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ClevelandOwnz
08-22-2009, 12:08 PM
Didn't see this -- sorry if its already posted.


In the fourth installment of HOOPSWORLD's series ranking the top five players at each position in the NBA, today we look at the center position. In today's NBA it is difficult to determine who is a center and who is a power forward. Is Tim Duncan a center or a power forward? How about Al Horford? Well, thankfully, Alex Raskin did all the work for me and the differentiation is right here.

Obviously Yao Ming is one name that would have been at, or at least near, the top of the list will be left off completely due to injury. But with the seven-time All-Star out for the season a spot opens up in what is a fairly thin group of NBA centers.

Without any further ado, let's get the ball rolling:

1. Dwight Howard, Orlando: It is impossible to ignore the rare combination of power and athleticism that Howard brings to the game. Howard came to the Magic straight out of high school as the first overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft and has exceeded expectations. Just 23 years old, Howard has already been named All-NBA First Team twice ('08 and '09) and was named the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year last season. Howard led the Magic on a surprising run to the NBA Finals, he posted career highs in blocks (2.9) and steals (1.0) per game. As Howard continues to develop an offensive repertoire to go along with his game changing defensive ability he will become not only the best center in the game today, but will secure a spot among the greatest big men of all time.

2. Al Jefferson, Minnesota: The 24-year old Jefferson was in the midst of a career season before a ruptured ACL in his right knee ended the 2008-09 season for the Timberwolves center. You can say what you want about posting big numbers for a bad team, but Minnesota appeared to be making strides after an awful start to the season (4-23) by winning 13 of the team's final 23 games with Jefferson in the lineup, including wins over playoff-bound New Orleans and Chicago. Jefferson has a nice post game based on fundamentals more than athleticism so his knee injury shouldn't stunt his growth terribly and he will continue to become one of the best big men in the NBA.

3. Shaquille O'Neal, Cleveland: The perception of Shaq's game at his advanced age is less than accurate in my opinion. Is he still the dominant force that won three consecutive NBA Finals MVPs? Not at all. Is he still one of the best centers in the NBA? There is absolutely no doubt. Shaq saw his scoring jump over four points per game from '07-'08 to '08-'09 while shooting a career best .609 from the field. The 15-time All-Star helped the Suns win 46 games last season, narrowly missing the playoffs despite playing the final eight weeks of the season without fellow All-Star Amar'e Stoudemire. Shaq also played in at least 75 games for the first time since the 1999-2000 season and only the fifth time in his career last season. With LeBron James and Mo Williams around to keep defenses from keying on him, Shaq figures to remain a highly efficient and productive player in 2010.

4. Emeka Okafor, New Orleans: Okafor has been one of the league's best kept secrets over the last couple of seasons while being stashed on one of the NBA's worst teams in Charlotte. The former University of Connecticut star has averaged a double-double in each of his five NBA seasons. Durability became a question mark surrounding Okafor early in his career, but the 2005 NBA Rookie of the Year has played in all 82 games in each of the last two seasons, starting all but one, and posted a career high .561 field goal percentage last year. While his career numbers aren't eye-popping (14 points and 10.7 rebounds per game), he has turned into one of the game's most steady big men. With a new team in New Orleans playing alongside Chris Paul, expect to see Okafor's scoring improve dramatically this season.

5. Andris Biedrins, Golden State: One of the most under-appreciated players in the NBA, Biedrins isn't the most polished offensive player on this list but the 23-year old Latvian posted career-highs in five statistical categories last season while averaging a double-double (11.9 points, 11.2 rebounds per game) for the first time in his career. At 6'11", 240 lbs., Biedrins has been in the top three in the NBA in field goal percentage each of the last three years, leading the league (.626) in 2007-08. On a Golden State squad with so many capable scorers (Corey Maggette, Monta Ellis, Stephen Jackson, etc.) Biedrins might not register huge offensive numbers, but his impact on both ends of the floor is simply too much to be ignored.

Honorable Mention: Mehmet Okur, Utah; Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee; Brook Lopez, New Jersey; Nene, Denver; Al Horford, Atlanta

I left some people off of this list that it was really difficult to omit. Marcus Camby has been such a presence on the defensive end of the floor for so long but he is 35, oft-injured and saw his assists, rebounds and blocks drop off precipitously last season. Chris Kaman can't seem to stay out of the training room and on the court. Ditto for Andrew Bynum and Greg Oden - if those two stay healthy they will definitely move on up the ladder.

Memo Okur is something of an enigma, doing the majority of his damage from the perimeter, shooting nearly 45 percent from three-point range last season. He isn't a traditional center but has played a big role for perennial playoff contenders.

Former number one overall selection Andrew Bogut averaged a double-double for the first time in his career last season, shooting a career high .577 from the floor but playing only 36 games. The Bucks were in playoff contention prior to Bogut's season coming to an end due to a stress fracture in his lower back.

Brook Lopez was thrust into the starting lineup early in his rookie season when Josh Boone was injured and Lopez never looked back. The former Stanford star showed immediately that he is a force on the defensive end and his offense improved steadily as the season moved on.

