By Brandon Funston
October 21, 2005
Preseason Position Rankings: Point Guard | Shooting Guard | Small Forward | Power Forward | Center
With only a handful of difference-making centers on the draft board, it is imperative for fantasy owners to grab at least one center early in the draft. Even the best of the group come with potential issues.
Tim Duncan, head of the class, has become a serious liability at the charity stripe and has had health issues each of the past two seasons. Shaquille O'Neal, fourth on my list, brings a much more negative impact to the free throw category and he has been consistently ditching fantasy owners at the time they need him most – the fantasy playoffs – as he rests up and gets healthy for the NBA postseason.
The center position is also where fantasy farmers come to harvest blocked shots. Outside of this position, it's hard to gather points in this category, except for a select few. Keep rejections on your mind as you make your draft-day center selections.
With that in mind, here's a look at my top 25 centers:
||Tim Duncan, SA, FC
|| Getting a bit Shaq-like at the line, and he's missed some games the past two years, but he's never had below 20 points, 11 boards and 2 blocks in his career.
||Brad Miller, Sac, C
||A healthy Miller is capable of 15 pts, 10 reb, 3-4 ast, 1-plus blocks and steals to go with solid shooting percentages.
||Yao Ming, Hou, C
|| Still a little soft for my liking, but he has improved each season and is capable of much more.
||Shaquille O'Neal, Mia, C
|| We know what he can do (pts, reb, blk, FG%). How about the downside: FT% is roto death, PT on decline and he takes a vacation (DNPs) during fantasy playoffs.
||Ben Wallace, Det, FC
|| A Hustle Board dynamo, Wallace is a monster in boards, blocks and steals. Thankfully he doesn't get to the line enough for his FT% to cripple owners.
||Emeka Okafor, Cha, FC
||Had 47 double-doubles as a rookie. A nice encore would be to boost blocks above 2.0 and FG% closer to .500. He's certainly capable.
||Marcus Camby, Den, C
|| Most fantasy owners would settle for Camby's 66 games played every year. He's a monster, but the fear is injuries eating up a half season or more.
||Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Cle, C
|| A steady, efficient scorer whose sexiest attribute is the two blocks per game.
||Rasheed Wallace, Det, FC
||The rare center who can drop a three and block a shot per game.
||Joel Przybilla, Por, C
|| Averaged 10.1 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, .594 FG% as a starter. He'll play more this season.
||Amare Stoudemire, Pho, FC
|| Sure, he's likely out until after the All-Star break, but adding him for final two months could make the difference in a fantasy title run.
||Raef LaFrentz, Bos, FC
|| Like 'Sheed, the blocks/treys combo makes him a rarity. So was the fact that he stayed healthy last season.
||Samuel Dalembert, Phi, C
||Will tease owners with isolated big games (blocks, rebounds), but has yet to put it together. He'll get another opportunity this season.
||Andrew Bogut, Mil, C
|| Superb passing rookie has offensive skills and has been impressive on glass in preseason.
||Chris Kaman, LAC, C
|| High-percentage shooter should get 30-plus minutes for 1st time. Solid points, boards and blocks should follow.
||Jamaal Magloire, NO, C
|| A return to health means solid points, boards and blocks, and near.500 shooting. But watch out for Chris Anderson.
||Stromile Swift, Hou, FC
||His 1.5 blocks per game in 21 minutes a night for Memphis last season projects nicely with more minutes to come in Houston.
||Mehmet Okur, Utah, C
|| Averaged 15 points, 9 boards and a block as a starter (25 games). He'll be a regular top-fiver for the Jazz this season.
||Nenad Krstic, NJ, C
|| Has offensive skills (13.6 ppg after All-Star break), but boards and blocks are slight for a 7-footer.
||Brendan Haywood, Was, C
|| Will see more paint time with Kwame Brown gone. Shoots over 50% and may wind up blocking two shots a game.
||Lorenzen Wright, Mem, C
|| Can dominate on the glass when healthy and seeing regular minutes. With Swift gone, he'll get his regular PT.
||Eddy Curry, NY, C
||So much potential, but so many negatives. Those being: heart issues, defense issues, platoon issues (Channing Frye, Jerome James).
||Primoz Brezec, Cha, C
|| Good scorer - inside and out - but blocks and boards are the of the soft, Euro variety.
||Erick Dampier, Dal, C
|| Fantasy owners long for the Dampier who averaged 12 boards and 2 blocks in his contract year two years ago. With a fat, new contract, his numbers took a vacation.
||P.J. Brown, NO, FC
|| Perhaps the most unexciting pick in fantasy, but he delivers close to a double-double every year.
Brandon Funston is a Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert. Follow him on Twitter. Send Brandon a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Friday, Oct 21, 2005 6:14 pm, EDT
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