The NBA’s Best Centers

The NBA may still be a perimeter oriented game, but coaches and general managers still yearn for a dominant center to reside in the post with his back to the basket. However, just as seven-footers are rare in the general population, quality big men are an exciting find in the game of professional basketball. There appears to be a great influx of these giants developing their game in the pros now. The future is bright for fans of these old school basketball players, but the fact that they are developing now beckons the question: who are the best now?

The following is a list of the ten best centers right now. They may play in different offensive systems, but there quality is evident nonetheless. At seven feet tall and over 250 pounds it is difficult for these players to hide when they screw up or are making a big difference.

My requirements are pretty simple: the player must play in the post (no players like David Lee that are really power forwards simply playing in a system that does not really use a center) and must play more than 30 minutes a game. I look at the traditional stats (points, rebounds, and blocks) because despite their simplicity they are truly the best numbers to use to see if the player can score and dominate the paint.

Number 1: Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

Height: 6-11 Weight: 265 Age: 24
Points: 17.9 Rebounds: 13.0 Blocks: 2.33


Howard’s points are down, but he is playing with a few more scorers than in years’ past (Re: Vince Carter) and has been willing to become part of the team system. He is simply an amazing athlete that has begun to learn the nuances of the post position that go beyond timing the jump for the alley-oop and muscling out everyone for the rebound. He leads the league in rebounding and is dangerous enough in the post to require double teams. Howard is a deft enough passer out of the post to make teams pay for double teams. He is everything a coach wants out of a post player.

Number 2: Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

Height: 6-11 Weight: 260 Age: 33
Points: 20.0 Rebounds: 10.8 Blocks: 2.14


Tim Duncan has finally been accepted as a center league-wide after years of most folks holding on to the fallacy that he is a power forward. It took a few years after David Robinson’s retirement, but Duncan became the Spurs center a while ago. He may take the ball at the elbow, but that is because he has a great mid-range shot and is an excellent passer. He can still muscle the ball in and solid post presence that does not receive nearly enough recognition for his ability to block shots and rebounds.

Number 3: Brooks Lopez, New Jersey Nets

Height: 7-0 Weight: 265 Age: 21
Points: 19.5 Rebounds: 9.6 Blocks: 2.00


The New Jersey Nets may be the worst team in the NBA, but the silver lining is that Brooks Lopez is taking advantage of this time to become a great NBA center. He is athletic and already being double teamed as the focus of the Nets offense in just his second season. He has responded by averaging nearly 20 points and 10 boards a game. Lopez can even shoot the ball out to the three point line. He is scary good.

Number 4: Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies

Height: 7-1 Weight: 265 Age: 24
Points: 14.5 Rebounds: 10.0 Blocks: 1.44


Marc replaces his brother Pau as the Grizzlies center after the trade a couple of seasons ago. He has flourished in the role (as Pau has been able to flourish as a power forward, his natural position). Gasol can score in the post, hit a mid-range jumper, block shots, block out, and pass out of the block. He is the everything-man that needs to be recognized in Memphis.

Number 5: Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks

Height: 6-10 Weight: 245 Age: 23
Points: 13.3 Rebounds: 9.5 Blocks: 1.31


He may seem a little small, but he is center that has a wide bottom that can clear out space for boards. He also has a mid-range jumper that punishes defenders that do not come out and put a hand in his face. Horford is simply a quality big man without a flash. On a Hawks team blessed with athletic forwards this is actually a good thing.

Number 6: Al Jefferson, Minnesota Timberwolves

Height: 6-10 Weight: 265 Age: 24
Points: 16.9 Rebounds: 9.2 Blocks: .88


Al Jefferson will never be a blocks leader. He simply operates too low to the ground, but he operates so very well down there. He has an array of post moves that take advantage of his big butt and his long arms that neutralize the many more athletic defenders in the NBA. He is also the focus of the offense on a Timberwolves team that does not have enough talent to surround him with much help. Kevin Love is still adjusting to the physical demands of NBA basketball, so when he finally gets there this could be the most dangerous/least athletic tandem in the game.