After several seasons in which injury kept Nene from reaching the potential that made him the seventh overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, Nene seems to have turned the corner after a career year in 2008-09. The Brazilian posted career-highs in seven statistical categories last season while becoming one of the game's top defensive centers.

While his numbers don't jump off the page at you, Al Horford has quietly averaged 10.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game during his two seasons in Atlanta. Horford is an unassuming, team-first guy who is playing out of position because the Hawks need him at the center.

Feel free to tell me why you agree or disagree below but if you disagree, you better tell me WHY. Don't just hit me with, "You're an idiot! Marc Gasol should've made this list!" Let's get the conversation started.

http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=13644

Adam
08-22-2009, 12:22 PM
this list just proves how perimeter oriented the league has become

TAS
08-22-2009, 12:30 PM
Okafor has been one of the league's best kept secrets over the last couple of seasons
:chuckles:

PIP
08-22-2009, 12:31 PM
Well thank goodness we finally have a center...Brad retired ages ago..

di0p
08-22-2009, 12:42 PM
Pretty good list, although I think Horford should be a little higher.

Wine and Gold
08-22-2009, 01:33 PM
As bad as most articles are of this kind, this one isn't bad. It actually is pretty well researched. Find it interesting that Z didn't even get a mention, given that he was the starting center on the team that won more games than any team in the league last year.

I guess having the best backup center in basketball is his new role.

In talking to Mike Brown, I guess it's ok if I let you guys know that he is planning on utilizing both Z and Shaq on the floor together this season. He does see good opportunities especially late in the 4th quarter of games when we utilize lots of situational sets, where having them on the floor together would really pose huge defensive problems for opposing teams, and he plans on utilizing those options.

The coach in me sees great opportunities that could be put to use given different player sets offensively.

Shaq inside would demand at least one strong body, but nobody singlehandedly can control his power. Z would demand the PF pull out on the floor. Lebron, of course, demands full team attention. Paired with Mo and possibly Boobie would open up a very spread floor.

No possiility of even attempting to cover all options ...actually none are covered well without exposing others completely. If we stay close in games, and preserve timeouts we will have extreme advantages on the rest of the teams in the league late in games.

On the defensive end we will come out with Lebron on the primary offensive threat. Moon and Parker will serve roles with AV, and Shaq in the middle.

Most games we'll have teams down and the games settled way before the 4th quarter, but when we are in tight games late, we will have matchup advantages on most every case scenario. The only issue with our current roster is having a plus defender for a small quick penetrating point guard.

If I were Mike Brown that would be the one roster issue that has yet to be addressed.

TyGuy
08-22-2009, 01:46 PM
As bad as most articles are of this kind, this one isn't bad. It actually is pretty well researched. Find it interesting that Z didn't even get a mention, given that he was the starting center on the team that won more games than any team in the league last year.

I guess having the best backup center in basketball is his new role.

In talking to Mike Brown, I guess it's ok if I let you guys know that he is planning on utilizing both Z and Shaq on the floor together this season. He does see good opportunities especially late in the 4th quarter of games when we utilize lots of situational sets, where having them on the floor together would really pose huge defensive problems for opposing teams, and he plans on utilizing those options.

The coach in me sees great opportunities that could be put to use given different player sets offensively.

Shaq inside would demand at least one strong body, but nobody singlehandedly can control his power. Z would demand the PF pull out on the floor. Lebron, of course, demands full team attention. Paired with Mo and possibly Boobie would open up a very spread floor.

No possiility of even attempting to cover all options ...actually none are covered well without exposing others completely. If we stay close in games, and preserve timeouts we will have extreme advantages on the rest of the teams in the league late in games.

On the defensive end we will come out with Lebron on the primary offensive threat. Moon and Parker will serve roles with AV, and Shaq in the middle.

Most games we'll have teams down and the games settled way before the 4th quarter, but when we are in tight games late, we will have matchup advantages on most every case scenario. The only issue with our current roster is having a plus defender for a small quick penetrating point guard.

If I were Mike Brown that would be the one roster issue that has yet to be addressed.I knew it:) Some teams like the magic, lakers and celtics will utilize two centers on the floor at the same time. Z offensively can play more of a forward role because of his jumpshot which gives shaq room to work in the paint.

Ruggeder
08-22-2009, 01:56 PM
As bad as most articles are of this kind, this one isn't bad. It actually is pretty well researched. Find it interesting that Z didn't even get a mention, given that he was the starting center on the team that won more games than any team in the league last year.

I guess having the best backup center in basketball is his new role.

In talking to Mike Brown, I guess it's ok if I let you guys know that he is planning on utilizing both Z and Shaq on the floor together this season. He does see good opportunities especially late in the 4th quarter of games when we utilize lots of situational sets, where having them on the floor together would really pose huge defensive problems for opposing teams, and he plans on utilizing those options.

The coach in me sees great opportunities that could be put to use given different player sets offensively.

