We have just about reached the midway point of the NBA season and what better way to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of a player than dropping our definitive list of the top-5 NBA centers in the league.
NBA writers: Jr. Williams, Tyler Triplett, Joe Mays, and Alex Brooks were asked to provide their list of the top-5 centers in the NBA as of right now – here are the results of their selections ranked five through one.
#5. Marc Gasol (5th Place Votes, 2 out of 3)
Tyler Triplett: He’s coming off of a knee injury this year, but Gasol is still one of the most versatile centers in the league. He has a nice midrange shot and a wide variety of post moves. Gasol is a good passer and he regularly works the high/low with Zach Randolph. He’s also a good one-on-one post defender, and is the anchor of the Grizzlies defense.
Jr. Williams: Since his return from injury, the Memphis Grizzlies have awaken from their hibernation and are threatening the Dallas Mavericks in a chase for the 8th playoff seed. Gasol can go toe-to-toe with any center in the NBA, he’s one hec of a passer, and shoots close to 50 percent from the field. The only issue I have with Marc Gasol are his rebounding numbers. For a player his size, he should be averaging 10-11 rebounds per game, and because of his poor rebounding numbers, he isn’t ranked higher on my list.
#4. Joakim Noah (4th Place Votes, 3 out of 4)
Tyler Triplett: Joakim Noah is the heart and soul of the Chicago Bulls. He’s a scrappy defender, and has an underrated offensive game. He’s an animal on the offensive glass, averaging 3.8 offensive rebounds per game. He’s also a great passer, averaging a career high 4.1 assists per game this season.
Alexander Brooks: Noah is having a career year, averaging more than 11 points and 11 rebounds per contest. His on-court play has been on the steady incline, but so has his temper. If he doesn’t control this, he may get into some trouble and a drop off would likely occur, but as of right now he is a top five center for sure.
Joe Mays: The passion and leadership he brings to the court is incredible. Some of this doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, but is a necessary piece to a contending team. When Rose went down, the Bulls still look like a respectable team a many nights. If they didn’t have Noah, I don’t believe this would be the case. He’s one of those glue guys that just about any team in the league would love to have
Jr. Williams: Noah makes my top-4 only by default. Brook Lopez would have replaced him, unfortunately he has been sidelined the entire season due to a foot injury. While I’m personally not a fan of Noah, he adds toughness to a Chicago Bulls team fighting to hold on to a playoff spot while missing their star player in Derrick Rose. Noah has an awkward shooting form yet he manages to shoot close to 50 percent from the field. His shot selection speaks that of an intelligent player who somehow finds a way to make it to the free throw line. Noah has also managed to perform at an high enough level to make several NBA All-Star appearances. Whether or not he is an actual “All-Star” is debatable.
#3. Roy Hibbert (3rd Place Votes, 3 out of 3)
Tyler Triplett: Standing at 7’2″, Hibbert is one of the most physically imposing players in the league. Hibbert is averaging 2.4 blocks per game this year and is one of the best defensive players in the NBA. His height makes him a nightmare to deal with in the paint.
Joe Mays: There is no denying that Hibbert’s one of the game’s best big men. His sheer presence on the court caused the Miami Heat to take a chance with Greg Oden and rumors even surfaced that they were interested in signing Andrew Bynum. His size causes problems for opposing teams who try driving to the hoop, which in turn helps Indy’s team defense. His numbers may not be the greatest, but his presence is a key piece to Indy’s success.
Jr. Williams: Roy Hibbert is easily a top-3 center in the league without a doubt. Here’s a player who can provide a solid contribution in scoring and can protect the basket better than any center in the NBA because of his size and length. How good of an NBA center is Roy Hibbert? He’s ranked third in the NBA in blocks per game (2.43), he will make his second consecutive NBA All-Star appearance, and the Pacers are en route to make another NBA Eastern Conference Finals appearance. What more could you ask for?