Number 7: Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee Bucks

Height: 7-0 Weight: 260 Age: 25
Points: 15.2 Rebounds: 9.6 Blocks: 1.90


Bogut is a center that came into the league with great skill but limited athleticism. He is one of those rare players that have made great strides in his quickness. This is evident by his block totals. He came into the league and averaged .80 blocks a game and now he is up to a very respectable 1.90. He still is not going to jump out of the gym, but he is going to make the precision pass on the backdoor cut, fake a defender with an up and under, and hit a jumper from 15 feet out. He is sure to be the butt of jokes when he tries to play outside of his athletic ability, but just about every team will wish they had him on their roster.

Number 8: Chris Kaman, Los Angeles Clippers

Height: 7-0 Weight: 265, Age: 27
Points: 19.3 Rebounds: 8.8 Blocks: 1.38


Kaman’s biggest problem is consistency. He is actually a pretty decent athlete, but has had injury problems his entire career. He also plays for the Clippers so he is easy to forget. People some how remember the poor hair choices more so than a string of double-doubles. He can score with his back to the basket and will occasionally post a 20-rebound game (even with Marcus Camby on the floor). Unfortunately, he may follow that up with a 6 point/ 4 rebound game.

Number 9: Nene Hilario, Denver Nuggets

Height: 6-11 Weight: 250 Age: 27
Points: 13.4 Rebounds: 8.6 Blocks: 1.11


Nene is the defensive glue that holds the Nuggets together. He is a wide body that roams the lane. His numbers suffer because he is the one defender in the Nuggets starting five (Kenyon Martin has never been recognized for his defensive contributions for a reason).

Number 10: Jermaine O’Neal, Miami Heat

Height: 6-11 Weight: 255 Age: 31
Points: 13.6 Rebounds: 7.3 Blocks: 1.14


Jermaine O’Neal has managed to settle into the center position as he has gotten older. He still has the skills that made him an exciting power forward, but his quickness has evaded him and now the extra weight he has put on make him a decent player in the post. He still has the passing vision and the jump shot to be a weapon as a third option on the floor. Injuries have taken away that quickness along with age, hurting his ability to go after the rebound and send shots back, but he remains a quality (if overpaid) basketball player.

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The NBA Playoffs, the Magic, and the Three Pointer

The Orlando Magic are down 0-2 in the NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers. Sports sites and basketball experts are busy decoding every game and pinpointing the Magic’s struggle and one of the arguments you and I are sure to hear is that the Magic take too many threes.

The Magic have struggled to connect on the long range bombs making only 34.8 percent of shots beyond the arc in game one and 33.3 percent of those shots in game two. Considering that the good three point shooting teams hit around 38 percent of their long shots this is a problem, especially when you consider that 23 of the Magic’s 77 shots in the first game and 30 of the Magic’s 79 shots came from beyond the arc.

The Lakers have taken a mere 24 three point shots in the two games combined, so though the team has only made 33.3 percent or eight of those shots, their offense has not been devastated by the misses.

This will of course begin the conversation that I began to hear from the announcers in the Eastern Conference Finals when it became clear that the Magic were going to bury the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the NBA’s, finals dream. The sentiment was reiterated several times, seemingly at each miss, that the problem with the Magic is that they live and die by the three.

Common basketball wisdom states that the closer you are to the basket the easier it is to make the shot, so if the majority of your shots are from a farther distance then you are simply playing tempting fate to give you a bad night at the worst possible moment in a series.

I think that there is more to the distain color commentators and some (not all) experts have for the three. The first is that many times you have coaches, a Jeff Van Gundy or a Mike Fratello, dispersing their basketball wisdom from the safety of the sidelines where they do not have to suffer the wrath of fans seeking blood for losses and where their sports philosophy can be neatly justified on a single play.

These coaches like to win and to have control and it is easier to exert control by focusing on defense and slowing the pace of the game (i.e. not taking 20 threes and pounding the ball inside instead). A few do not mind letting the players have fun and play within a loose system. There are coaches like Don Nelson with 100+ points per game teams in the early 21st century when the game was still coming out of the guerilla play of the 1990s and suffering from an influx of high schoolers unaware of how to actually play the game. However, most coaches are like Jeff Van Gundy who expresses some disdain for the three and favors a suffocating defense (look at the Knicks in 1996-97) that has the effect of decreasing his team’s own scoring ability thanks to the level of control over the tempo of the game.