Shaq inside would demand at least one strong body, but nobody singlehandedly can control his power. Z would demand the PF pull out on the floor. Lebron, of course, demands full team attention. Paired with Mo and possibly Boobie would open up a very spread floor.

No possiility of even attempting to cover all options ...actually none are covered well without exposing others completely. If we stay close in games, and preserve timeouts we will have extreme advantages on the rest of the teams in the league late in games.

On the defensive end we will come out with Lebron on the primary offensive threat. Moon and Parker will serve roles with AV, and Shaq in the middle.

Most games we'll have teams down and the games settled way before the 4th quarter, but when we are in tight games late, we will have matchup advantages on most every case scenario. The only issue with our current roster is having a plus defender for a small quick penetrating point guard.

If I were Mike Brown that would be the one roster issue that has yet to be addressed.

But thats too late to address with no roster spots left isn't it? We can pick one up at the deadline for someone that isn't working but isn't that a risky way of approaching filling a roster spot.

MYoung23
08-22-2009, 02:04 PM
Well thank goodness we finally have a center...Brad retired ages ago..

http://rlv.zcache.com/ronald_reagan_there_you_go_again_quote_tshirt-p235872777316759354trlf_400.jpg

MYoung23
08-22-2009, 02:15 PM
Tim Duncan played center most of last year. Just because Yao Ming is hurt doesnt mean you leave him off the list. He is injured not dead. Mehmet Okur is better than both Biedrins and Okafor.

It is a whole lot easier to put up numbers on a bad team. If Okafor's numbers go up in New Orleans that probably means they are spiraling toward the lottery. How does Biedrins impact the defensive end of the floor other than defensive rebounding? The Warriors are one of the worst defensive teams in the league and have been for a while

rabman_gold
08-22-2009, 02:37 PM
I think Z should've at least gotten some sort of recognition as a center. Just because he moved to the backup role doesn't excuse a 13-7 season at the age of 33. Al Horford, Nene, and Bogut had similar seasons, if not worse. Also, I agree that Yao and Tim should at least get some consideration as well.

TyGuy
08-22-2009, 02:59 PM
Tim Duncan played center most of last year. Just because Yao Ming is hurt doesnt mean you leave him off the list. He is injured not dead. Mehmet Okur is better than both Biedrins and Okafor.

It is a whole lot easier to put up numbers on a bad team. If Okafor's numbers go up in New Orleans that probably means they are spiraling toward the lottery. How does Biedrins impact the defensive end of the floor other than defensive rebounding? The Warriors are one of the worst defensive teams in the league and have been for a whileI agree about timmy, now you have dysse coming in which sounds like duncan will see very few if any minutes at powerforward. Biedrins is awesome for your fantasy team and I would think Okafor gets a spike in scoring and efficiency playing with chris paul.

Walter White
08-22-2009, 03:12 PM
The only issue with our current roster is having a plus defender for a small quick penetrating point guard.

Via Russell Robinson:thumbup: I think he would be a nice addition to our team with the what we have now and that could be our best oppurunity. I am still looking forward to what other PGs we will bring to camp.

Gimme Some Mo
08-22-2009, 03:32 PM
The only issue with our current roster is having a plus defender for a small quick penetrating point guard.

If I were Mike Brown that would be the one roster issue that has yet to be addressed.


What about using Delonte on the PG? I think he could handle guys like Parker, Rondo, Nelson, etc at the end of games.

Delonte on the PG, then LeBron and Parker/Moon on the 2 and 3.

mAo_mAo
08-22-2009, 04:20 PM
What about using Delonte on the PG? I think he could handle guys like Parker, Rondo, Nelson, etc at the end of games.

Delonte on the PG, then LeBron and Parker/Moon on the 2 and 3.

I agree on this one. We will not lose any offensive firepower with the lineup like that.

Dr. Gymbo
08-22-2009, 08:29 PM
A nice article. I like how Shaq is getting some love. I really think if he can stay healthy, his contribution to this team will be over-the-top.

I really like Al Horford's game. The kid has a bright future IMO. I wouldn't mind the Cavs looking at him as an option going into next year's offseason with trying to blend some talented youth in our frontcourt if J.J. Hickson does not improve.

Giambiwannabe7
08-22-2009, 09:53 PM
A nice article. I like how Shaq is getting some love. I really think if he can stay healthy, his contribution to this team will be over-the-top.

I really like Al Horford's game. The kid has a bright future IMO. I wouldn't mind the Cavs looking at him as an option going into next year's offseason with trying to blend some talented youth in our frontcourt if J.J. Hickson does not improve.

Horford would be great, but no way is ATL letting him walk. He's cheap and restricted and a perfect fit for ATL's style of play. Never happen in a million years.

SoundBreaker
08-23-2009, 12:43 AM
No way Andris Biedrins goes over Andrew Bynum.

Karma
08-23-2009, 12:52 AM
No way Andris Biedrins goes over Andrew Bynum.

Bynum is a talent no doubt, but the guy has done next to nothing in the NBA thus far. I'm sure this will change, most likely this upcoming season, but lets not count the chickens just yet. He's proven as much as Eddy Curry thus far on the court.

