Top 5 Frontcourts in the NBA
In less than a week, the NBA season will commence, giving fans and players the greatest Christmas present of all.
A common theme among these teams?
All three have elite frontcourts.
Contending teams needs to have solid frontcourts, which are able to set the tone on defense and score points in bunches inside.
This article lists the top five frontcourts in the NBA.
No. 5: Chicago Bulls
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
That speaks volumes about the depth of Chicago's frontcourt.
Omer Asik and Taj Gibson are both solid bench players who could start on many non-contending teams across the league. Luol Deng is no slouch either, averaging 17.4 points and 5.8 rebounds last year as the team's secondary scorer.
Boozer and Noah are the two cornerstones of the Bulls' crop of big men and both played admirably last year. Noah is one of the best rebounders in the league and has also improved his offensive game, averaging 11.7 points per game last year.
Boozer did average 18/10 during the season but played horrifically at times during the playoffs. He will need to step up if the Bulls want to challenge the Heat and maintain their position in the East.
No. 4: Los Angeles Lakers
Harry How/Getty Images
The key to this team's championship success has been their strong frontcourt, which featured Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.
The problem is that Odom is no longer on the team after being traded to the Mavericks. Los Angeles did sign Josh McRoberts as his replacement, but he is not close to the level of the reigning Sixth Man of the Year.
The Lakers small forwards are below average as Metta World Peace and Matt Barnes are well past their primes.
It looks like Los Angeles will rely greatly on Kobe Bryant, Pau and Bynum more than ever this year, which could still yield a deep run in the playoffs.
No. 3: Memphis Grizzlies
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
The surprise team of last season, the Memphis Grizzlies rode a superb second-half performance to the eighth seed and a Conference Semifinals berth.
The key to their success was the play of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, who stepped up after Rudy Gay's season-ending injury. Their physical play was the key to the Memphis upset over San Antonio.
With Gay, Gasol and Randolph all back this season, look for the Grizzlies to benefit from a shorter schedule that will decrease the number of injuries.
Z-Bo was a double-double machine last year, averaging at least 20 points and 12 rebounds for the second straight year in Memphis. Gasol, fresh off of his maximum contract, will look to improve on his 11.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
Small forward Rudy Gay is the key for this team. The Grizzlies really could use his 19.6 points per game for a 66-game schedule and the playoffs.
No. 2: Oklahoma City Thunder
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The league's best young team, the Oklahoma City Thunder fell short in the Western Conference Finals to a quality Dallas Mavericks team.
Kevin Durant and company will be back for redemption.
Durant has been the scoring champion of the NBA for the past two seasons, improving basically every single facet of his game every single year. He averaged 27.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while being the unsung leader of the Thunder.
Serge Ibaka has been a major surprise for the past two seasons and could very well average 10/10 this year while also playing outstanding defense. His standout play is one of the major reasons why the Thunder made the transition from playoff team to championship contender.
After losing 30 pounds, Kendrick Perkins will likely fit better in the Thunder's up-tempo offense. His stellar defense slows down the best centers in the league. Nazr Mohammed and Nick Collison also play very well off the bench.
No. 1: New York Knicks
After picking up two All-Stars last season, the New York Knicks made the playoffs for the first time in seven years. Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and company lost to the Boston Celtics in a sweep, although the series was marred by many Knick injuries.
In the shortened 2011 offseason, the Knicks probably made the biggest free-agent signing, picking up Tyson Chandler, which will bring a much-needed defensive presence to New York.
Stoudemire played so well early on that he received early MVP consideration. He ended up averaging 25.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks, while staying healthy for most of the season.
Anthony did what he had done best in Denver: score the basketball. He averaged 25.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, and is one of the most clutch players in the league.
The Knicks have the best frontcourt in the league hands down. If their guards can perform well and if their defense improves, New York could find itself in the Eastern Conference and NBA Finals.