Who is the best center in the NBA right now? Some say Dwight Howard, some say Yao Ming. But from where I stand, the best center in the league is definitely Yao.
Yao is clearly the best center in the NBA today and has been for the last two years. Yao is better than Howard for the simple fact that he is better at everything offensively, not to mention he is a better man-to-man defender, as well.
Main thing is there is a larger gap from Howard's offense to Yao's offense than there is vice-versa. Yao is a player who must be doubled in order to be stopped, unlike Dwight. Yao has all the moves, while Dwight has no post moves whatsoever.
Yao is a player who has the jump-hook, hook shot, fade-away, turnaround jumper, he has it all. Howard is a player who does not need to be doubled to be stopped, just watch the 2008 playoffs, Magic vs. Pistons—he was shut down by the one-on-one defense of Jason Maxiell, Rasheed Wallace, and Antonio McDyess.
Maxiell said that Howard is not even as strong as people make of him, and that he's weak in the legs. To add to this, Yao dominates Howard every single time they play; there has never been a game where Howard has outplayed Yao.
You cannot be the best center in the league if you can only outplay 28 or 29 centers in the league and fail to outplay the true best center in the league. Yao also is a much better passer by miles, as well as being a better free-throw shooter. These factors are important for the fact that he can easily get out of double-teams and isn't a liability on the fourth quarter.
Although Shaquille O'Neal had much trouble with free throws, it was the fact that he can pass and was a very intelligent player, as well, that made him great. Howard is not in any way intelligent on the offensive side of the ball; he is smart with the shot-blocking, but not with the offense or man-to-man defense.
Although Howard is not the best center today, it is no knock on him. He's just not fully developed as an overall player yet. Yao is a great player and the best center in the league. Both are one of the few true centers left in the game. The fact is that Yao Ming is the best center in the league and Dwight Howard is only second-best.