NBA Predictions: Best Centers for the 2008-2009 Season

TJ ZwarychSenior Writer IAugust 11, 2008

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Center in the NBA can be one of the most dominant positions. If you get a big guy inside who can bang around and grab boards, you have a great piece to start a team with. But if that big guy can bang around, grab boards, block shots AND score, you picked yourself a good one.

The NBA has seen many great centers in it's time like Hakeem Olajuwan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. Now that's a good list of players. That however is the past. I mean, O'Neal still plays but is nothing like he used to be. Today's NBA has many good centers as well.  Most of the time now, players can play either center or power forward.

Great centers include Tim Duncan, Yao Ming, Dwight Howard, Tyson Chandler, Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal, Andrew Bogut, Greg Oden, Andrew Bynum and many, many others. Here is a list that I think will round up the top 5 centers in the NBA this coming season.

5. Greg Oden - Portland Trail Blazers

Oden will have a fantastic season this year in his first season playing in the NBA. He should have the starting center position down pat as Aldridge will now be able to go back to his natural position at power forward. Oden is a great young center who looks fantastic. He is very good with both hands and can grab rebounds and block shots. He won't have too much trouble scoring the ball either. Projected Stats: 14.8 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 1.8 bpg

4. Tyson Chandler - New Orleans Hornets

Chandler will have a much improved season this year with the Hornets as his chemistry with Chris Paul will blossom into something we haven't seen from them before. Chandler will not be their primary scorer but he will pick up his defense to a new level and be a strong defensive player of the year candidate. Projected Stats: 12.9 ppg, 13.6 rpg, 2.6 bpg

3. Yao Ming - Houston Rockets

Yao will have a Yao like season this year and he will be a West all-star. Injuries won't be as big of a factor this year and he will help finally lead the Rockets past the first round. With Artest there, teams won't be able to double down on him as much. With Yao, Artest and McGrady, the Rockets will have a good season. Projected Stats: 19.4 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 1.5 bpg

2. Tim Duncan - San Antonio Spurs

Although getting old, Timmy D will still get it done. He will still be a solid, consistent center that brings passion to his team everyday. Duncan still is and will be the heart and soul of the Spurs until he retires. As Parker gets more experience and he progresses into a better player, Duncan will get more feeds inside from Parker getting open and finding him. Projected Stats: 21.7 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 2.0 bpg

1. Dwight Howard  - Orlando Magic

In my mind, Dwight Howard will eventually emerge as one of the greatest centers to ever play the game. Howard is one of the strongest, the fastest and the highest jumping center in the league. He can score inside and has been recently working on his jump shot. Howard is a block machine and grabs boards at will. He will have his best season yet. Projected Stats: 22.8 ppg, 15.1 rpg, 2.6 bpg