The second reason for the doubt of the power of the three is that in single-game elimination tournaments like the NCAA Tournament the great equalizer in every match up is the three point shot. No matter how overwhelmed a lower seed is by the size of the players and the level of talent on the higher seeded team, if they can shoot lights out and hit 50 percent of their shots from beyond the arc they have a chance for an upset. Thus, the three point shot take on this almost underdog association, so if a team takes a lot of three point shots then they must be covering up for a deficient offense.

The third and final reason I think people have issue with the three is that some of the teams that take the most three point shots do so with little regard to an actual offensive system that sets up good shots. This season the NBA saw a number of very good teams adopt the three point shot into their system successfully. Still, there were still teams like the Indiana Pacers and the New Jersey Nets that took 20 plus threes a game and missed the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. These teams did not get back on defense and played seemed to give up on the court sometimes.

The problem with all these arguments is that they do not necessarily apply to the Orlando Magic or today’s game. From a league stand point, if you look at the ten teams that took the most three point shots this season seven made the playoffs. There combined record was 474-346. If you look at the ten teams that took the least three point shots five made the playoffs, but the combined record was 365-455.

After years of changing rules to encourage a perimeter game and up the scoring it appears as though the three point shot has become a serious component of the best teams’ game. Cleveland, Orlando, and San Antonio were among those teams that took the most three point shots and they were all within the top three seeds in their conferences. The three point shot is no longer a weapon of choice for the underdog, but increasingly a nail in the coffin from the favorites.

From a team stand point, the Orlando Magic are not the happy-go-lucky shooting team that jacks up the long range bombs with abandonment. The team has an offense built around the post, or built around Dwight Howard. With Howard in the middle, four perimeter shooters, and solid ball movement the average three point shot is a good set shot. If anything, the offense is based on solid fundamentals, going in then out or simply finding the open shot. They get back on defense too, holding teams to 94.4 points per game during the regular season and 94.3 points per game in the postseason on their way to the finals.

If anything, John Hollinger of ESPN notes in the Daily Dime that the problem may actually be that the Orlando Magic guards are not pushing the ball for a secondary break. In a secondary break the ball is pushed up the court to one side quickly and then reversed to the other side where one of the solid shooters has set up for a good three point shot.

That lack of ball movement has, yes led to bad three point shots, but the answer is to find better three point shots, not abandon the perimeter. Then you may see Howard posting 40 point games where he faces single coverage and is free to get those thunderous put back dunks that killed the Cavs.

So, yes the Magic will live and die by the three, but after winning 59 games in the regular season and winning playoff series against the Celtics and the Cavs they are not predestined to die because of the three point shot. In fact, the answer to the 0-2 hole is take better three point shots and let those quality perimeter players make their open shots.

That will open up the inside game and make the Lakers choose between single coverage on Howard or hoping its defense can recover with three perimeter defenders on four good shooters.

So, yes, only three teams have come back from a 0-2 start to win the finals, but let’s not forget that the Magic have the great equalizer, the three point shot, on their side.

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NBA Playoffs Predictions

After a month prelude that was at times compelling (Celtics-Bulls) and at times uninspired (Mavs-Spurs) the conference finals have finally begun. The Los Angeles Lakers, who won last night thanks to Kobe’s fourth quarter performance, play the Denver Nuggets for the Western Conference title and the Cleveland Cavs play the Orlando Magic for the Eastern Conference title.

I expect much from each series this postseason, a season that has lived up to its billing as the second season, a long season that really needs to end soon before it saps all the excitement out of the game (seriously, this game is supposed to be fast paced, instead the ending seems to be as prolonged as biopic getting the Oliver Stone treatment).

I have looked at each series after mourning my Bulls loss in the first round and decided that five things should happen in each series. Some of these things are based on facts, but most are based on quasi-objective observations and my imagination.

The Los Angeles Lakers versus the Denver Nuggets

1. Pump Up The Scoreboard

Despite the relative low scoring affair (Lakers 105- Nuggets 103) on Tuesday night I expect the series to be a high scoring affair. Critics will argue that the Lakers have been playing the third best defensive efficiency in the playoffs and the Nuggets have been fourth, but both defensive performances need to be presented with asterisks.

The Lakers played a second round series against a Rockets team without any Tracy McGrady and with Yao Ming lasting just three games before ending his season with an injury. That left offensive powerhouses Ron Artest (Mr. Good Shot Selection) and Aaron Brooks (who led the Rockets in scoring in two games with 14 and 13 points) to confound the Lakers and “challenge” the defense.