SoundBreaker
08-23-2009, 01:28 AM
You right, maybe I got caught up in potential vs reality.


I became a Laker fan for a moment... :eek:

Tizzle
08-23-2009, 01:33 AM
Good to see Al Jefferson getting some love.

Pioneer10
08-23-2009, 01:38 AM
this list just proves how perimeter oriented the league has become
Certainly this isn't the high water mark in league history for centers but to put in comparison guys like Duncan and KG are the same size as Hakeem was back in the day. It's kind of funny how Duncan who plays like a center, is tall as a traditional center, muscular enough to be a center runs from the term. In that sense the league is definitely more perimeter oriented

Spencer Hawes
08-23-2009, 02:35 AM
As bad as most articles are of this kind, this one isn't bad. It actually is pretty well researched. Find it interesting that Z didn't even get a mention, given that he was the starting center on the team that won more games than any team in the league last year.

I guess having the best backup center in basketball is his new role.

In talking to Mike Brown, I guess it's ok if I let you guys know that he is planning on utilizing both Z and Shaq on the floor together this season. He does see good opportunities especially late in the 4th quarter of games when we utilize lots of situational sets, where having them on the floor together would really pose huge defensive problems for opposing teams, and he plans on utilizing those options.

The coach in me sees great opportunities that could be put to use given different player sets offensively.

Shaq inside would demand at least one strong body, but nobody singlehandedly can control his power. Z would demand the PF pull out on the floor. Lebron, of course, demands full team attention. Paired with Mo and possibly Boobie would open up a very spread floor.

No possiility of even attempting to cover all options ...actually none are covered well without exposing others completely. If we stay close in games, and preserve timeouts we will have extreme advantages on the rest of the teams in the league late in games.

On the defensive end we will come out with Lebron on the primary offensive threat. Moon and Parker will serve roles with AV, and Shaq in the middle.

Most games we'll have teams down and the games settled way before the 4th quarter, but when we are in tight games late, we will have matchup advantages on most every case scenario. The only issue with our current roster is having a plus defender for a small quick penetrating point guard.

If I were Mike Brown that would be the one roster issue that has yet to be addressed.

I'm not sure if it's a good idea to have Shaq playing late in the 4th when the other team can play hack-a-shaq. I can see where the score is tied and he just needs to make one free throw to win or even if he misses both, it's still a tied game. But when we're down 2 or more points, the other teams best play might be just to foul Shaq and dare him to make 2 free throws to tie.

Benedict_Boozer
08-23-2009, 03:41 AM
I'm not sure if it's a good idea to have Shaq playing late in the 4th when the other team can play hack-a-shaq. I can see where the score is tied and he just needs to make one free throw to win or even if he misses both, it's still a tied game. But when we're down 2 or more points, the other teams best play might be just to foul Shaq and dare him to make 2 free throws to tie.

I don't think teams can really get away with Hack-a-Shaq on this team consistently because Lebron draws so many fouls himself, it would be a parade to the FT line every time he put his head down and drove to the rack.

In the situation you mention, where it's a one possession game and that comes into play I agree you play Z for foul shooting purposes - but overall I don't think teams would be able to get away with putting us in the penalty in 4th quarters. The odds would be in our favor.

jason436
08-23-2009, 01:45 PM
Z is a very nice luxury to have in the game when teams are trying to foul. With his height its easy to in bound the ball to him and for a center he's a great free throw shooter.

The other place depending on match ups where I could see having both players on the court is when there is very little time left on the clock and the other team is inbounding the ball and has to score right away. We've used Z on the guy trying to inbound the ball before but now we can put Shaq out there to control the paint and stop the alley oop. When teams are in a catch and shoot situation like this Z's length making it tough on the inbounder is a plus and then we still have Shaq protecting the rim. Also, Shaq is actually probably going to cover the oppositions center while Z will probably be covering a smaller player that won't have enough time to get back into the play so covering a guy with more quickness won't matter. I would also guess that we're looking at putting West, Lebron and Parker or Moon out there as the other three guys.

NarlCavs
08-23-2009, 02:40 PM
The list shows are few true C's are left. I consider Jefferson a PF regardless of where the Wolves are forced to play him and Horford is ideally a PF in the long run too. Just to add I'd love to see Horford at PF for the Cavs even though it will never happen.

Not sure I'd put Biedrins in the top 5 either. Solid player but very limited offensively and at least at the times I saw him last year he was not a good defensive player although the Don Nelson style could be a factor.
Yao can't be left out of the discussion of C's. I'd also put Okur up higher. Bogut might be more highly thought of if he had stayed healthy. He is improving and raising his production even if he won't live up to to the #1 overall in the draft status.

As far as a young C who could be on a top 5 list for a while I'd put Brook Lopez there as a strong possibility. 13 pts, 8 reb's and 1.8 blocks in a rookie season where he had some big games and where he just turned 21 in April. He could easily become a consistent 15-18 point 9-11 rebound average per season player.

