10.) Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets
Dwight Howard had an awful season for Howard’s standards. He averaged a double-double for his 11th straight season, but his 13.7 points per game was his least point total since his rookie year. Howard is crazy if he thinks he is deserving of a max contract at the age of 30. If any general manager gives him the contract he wants, he deserved to be fired.
9.) Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic
Nikola Vucevic is the most underrated center in the NBA. The only reason no one talks about him is because he is stuck on the Orlando Magic. Vucevic is a smooth offensive player who averaged 18.2 points per game. He led the Magic in scoring two consecutive years and rebounding ever since he joined the team. His 65 games played prevented him from placing higher on my list.
8.) Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets
Two centers in the NBA averaged 20+ points per game in 2015-2016; DeMarcus Cousins and Brook Lopez. Lopez led the Brooklyn Nets in points per game with 20.6, but someone has to score on the third worst team in the NBA. His only problem is Lopez hasn’t played a full season in five years. With a depletion in draft picks, Lopez needs to use his 20.6 points per game to bring free agents to Brooklyn.
7.) Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks
Al Horford has worked on trying to expand his three-point game over the last four seasons. It developed over 2015-2016. Horford shot a career high 34.4 percent from the three-point line and made a career high 88 three-point shots. He is a team player who led the Hawks to the playoffs ever since he entered the league. Horford is the most versitile big man on the 2016 free agent market.
6.) Pau Gasol, Chicago Bulls
Pau Gasol had a strong season with trade rumors swirling all season. He averaged 16.5 points and 11 rebounds per game on an underperforming Chicago Bulls team. The Bulls went 6-4 without Gasol in the lineup. This was a weird season as he couldn’t lead the Bulls to the playoffs but the Bulls had an above 500 record without him. Gasol will move on from the windy season this offseason.
5.) Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat
Hassan Whiteside led the NBA in blocks with a career high 3.7 per game. He also had career highs in points and rebounds with 14.2 and 11.8, respectively. His points, rebounds and block totals increased every year over his four-year career. Many question if Whiteside is worth a max contract. The answer: YES. An NBA franchise will get a top-2 defensive center with an improving offensive game for years to come.
4.) DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers
DeAndre Jordan is the most efficient center in the NBA. He shot a center high 70.3 percent from the field this season. His biggest flaw is free-throw shooting which improved over 2015-2016. Jordan made 266 free-throw shots and shot 43 percent from the line. Those are his highest totals in the last four seasons when he was exposed to his weakness. This was also Jordan’s third season with 2+ blocks per game. Jordan joins Whiteside as a top-2 defensive center in the NBA.
3.) Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves have found their franchise player. Karl-Anthony Towns averaged 18.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game over all 82 games his rookie season. His smooth transition from college to NBA basketball makes him the likely favorite for the 2016 NBA Rookie of the Year award. He was a force on both ends of the court and showed front court versatility. The Karl-Anthony Towns and Tom Thibodeau tandem should frighten the NBA.
2.) Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons
Andre Drummond developed into a double-double machine. Drummond led all centers in the NBA with 66 double doubles. The next best center dropped 51. He ranked sixth with 16.2 points and first with 14.8 rebounds per game among centers over 2015-2016. Both his points and rebounding numbers have improved each of his four seasons. Stan Van Gundy found his new Dwight Howard.
1.) DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings
DeMarcus Cousins ranked fourth in the NBA with a career high 26.9 points per game. He made 70 three-point shots and never made more than four before 2015-2016. Cousins is a force who is wasting his time in Sacramento. His attitude gave him 17 technical fouls and made it known he wants out. The fact that Sacramento hasn’t traded him is insane.