The Nuggets played a first round series against the Hornets, a team that gave up before the playoffs began, which had a profound on the numbers. I think the true series to gage Denver’s defensive ferocity is the Dallas series, in which Denver gave up 106.8 points per game. Of course the Nuggets also scored 114 per game to win it in five.

I expect this series to have both teams scoring around 110 points a game for the rest of the series. These are two squads that loved to score during the regular season (L.A.-106.9 PPG, Denver- 104.3 PPG) and only played defense because they were told they had to. I think each team will serve as an enabler for the other, allowing the Nuggets bench to put up uncontested jumpers with 20 seconds left on the shot clock and allowing the Lakers to put on an interior passing clinic.

2. The Birdman Will Arrive

Chris Anderson’s career was destined to fall well short of respectable not a year ago. He was known for taking a day and a half to complete a dunk at the 2005 Dunk Contest after uttering the phrase, “It’s time for the Birdman to fly.” He also was kicked out of the league for two years for smoking pot. Had he not appealed the life time ban he would never get a chance to shine again and would forever be known as another terrible token white guy in the NBA.

Now he has a shot to become America’s favorite role player. Despite the hilarity of watching him fail to throw an alley oop to himself (a feat Nate Robinson repeated the next year and won the contest because he is near midget status), the Birdman is an incredible leaper with a penchant for grabbing a lot of rebounds and blocking a lot of shots in very few minutes.

The Birdman will fly all series long, blocking Gasol and Bynum a couple of opportune times and spurring fans to ponder how his or her team can pry Anderson away from the Nuggets for their team to start at center.

3. Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups Will Shine

Carmelo Anthony has been playing the type of basketball that made him the best player on the USA Basketball Men’s team in 2006. He is averaging 28.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 4.3 assists a game in the postseason. A strong performance in this series should take him from reserve on the All Star team to unquestioned starter. This has been a long time coming for a guy that has largely been forgotten by the casual fan thanks to the exploits of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade (to other players drafted in 2003).

Chauncey Billups is averaging 21.7 points and 7.4 assists a game and, more importantly is being recognized as the key proponent in transforming the Denver Nuggets from a Rocky Mountain side show good enough for a series or two of high octane basketball to a suddenly serious contender for an NBA title. He will prove that his time and his numbers with the Pistons downplayed his greatness. He will finally get the respect he deserves and solidify his reputation as one of the best point guards in the NBA right now.

4. Kobe Will Dominate

The Lakers have failed to play to their potential this postseason (Really, it took seven games to beat Houston?). Their play has been lackluster at best. One player will find that fire again this series and he is, of course, Kobe Bryant.

Bryant already single handedly won Game 1 with 40 points and six clutch free throws in the final half a minute. I expect Kobe to continue taking over games, averaging near 40 points a game as the rest of the team fails to grasp that the Nuggets could actually beat them in a seven game series. Bryant’s competitive fire will not allow the Lakers to throw up such a dud in the series and eventually his passion will become contagious.

5. The Lakers Will Finally Wake Up

After Kobe dominates for the first five games the Lakers will find themselves down three games to two and finally Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, and the host of role players will play like they actually want to win a title.

Shannon Brown and Derek Fisher will start hitting every three point shot they take even if they are falling out of bounds and cannot see the basket, the refs will make some questionable calls along the way that give the Lakers an obscene free throw advantage over the final two games, and analysts will say that the Nuggets were not robbed, but that they failed to finish the series in an effort to downplay the fact that a everybody really wanted to see LeBron take on Kobe in the Finals.

The Cleveland Cavaliers versus the Orlando Magic

1. Identities Will Be Revealed

After realizing that the only player he or she knows on the Cavs is LeBron, the average basketball fan will shocked to learn that the starting backcourt consists of Mo Williams and Delonte West, two players they have never heard of before. The fans will also be shocked to learn that these two players are the second and third leading scorer on the team and that they are actually quite good.

2. The Spelling Bee

Thousands of sports bloggers will learn to spell Zydrunas Ilgauskas without referencing ESPN. They will recount his name time and again as the Cavs fail to utilize his mid-range jumper and he serves as a perpetual poster child for Dwight Howard.