Even though Shaq isn't near what he used to be you still have to rank him high among C's as a force opponents have to reckon with and one who can still be productive at a level higher than many C's.

Mdog1
08-23-2009, 04:32 PM
I want teams to try Hack a Shaq late in games! How sickning would it be to watch LeBron shoot 10-15 FTs in the final Q of each game.

williemayshayes
08-26-2009, 04:12 PM
I want teams to try Hack a Shaq late in games! How sickning would it be to watch LeBron shoot 10-15 FTs in the final Q of each game.

And with LBJ's free throw shooting trending upwards as it has of late, and Shaq's rediscovered "Shaqovic" approach to FT's...it could get ugly if anyone has the audacity to try hack-a-Shaq and/or hack-a-Bron

hartwill
08-26-2009, 04:27 PM
I also find it disappointing Z wasn't mentioned. It wasn't that long ago he was an all-star. He was also the starting center on a team that won 66 Games last year (as W&G pointed out). He scored in double figure again last season. He remains one of the league's best shooting big men and, of course, has few peers when it comes to the tip-in off the offensive glass. I know Shaq casts a big shadow but Z did deserve a mention.

Mdog1
08-26-2009, 04:33 PM
And with LBJ's free throw shooting trending upwards as it has of late, and Shaq's rediscovered "Shaqovic" approach to FT's...it could get ugly if anyone has the audacity to try hack-a-Shaq and/or hack-a-Bron

I just hope they do. Get teams way into foul trouble where you can't touch Bron or Mo witohut them going to the line in the fourth would be great for us.

JayP146
08-26-2009, 04:45 PM
And with LBJ's free throw shooting trending upwards as it has of late, and Shaq's rediscovered "Shaqovic" approach to FT's...it could get ugly if anyone has the audacity to try hack-a-Shaq and/or hack-a-Bron

If memory serves, Lebron was above his season average in the 4th quarters last year - if memory serves it was 84% in 4th quarters, 77% for the year.

...camakazee, that's your cue. ;)

ncf135
08-27-2009, 07:37 AM
1. Howard
2. Duncan
3. Gasol
4. Bogut
5. Shaq

rabman_gold
08-27-2009, 08:41 AM
1. Howard
2. Duncan
3. Gasol
4. Bogut
5. Shaq

'Dem's fighting words! How you managed to get the nerve to put Bogut ahead of Shaq on a Cavs Message Board is beyond me :chuckles:. Probably just like to cause spite, don't you?

But seriously, ncf135... you can't expect anyone to take you seriously when the guy only played 36 games last season. But hey, you're a dedicated Bucks fan, now that you don't have to play any games right now, and that's putting it nicely.

By the way, I notice that even Z has been better in their head to head battles the past couple years: http://www.basketball-reference.com/fc/h2h_finder.cgi?request=1&p1=ilgauzy01&p2=bogutan01

And just look at those numbers against the Big Shaqtus: http://www.basketball-reference.com/fc/h2h_finder.cgi?request=1&p1=onealsh01&p2=bogutan01

Did I drive it into the mud enough yet? Just making sure.

ncf135
08-27-2009, 11:54 AM
Numbers? Huh. Bogut's overall impact to the game (that include defense) is the reason why I put him at #4. Scoring is just part of game. Shaq did own him one on one but that was 2 games. And Shaq will be year older which is huge at his age. If healthy Bogut will be #4 best C in NBA because of his overall impact to the game.

Benedict_Boozer
08-27-2009, 11:58 AM
^Shaq dropped 35/8 and 29/11 on Bogut last year? Damn. That's complete domination.

http://www.basketball-reference.com/fc/h2h_finder.cgi?request=1&p1=onealsh01&p2=bogutan01

Really that's amazing when you consider his age. I hope he can keep it going for just 1 more season..

Powerslave
08-27-2009, 01:01 PM
As bad as most articles are of this kind, this one isn't bad. It actually is pretty well researched. Find it interesting that Z didn't even get a mention, given that he was the starting center on the team that won more games than any team in the league last year.

I guess having the best backup center in basketball is his new role.

In talking to Mike Brown, I guess it's ok if I let you guys know that he is planning on utilizing both Z and Shaq on the floor together this season. He does see good opportunities especially late in the 4th quarter of games when we utilize lots of situational sets, where having them on the floor together would really pose huge defensive problems for opposing teams, and he plans on utilizing those options.

The coach in me sees great opportunities that could be put to use given different player sets offensively.

Shaq inside would demand at least one strong body, but nobody singlehandedly can control his power. Z would demand the PF pull out on the floor. Lebron, of course, demands full team attention. Paired with Mo and possibly Boobie would open up a very spread floor.

No possiility of even attempting to cover all options ...actually none are covered well without exposing others completely. If we stay close in games, and preserve timeouts we will have extreme advantages on the rest of the teams in the league late in games.

On the defensive end we will come out with Lebron on the primary offensive threat. Moon and Parker will serve roles with AV, and Shaq in the middle.

