averaged only 6.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game during his final season with the USC Trojans. That's not the type of production you typically expect from a sophomore who declares early for the NBA draft. 

    That said, Dedmon recognizes that any team drafting him will do so for his long-term upside, so it's better to maximize the earning potential before next season's loaded class comes around. 

    A 6'11" center, Dedmon has a wide frame that should capably handle more weight, and his wingspan is a remarkable 7'4". Add in some speed, and you can see why he's such an intriguing player. 

    The Roman (what else would you call a former Trojan?) is a project player, but he could potentially be a very rewarding project. 

14. Vitalis Chikoko, Zimbabwe, 6'9", C

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    If you think Vitalis Chikoko looks raw, you're completely correct. 

    The center from Zimbabwe with a 7'4" wingspan has only been playing professional basketball in Europe for the last two years, and he'll require a few more seasons of...seasoning...before he's ready to go up against true NBA-caliber bigs. 

    Chikoko's intrigue lies on the defensive end of the court, as he's an athletic prodigy who already understands how to rotate properly and anticipate shots. The gigantic blocks, like the ones you can see in the embedded video, aren't all that rare, nor will they be when he's ready for the Association. 

    Chikoko is a draft-and-stash candidate, but he's one that could pan out in a big way a few years down the road. 

15. Brandon Davies, BYU, 6'10", C

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    Brandon Davies took on a lot of extra responsibilities during his senior season at BYU, and the results were positive across the board. 

    Compared to his junior campaign, the formerly dismissed center averaged more points, rebounds and assists, fewer turnovers and higher percentages from the field and charity stripe. He also added a three-point shot to his arsenal and expanded the number of ways he could capably put the ball in the basket. 

    The 6'10" big man isn't much of a defensive presence, and that's where his focus should rest during the offseason. He has the size and athleticism to slow down even the best offensive centers, but Davies often loses focus and makes mistakes in positioning his body properly. 

    Davies isn't a high-potential center, but he's one capable of sticking around at the end of a rotation for a long time. 

16. Zeke Marshall, Akron, 7'0", C

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    Zeke Marshall must have seemed like a giant to the rest of the WAC, and not many players could play the role of Jack. 

    The Akron big man is 7'0" with a 7'5" wingspan, and he checked in before the draft at 235 pounds. Talk about a terrifying player to come across en route to the rim. 

    Marshall rejected 3.7 blocks per game during his senior season, more than any player in the country not named Chris Obekpa or Jeff Withey. That's where his NBA value lies, as he's a promising rim-protector. 

    Of course, that's about all the 7-footer brings to the table, or else he'd rank much higher. Marshall isn't much of an offensive threat, and he's scarily inept on the boards for a player with such a size advantage. 

    At the moment, he's too much of a liability in the other aspects of the game for his shot-blocking to hold a lot of value to any professional team. 

17. Jack Cooley, Notre Dame, 6'9", C

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    Jack Cooley's main contributions will always be on the glass. 

    He was one of the best rebounders in the country during his senior season for Notre Dame, pulling down plenty of boards on both ends of the court. Remember, it takes different sets of skills to be great on the offensive and defensive glass. 

    Cooley also used rebounding as a main source of offense, as he was strong enough to go back up after crashing the offensive glass and securing the ball for a shot at second-chance points. The Fighting Irish big man also improved his free-throw shooting rather dramatically, which allows him to attack without a petrifying fear of the charity stripe. 

    The 6'9" center is undersized and has no aesthetic appeal to his game, but he's tough and thrives when there's contact. 

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