3. Turkoglu Will Collapse

Hedo Turkoglu will collapse on the court by Game 4. Turkoglu has served as the very poor man’s Magic Johnson for Orlando since last season, and the Magic’s postseason fate seems to depend on how much Turkoglu has left in the tank. The addition of Rafer Alston in midseason helped, but Turk still directs the half court offense.

He will also be matched up with LeBron James. Turk is not a naturally good defender, so he will have to put forth a great deal of effort to keep LeBron from completely embarrassing him and beating Orlando by himself. With such difficult demands on both ends of the court the 6 foot 10, 220 pound versatile forward will leave everything on the floor in the first four games and be hailed by the announcers for his incredible effort in the face of impossible circumstances.

4. Dwight Howard Will Outplay James For One Quarter

Dwight Howard will have one quarter where he unleashes his unique combination of freak athleticism and pure power on the Cavs in the paint. Nobody will be able to stop him as he takes a quick step and rises to dunk the ball over any defender. He will split double teams, grab every offensive rebound, and catch every impossible lob for a shattering throw down. He may even break a backboard or two or rock the hydraulics so hard that the basket collapses.

This will be a single quarter that peers into the future and reminds everyone that Howard is a future Hall of Fame player. He will be compared to Shaq while he was on the Magic when he won with pure power, quickness, and incredible skill (before the NBA officials gave him a license to play like a skill-less brute during the Lakers three peat).

5. LeBron Will Be Everywhere

I am not just talking about emphatic jump from behind blocks. LeBron will take his game to the next level and prove that he is more than just a capable defender, covering every position on the floor. He will smother point guard Rafer Alston while he brings the ball up the court and he will decimate Dwight Howard with stonewalling blocks on the block in the post.

With his performance this series he will put to the rest the old argument that he can do everything but defend and make a case that perhaps he, not Howard deserved the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.

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How To Fix NBA All Star Weekend

This weekend the NBA All Star Game brings together the most popular (not the best) players in the league, a bonanza of sponsorship deals, and 20 hours of useless television coverage. This is truly a corporate retreat run awry. I should not have to listen Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith reflect on their careers as professional basketball players for hours on end just to watch a few events that should take a little more than an two hours to complete.

The pre-All Star game event schedule is simply too crowded. They include the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge, the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, the Foot Locker Three Point Shootout, the Playstation Skills Challenge, and Horse. The freaking names are too long and they include too many young players that nobody outside of their home city cares about.

The first step to fixing this log jam is by eliminating rookie challenge and the skills challenge. This leaves the dunk contest, the three point shoot out, and Bill Simmons’ favorite, Horse.

The Slam Dunk contest needs big names to matter. That means that if you cannot start on an NBA team you do not get to participate. Also, if Sprite wants to continue to sponsor the event the player they are using to pimp their product must participate. That means LeBorn James would be under contractual obligation to wow the crowd.

The rest of the field should include past winners and players who consistently appear on ESPN highlights. That means Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, and Dwayne Wade should fill out the competition. With all apologies to the rookies and pint sized New York Knicks guard Nate Robinson (he needed like 30 dunks to win it, sorry Knicks fan he’s a no go) should watch it from the sidelines. Nobody can deny that would be an unbelievable group of names and would triple the ratings.

The next event, the three point contest would be tweaked. Instead of current players who can stroke it, former players turned GMs would play to save their jobs. That means this years field would include Steve Kerr of the mind boggling disastrous Phoenix Suns, John Paxson of the lost and confused Chicago Bulls, Joe Dumars of the falling Detroit Pistons, and Mike Dunleavy of the simply terrible Los Angeles Clippers would round out the field.

I think watching these guys shoot in desperation for their jobs would be entertaining and cathartic. The winner would get to keep there job for another season while the other three would have to face the ax after the season was over.

The game of Horse would be between Michael Jordan and Larry Bird every year until one of them is unable to support themselves in an upright position. The winner would get a Big Mac.

Thank you YoutTube and nigrigsjb for keeping priceless memories alive

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Pure Greatness or Sensational Center Skills, the NBA GM?s Dilemma

Which is rarer, pure greatness or a great center? This question came up after Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel posted the vexing question in anticipation for the Cleveland Cavaliers-Orlando Magic game on Thursday night. Essentially the article was asking what is more valuable to a championship team, a player with pure greatness like LeBron James or a player with an incredible set of skills for a true center?