Most games we'll have teams down and the games settled way before the 4th quarter, but when we are in tight games late, we will have matchup advantages on most every case scenario. The only issue with our current roster is having a plus defender for a small quick penetrating point guard.

If I were Mike Brown that would be the one roster issue that has yet to be addressed.

Do you know what Mike Brown is saying of the LeBron playing Power Forward idea? Is it a legit plan where Bron's focusing his efforts on his post game or just another great idea that doesn't get implemented in key moments? I'm hoping Shaq Daddy will mentor LBJ on some post moves, but also am hoping he'll take initiative and exploit that strength as well.

beefstew
08-27-2009, 01:09 PM
Bogut, Oden, and Horford will be the Top 3 Elite Centers within 5 years.

rabman_gold
08-27-2009, 02:48 PM
If Shaq's still going off for 15 points at the very least, you're still not going to convince anyone that he's inferior to Bogut. Bogut actually needs a scoring game just to keep up (and stay healthy). Maybe the game isn't all about points, but in Shaq's case, that's what makes him as deadly as ever (if not a game-changer), because he draws the attention from bullying people in the post, along with the kick out game.

But I would like to see Bogut turn into a star, but at nearly 26, have we seen what we know out of him? 10-14 and 8-10? Z was doing that well into his 30s (he's now 34 for the record).

I just don't see it at this point. Besides numbers, Bogut doesn't necessarily draw that much attention from the defense.

We'll see, but try not to go back into hiding if the Bucks aren't doing what they were supposed to be doing. As a Cavs fan from 1996 to now, I've experienced the biggest lows with the biggest highs. So I know constant failure. Not having Z for all those years feels just like your situation. There are people that can sympathize with you. We don't bite (that much).

And if Bogut proves to be healthy again, a superstar center, and the Bucks become a playoff team, congratulations and more power to you.

Jon
08-27-2009, 08:02 PM
Heck, I don't think there's any evidence that Bogut has even passed Z yet.

In terms of Roland rating the best C's in the league are Howard, Shaq, Nene, Camby, Z, Yao, Duncan and Gasol.

I included Duncan and Gasol because of how many minutes they played C last year. Bonner and Odom sure didn't play C for the Spurs and Lakers.

Jefferson and Bogut are on the cusp of joining that group.

Cavatt
08-27-2009, 09:38 PM
Heck, I don't think there's any evidence that Bogut has even passed Z yet.

In terms of Roland rating the best C's in the league are Howard, Shaq, Nene, Camby, Z, Yao, Duncan and Gasol.

I included Duncan and Gasol because of how many minutes they played C last year. Bonner and Odom sure didn't play C for the Spurs and Lakers.

Jefferson and Bogut are on the cusp of joining that group.

Other look at me incredulously when I say we have 2 top 10 centers now. First no one thinks Shaq is still top 10, and no one thinks Z ever was, no matter what you say. It doesn't even matter if there aren't 10 true centers left! If you talk with any other fan about Z you have to be prepared to lose an argument that you are right about.

ps Z owned Bogut every time I saw them matched up.

Karma
08-28-2009, 01:33 AM
Sadly for Ilgauskas the fans won't know what they had until he's gone. Top 10 center his entire career and top 5 for decent portions as well.

Pioneer10
08-28-2009, 01:51 AM
If we play Shaq and Z together, we better pray we're able to get the offensive rebound. The opposing team if they get any sort of long board, is going to put us in real trouble. The other team in a heartbeat could transition into a 4 to 5 on 3 fastbreak as both Shaq and Z are slloooowwww

rabman_gold
08-28-2009, 01:51 AM
For god's sake, he was the lone bright spot of the 2002-2003 Cavaliers. Ricky Davis sure wasn't an all-star that year. To be a 17-7 guy in only 30 minutes a game? That just doesn't happen with guys left and right. He also re-earned the visit in 2005 with the 16.9-8 (18-8 at the time).

Seriously, Karma. I swear you and me are the closest people on the planet that fully appreciate what we have and had and would've regretted not having in the big Lithuanian. IT WOULD BE F#@&*NG NICE FOR SOME OF YOU TO PROVE ME WRONG!

Cavatt
08-28-2009, 03:23 AM
I think when he starts ripping 2nd units to shreds announcers are going to really hype him up. "He was starting last year...People forget...."

CleveRocks
08-28-2009, 06:27 AM
I will add to the voices wondering how Beidriens got in the top five. I would take Howard, Yao, Shaq, Bynum, Chandler, Nene, Rasheed Wallace and Dalembert , Z and Lopez before I began to consider Beidriens seriously.

ncf135
08-28-2009, 08:46 AM
When we talk about Bogut then numbers are not most important thing. It is like when we talk about Anderson Varejao. You would all agree that AV is better than what his numbers show wouldn't you? How many of you would prefer Zach Randolph over AV even though Randolph has much better numbers?

