I’m sitting here thinking of all the great centers that have come and gone in the NBA. I’m starting to reflect on how SOFT that position has become over the years. I remember the Patrick Ewing/Hakeem Olajuwon battles in the NBA Finals. Or when David “The Admiral” Robinson dropped 71 points vs the Clippers in a game back in 93′. Furthermore “The Diesel” Shaquille O’Neal breaking backboards in Orlando and winning trophies in LA. Also can’t neglect Indiana Pacers ex center Rik “The Dunkin-Dutchman”Smits. Many analysts (along with myself) thought he would have been better if he was not plagued by injuries. The 7’4 center averaged 14.6 ppg and just under 7 rebounds per outing. Although he is not nearly as recognized as the centers I mentioned above, I believe he had a decent career. Then you have the Dikembe Mutombo’s, the best rim protector I have seen come through the NBA. Also a fellow Georgetown University Alumni Alonzo Mourning, 7 time all-star and 2 time DPOY. Just a tiny example of the era of centers I had the chance to watch growing up as a youngster.
Fast forward to present day and you have clear-cut the Top 2 centers in basketball,l in Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum its not even close. You can put those two guys in any order, after the two big fish who rounds out the Top 5 center in round ball? Some throw out the name Joahkim Noah of the Chicago Bulls, while others might insert Indiana Pacers big Roy Hibbert into the equation. I have heard people even say
Marcin Gortat, that name goes in one ear and out the other to most NBA Heads. In my opinion yeah Gortat had a solid season in Phoenix he averaged 15&10- but is he top 5 material yet? Don’t count on it. Tyson Chandler is another name that leaps at you when you think TRUE center, Chandler won DPOY honors last season.
Brooklyn Nets Center Brook Lopez is a guy I think deserves to be in this discussion, he is definitely TOP 5 on my board. Many say no Brook Lopez is not top 5, but they have a legitimate reason as to why not. The one and probably the only thing that sticks out like a sore thumb to many is his inability to rebound the ball. Certainly not the best rebounding center in the league averaging an alarming 3.6 rpg last season. Keep in mind he only played a limited amount of games in an already short NBA season (5). That’s still no excuse and I own up to that, Brook definitely has to be more active on the glass this season. Maybe he can go workout with and shadow power forward Kris Humphries, after all he did average 11 rpg, good enough for Top 5. On the flip side, the 4th year Center out of Stanford does show tremendous upside and has a knack for scoring. Brook has an entourage of post moves with a feather soft touch around the rim, and an Incredible Hulk-like exterior standing (7’0 270lbs). After Andrew Bynum I believe Lopez is the 2nd best scoring Center in all of basketball. Last season Brook averaged 19.2 points per game in only 5 games. In the 2010-2011 he was 3rd amongst centers in scoring at 20.4 points per game. Brook has a 80% free throw shooting percentage for his career and also shoots at 50% clip from the field. In his 2009-2010 campaign Lopez was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team behind Dwight Howard. Offensively Lopez is solid, the rebounding will come especially with Deron Williams and Joe Johnson attracting oodles of attention. That will open up room in the paint for Lopez to get position and rebound more assertive. Brooklyn obviously saw something in Lopez, they signed him back for 4 years at $61 million dollars. The next question would be is Brook Lopez worth $61 million dollars? Yes he most definitely is! Especially with the talent we have in the NBA running around at center. Bottom-line is Brook Lopez is a TOP 5 Center in the NBA right now. I’ll go out on the limb here and say After Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum I wouldn’t be surprised if Lopez had the 3rd best season this year BOOM.
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