Marcin Gortat, Wizards
The Polish Hammer has the best Mohawk in the league, no question. He’s also one of the few effective starting centers that plays a bruising style.
Steven Adams, Thunder
He’s the league’s most agitating player. Who else angers opponents by simply standing next to them?
Kendrick Perkins, Jazz
Big Perk will likely be bought out by the Jazz, but I’m sure OKC fans will miss his ball handling antics, inability to finish layups and certainly his scowl. What a sad day in OKC, at least it still has Scott Brooks.
Zaza Pachulia, Bucks
Pachulia has been a pleasant surprise in Milwaukie after the injury plague (and headcase drama- Yes Larry, that’s you) that clouded the rotation. Pachulia has made a career as a banger, but his heady passing from the elbows this season has given him more offensive value.
Omer Asik, Pelicans
Asik has bounced around the league the past few seasons as teams like his size and physical style. Then they realize this guy kills the concept of spacing, lets trade him.
Jusuf Nurkic, Nuggets
Aaron Baynes, Spurs
Baynes is the latest Spurs prospect to develop into a solid rotation player. Baynes fully embraces his role of battling and wearing down opposing bigs inside in his limited minutes.
Enes Kanter, Thunder
Kanter came into the league as a prototypical banger, but the Jazz attempted to recreate his shot and make him more of an outside threat. Now with OKC, Kanter will have more opportunities to showcase his double-pump jumper to a national audience.
Gorgui Dieng, Timberwolves
The Wolves big man emerged as a rim protector and diver last season as his length and athleticism filled the role admirably. However, the Wolves have been using Dieng as more of a faceup player who operates more from the elbows. The learning curve has been a bit slow, but it’s not as if Minnesota is in win now mode.
3) Couldn’t Find a Fit
Kosta Koufos, Grizzlies
Koufos is a bit of a rim diver as he is constantly placed in pick and rolls while on the court, but he doesn’t possess the elite length or athleticism we typically associate with those centers. Also he’s a man-on-man post defender and a heady rotational helper, but he isn’t going to challenge at the rim. Koufos is a valuable backup who does several things well, but nothing great.
Kelly Olynyk, Celtics
Olynyk plays more like a PF. He is a faceup shooter who prefers to take his opponents off the dribble when attempting scoring moves. He’s also adept at finding openings and cutting to the rim, and is a skilled passer.
DeMarcus Cousins, Kings
BOOGIE!!! For better or worse there isn’t another center like Boogie in the league. He can faceup, bully opponents on the block and has become a very effective defender at the rim. But for all the good Boogie offers you still get stuff like this… and this. One-of-a-kind Boogie!
Marc Gasol, Grizzlies
Gasol is the best big man in the NBA that is actually a human being (AD isn’t human). Offensively, Gasol is a maestro when operating from the elbows, and his overhead pass fake-turned jump shot from the top of the key is one of the subtle joys of the NBA. Defensively, Gasol’s nimble footwork and awareness of rotations makes him one of the most effective help defenders in the game.
Al Horford Hawks
When healthy, Horford can rival any center in the league. He’s a crafty screener, and his versatility and decision making in the pick and roll makes him one of the more difficult covers for opposing bigs. As a defender Horford is a mold of a more athletic Gasol and Noah. He is disciplined and aware in his rotations, and moves well laterally to defend pick and rolls.
6) The Champ
Tim Duncan, Spurs
Duncan is so much fun to watch at this point in his career; he just understands the game so well and seems to be playing at a different speed than everyone else. He has developed himself into an effective pick and roll and pick and pop player as the landscape of NBA offense has changed. Duncan has great hands and his patience when catching and finishing on the pick and roll is something any young aspiring big man should attempt to emulate. Defensively, Duncan is quietly making a case for DPOY as his numbers protecting the rim are impressive.