I began this question by looking at the obvious, height. LeBron is 6 foot 8 and Howard is 6 foot 11. However people in general over the height of 6 foot 4 are such a small portion of the population that the only verifiable charts I found were for the population of the United States broken down by age and the ceiling was a bit short at 6 foot 4.

Basically, tall people are rare and tall people with enough balance to run down a court for 40 minutes a game and turn with lightening quickness (or penetrate with a crab dribble) are supremely rare. The basic thought among the team builders is that a center with All Star skills is simply so rare he is to be chosen above any other player when building a team.

The height and size allow the player to get easy baskets close to the rim and allow the team to protect the easiest part of the court on the end with game changing defense. Let’s face it. It is much more difficult to hit 50 percent of your midrange jump shots than finish even 50 percent of your layups. With a big man like Howard, teams will struggle to finish 40 percent of their interior baskets.

King James is not just a wing player. He is a powerful player built like a football player, but with a basketball mentality. He also qualifies for the Jordan-exception. Experts may like to say that 7 of the last 10 championships have been won by teams with dominate players in the middle. Shaq and the Los Angeles Lakers and the Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs have dominated this last decade.

Meanwhile stupendous guards like Kobe and Steve Nash have come up championship-less when they have no dominant player in the post.

Still, Lets not forget that Michael Jordan (listed at 6 foot 6, but I believe he was really closer to 6 foot 4) was the single greatest force in the NBA during the ‘90s. He won six championships in eight seasons. This was a decade with a young Shaq, a Dream Machine Hakeem Olajuwon, a great defending and shooting Patrick Ewing, the Admiral David Robinson, and Alonzo Mourning. Those are five truly great centers with good supporting casts that could not overcome Jordan’s pure greatness (and his supporting cast).

Even Schmitz notes in his article that NBA great Bill Walton (a center himself) will take such greatness at any position. On a side note Walton talks about MJ as an example yet I remember him exclusively picking any team but the Bulls each championship year because the Bulls had no real serviceable big man.

Anyway, I have to agree. James already took a Cavs team to the NBA Finals. True they came out of the height of the Leastern Conference moniker and the Spurs made them look like an unprepared malnourished team talent wise, but still James took a team with very little help to the big series already.

If you give Howard and James two guys who can play at least near All Star levels then I have to give the edge to James because he is simply so transcendent as a player.

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Ode to the Rebound, My New NBA Obsession

The glorious world of the NBA has fans who adorn their walls with pictures of tremendous athletes who can work magic with an orange leather ball. How many guys have LeBron James posterizing some poor second string guy trying to earn a multi-year contract and not be remembered as a cringing face on a highlight reel? How many have people have Dwayne Wade on the wall twisting and contorting his way through the lane for level of basketball awe and impossibility.

It’s not just scorers. Plenty of fans have Steve Nash slow driving past some poor susceptible guard and throwing a no look pass across his body to the right while looking left. There are millions of posters of Chris Paul tossing up an alley-oop to Tyson Chandler just about to go air born in the middle of the lane.

These are the sexy players with the sultry moves that David Stern wants to sell desperately to bring back the NBA to its former glory. Unfortunately, the blue-collar big boys only get some love on the Sportscenter top ten when they are catching a 12-foot lob a couple of feet from the rim.

No, these guys need some respect and their bread and butter needs some attention too. I am talking about rebounds. Twenty four players average more than 20 points a game, but only 9 players average over 10 rebounds a game.

Dwight Howard is leading the league with his performance in the middle for the Orlando Magic with 13.6 boards. He is a big name. There are plenty of other players. Marcus Camby is crashing the boards for the Los Angeles Clippers along with Zach Randolph. Andris Biedrins is becoming the sweet shooting lefty every coach desperately wants on the roster. Emeka Okafor is solid in Charlotte and David Lee has excelled in the new D’Antoni coached world of the New York Knicks.

Even Andrew Bogut is redeeming himself as a complete first pick bust at the Bradley Center for the Milwaukee Bucks. Yes, most of this list of power forwards and centers get to man the lanes without much love from the crowd, instead hearing more boos when they pick up a clumsy foul than cheers when picking up an errant missed free throw.

I declare that I will try and appreciate the box out as much as the buzzer beating three. I declare that every fan should encourage their seven footer, whether they are lumbering around the lane or sealing the block for a quick right jump hook.

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