When you think about that Bogut is like HUGE Varejao + passing like PG + hook shoot. Andrew is elite defender and elite rebounder. With him the Bucks were elite defanisive team and elite rebounding team. He draw charges, he moves his feets, he is always on the driver's road and he is huge so it is big obstacle for anyone. He is also great one on one defender. His rebounding numbers are great but he box out much more and is responsible for huge majority of our rebounds even when he is not the one who get rebound. He is extreamly inteligent and huge asset when with ball at high post (passing). He doesn't always get credit with assist but many times he is the one who start ball movement and foce oponents to adjust. And now he is double teamed against 90% of NBA teams.

Shaq was unbelivably motivated to play against Bogut last year. I watched that games and that was unbelivable. Shaq was hiting hook shoots from free throw line (almost). It was not "easy points" where Shaq outmuscled Bogut or anything. He was hiting crazy shots all night(s). Yet, even then Shaq was liabilty at defense (pick and roll and pick and pop defense is his big weakness).

When healthy Bogut is franchise player because of his defense and rebounding. With him alone and with coach like Skiles your team is elite defansive and rebounding team by defult. In terms of pure impact to basketball team there are only 15 players that I would take before Bogut (LeBron, Kobe, Howard, Paul, Wade, Garnett, Duncan, D.Williams, Dirk, Pierce, Parker, Carmelo, Billups, Roy, Gasol.). Don't get me wrong. I don't say that Bogut is 16th best player in NBA. I say he is 16th most important because of his position, his size and his efect to 50% of basketball game (defense) while also being solid at other 50% (offense). In that regard, if all NBA teams cancel their contracts with players and we have draft where teams pick from pool of entire player's base I would take Bogut with 16th pick.

Karma
08-28-2009, 09:02 AM
Being an Aussie, I have watched Bogut's entire career very closely. You are right when you say his numbers do not tell the entire story. He is quit a talented all round big man. He would a similar job to Pau in the Lakers system. Unfortunately for him, like Ilgauskas, he has been surrounded by mediocre talent for most his time in the NBA. His back though is a concern this early into his career. As for his defense, elite is a major stretch. Improved defender and rebounder but well short of elite.

Bogut is certainly top 5 talent. He just needs to get on the court and win some games.

Jon
08-28-2009, 11:03 AM
The last time Bogut played more then 36 games, he sure wasn't a defensive force. His main boost to the team was offensive in '07/'08 and the team was slightly worse defensively when he was on the court.

A change of coaches and systems surely can make a huge difference, but you're going to have to allow for more then 36 games to demonstrate it. An 82game season is a grind, especially on a big man.

I think Bogut's rebounds were also inflated much like Dwight Howard's were due to playing next to a pair of SFs like Jefferson and Mbah a Moute. Z by comparison was always paired in the front court with either Ben or Andy at PF, and LeBron at SF and due to his size he usually draws a lot of box out attention and always boxes out his guy, leaving the board crashing to the other guys. A lot of his rebounds come from his ability to reach over smaller players and tip the ball one handed.

ncf135
08-28-2009, 03:08 PM
We had thread about Bogut defense at RealGM.
Some of the best and most accurate posts:

Without Bogut: 11 points worse per 100 possessions and 8-10 spot drop in D efficiency in only half a season. Bucks last year while Bogut was on the floor were a legit top 5-7 defensive AND rebounding team

I think Bogut's a good solid man defender who most nights doesn't give ground and who has a shocking knack for taking a charge from his own man if he tries to put the ball on the floor. The real strength of his defense, though, is his off-ball awareness and the way he's able to pick up penetration and push it away from the basket or force a difficult shot. He used to be smart "for his age" on defense. Now he's got a man's body and he's just smart, with no qualifiers.

If Bogut plays like he did last year, there are only a couple bigs in the league I'd take over him in terms of overall defensive impact. He's a very versatile and solid on the ball defender, and he's one of the best team defending bigs in the league despite not blocking many shots or getting many steals. The ability to both be aware and be capable of providing good help defense on penetrating perimeter players is hugely important in the current NBA, and Bogut is one of the best in the business right now.

You can force the penetrator to turn it over, take a difficult shot, or pass the ball and give the defense a chance to reset without going for a shotblock. The best interior defenders are those that can provide help and maintain the continuity of the defense forcing the offense to react rather than those that can simply try to swat at everything. A lot of shotblockers can provide help at the rim, but they can't provide help further out that could actually prevent a shot from even going up at that point in the possession. Bogut isn't a shotblocker, but he's an extremely effective at providing help that extends possessions and maintains the cohesion of the D. He's also elite when it comes to taking charges in those types of help situations away from the rim as well.

Looking at the top 20 players in blocks per game last year, the only players I'd put over Bogut are Howard and Duncan. Howard actually still has quite a bit to learn, but he's still very disruptive, and Duncan isn't as quick as he used to be, but he's still elite. I would think a lot of you would remember Howard having trouble at times in the playoffs providing the type of positional help D I'm talking about without fouling.

When Bogut and Luc were the two bigs on the floor last year we were an excellent defensive team because of the great positional help D those two could provide. Players weren't going to have a clear lane to the basket because one of those two was likely to provide help well before the guy was even thinking about going for a layup or dunk.

