- Bradford Doolittle
The No. 1 center spot was once Dwight Howard's exclusive domain, but things are changing. Howard is still as good as anyone in the middle, but he's being challenged by not only first-team All-NBA center Joakim Noah, but by dynamic young players on teams that are, to put it kindly, in transitional phases.
Defensive mobility is an essential trait for today's big men, or else they can be schemed right off the court. But however you value the contributions of today's centers, rim protection remains as important as ever and ensures that the NBA isn't going retire the position anytime soon.
Below we continue our NBA positional ranking according to forecast WARP, with the projected top 10 centers for the 2014-15 NBA season. (An explanation of the statistic can be found at the bottom of the page.)
Last year's center rankings are here.
Projected 2014-15 WARP: 11.5 | Win%: 64 percent
Drummond might be the league's best rebounder, and his ability to dunk everything keeps his offensive efficiency high. His 13.8 WARP last season ranked 11th in the league, and he ended the season still too young to legally purchase a six pack of beer. Yet Drummond can be so much better. First, he's carving out a special place for himself among the pantheon of the NBA's worst free throw shooters. And his defensive real plus-minus (RPM) was break-even despite his shot-blocking and off-the-charts rebounding. Hopefully Stan Van Gundy can harness Drummond's immense energy and channel it in a positive direction.
Bradford Doolittle says there's a changing of the guard in the paint as new, talented big men like Joakim Noah and Andre Drummond have supplanted the old.