You could throw pick and roll D into that somewhere as well which is another thing Bogut is very good at.

I'll take the big that can provide help away from the rim as well as very good pick and roll D a billion times out of a billion over the guy that is very good at contesting shots at the rim but average or worse in the other aspects of team defense. For example, LRMAM crushes Josh Smith as an overall team defender at the PF position, and Luc rarely tries to block a shot.

After all, how many shots did Dennis Rodman block? Lots and lots, right?

Jon
08-28-2009, 03:51 PM
I'm not discounting Bogut because he doesn't block shots, I'm discounting him because he only played 36 games.

When Bogut was on the floor for the Bucks, they let opponents shoot 47.5%.

Very nice, but here are some numbers for Cav's players:

LeBron 46.4%
Z 46.9%
West 45.7%
Wallace 46.6%
Williams 47.4%
Varejao 47.1%
Wally 47.0%
Smith 47.54%
Gibson 46.1%

Basically every player on the team has an Opp eFG% below Bogut, even Mo Williams!

So what does that prove?

Just that the Cavs played elite level team defense with many combination of players over an entire season while the Bucks could only pull it off for a short while with some very specific players.

Very promising for Bogut, but not nearly enough to propel him ahead of even Ben Wallace who is capable of playing C, but yeah will get abused by the taller C's in the league like Bogut did, but remains an excellent help defender even in his declining years.

Of course no one judges players just on one side of the ball, and Bogut's 11.7 ppg is not going to impress anyone. Z scored more for the Cavs and helped spread the floor by shooting 44.2% on his jumpers, while Bogut does most of works much closer to the hoop.

But that just begs the question ... do the Bucks struggle to get him the ball? Or does Bogut just shoot short open jumpers?

And while his FG% was up last year, wasn't he supposed to get the ball more with guys like Ridnour and Sessions feeding him? He's FGA's were down to 8.8 per game lowest since his rookie season. His FTA's were a career worst, as were his steals, turnovers, and assists. His blocks and PPG also dropped quite a bit from the previous season.

But hey, with no big men around him, his rebounding improved.

Is Bogut even getting better? It looks more like how he's being used has just changed, emphasizing/benefitting some areas of his game, and de-emphasizing others.

Pioneer10
08-28-2009, 06:19 PM
^I don't really have a bone to pick in this argument, but this is a very weird argument. As a team the Cavs are much better then the Bucks so trying to compare the eFG% and Opp PER of players between the teams is comparing apples to oranges. You later insinuate that this doesn't tell much but then still use the numbers to justify a player comparison

A fairer argument is to at least see how Bogut impacted the Bucks for what it's worth last year when he was on the court versus when he wasn't. Opponents eFG% shot dropped by 4% and teams scored a whopping 10points less in terms of defensive +/-. That's a very strong impact. This still isn't a great way to judge as defense is much more of a team oriented thing then offense (i.e. this doesn't mean Bogut would have the same impact on the Cavs or that a guy like Z couldn't do the same thing for the Bucks) but trying to use plain individual Opp PER and Opp FG% is just not a very strong argument for anything

Jon
08-28-2009, 06:58 PM
As a team the Cavs are much better then the Bucks so trying to compare the eFG% and Opp PER of players between the teams is comparing apples to oranges.

ncf claims the Bucks are an elite defensive team thanks to Bogut's presence, and there's evidence to back him up on that, but you could make much the same claim for every member of the Cavs.

Yes, you can argue that Bogut is the difference maker, but I don't think it works quite like that. What tends to happen is that a team defense breaks down when there are holes that can be exploited. I'd argue that without Bogut, the Bucks couldn't fill the holes his absence left, and even with Bogut we can't be sure how well they would have been because he played less then 1/2 of a season. Sometimes a team gets figured out. Sometimes a player is just on fire.

Take a look at the numbers for Howard and Gortat. Howard won the DPOY and we all know his impact, but they hardly missed a beat when Gortat came in off the bench. He was able to hold together the second unit quite well. This is much the same with the Cavs. However we mixed and matched (with a few exceptions *coughs* JJ *coughs* Darnell) our defense continued to execute at a high level.

IMO, Bogut did not suddenly become an elite defender. He sure wasn't the previous year. It's that Skiles brought in a new system and that system performed it's best when they had certain players (including Bogut) on the floor. They just didn't have enough depth to maintain that level. The Cavs on the other hand, did and do. If Bogut had stayed healthy, he wouldn't stick out so much in the final stats.

Here's another example. Take a look at how the Bucks played defense when Bogut was paired in the front court with Charlie V? The answer is deplorable. So you might ask ... ok ... if it's not Bogut, is it Mbah a Moute? Not really. The Bucks aren't much different on D with him on the court then with him off. Same with Jefferson.

By themselves they aren't the answer. As a unit with Ridnour and either Charlie Bell or Mike Redd? Yes. Maybe...

Bogut is no more an elite defender then Z is, but in a defensive system where everybody pulls their weight, they can both be very effective playing their part within that structure. Well. At least Z has proven he can. Bogut? He's showing promise.