Steve Alexander

Offseason Beat

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The Top 25 Fantasy Centers

Wednesday, August 03, 2011



13. Tyson Chandler Mavericks UFA

Chandler had somewhat of a breakout season, averaging 10 points, 9.4 boards and just over a block per game for the champs. He's not a great free throw shooter, but has improved and won't do too much damage to fantasy teams there. His scoring is the big problem, and it's not going to get better any time soon for a stacked Dallas team.

14. Nene Nuggets UFA

I tend to sleep on Nene every year, but he's become a very reliable fantasy center, playing in 75, 82 and 77 games in his last three seasons. He consistently puts up around 15 points, seven boards, a steal and a block per game, but there's a catch. He's an unrestricted free agent and we have no idea where he'll be playing. And if he lands on a team with a solid center and power forward already in place, he could take quite a hit. If we knew he'd be back in Denver, I'd have him ranked much higher.

15. Andrea Bargnani Raptors

I've made no secret that I am a Bargnani fan, due to his 3-point shooting, shot-blocking potential and ability to score, but he's not exactly loved in Toronto. They would love to move him, while his biggest problem last year was that his blocks disappeared, dropping from 1.4 to just 0.7 per game. His scoring was up to a solid 21.4 points per game, but his rebounding was atrocious, coming in at just 5.2 per game. He's going to have some big games, but centers that don't rebound or block shots will end up hurting your team in the long run. Getting him in the middle rounds makes a lot more sense than grabbing him early, as you can get 3-pointers from other positions.

16. Joakim Noah Bulls

Noah was hurt by a couple things last year. First of all, he played in just 48 games while dealing with thumb surgery and a bum ankle, after battling a nasty case of plantar fasciitis the year before (64 games). He also had to fight for rebounds and production with Carlos Boozer, who was signed as a free agent last summer. Noah still averaged a double-double in his 48 games, but his injury history has become a disturbing pattern, while he'll still have to try to figure out how to play with Boozer.

17. DeAndre Jordan Clippers RFA

Chris Kaman still plays for the Clippers, which is a problem if you want to draft Jordan. But he's young, and while somewhat raw, should be an absolute beast on the boards and with blocks this season. He played in 80 games and averaged seven points, seven boards and 1.8 blocks per game in just 25 minutes per game. With Kaman getting older and the Clips getting younger, they would be wise to start Jordan and bump his minutes up to over 30 per game this season. And if it happens, those numbers should be closer to 10 points, 11 boards and 2.5 blocks per game. Just know he's a disaster at the free throw line.

18. Emeka Okafor Hornets

Okafor hasn't exactly been a bust, but he also hasn't lived up to the hype that surrounded him early in his career. He averaged around 10 points, 9 boards and 2 blocks per game in each of the last two seasons, making him a serviceable fantasy center. He's also a terrible free throw shooter, which doesn't help his low ranking.

19. DeJuan Blair Spurs

Gregg Popovich has been reluctant to turn Blair loose, playing him just 18 minutes per game as a rookie, and 21 as a sophomore. Despite the lack of minutes, he still averaged 8 points and 7 boards last season, but blocked just 0.5 shots per game. It's time for Popovich to take him off the leash, start him, and let him run for 30-plus minutes per game. There's some risk involved with drafting Blair, as usual, but this should be his breakout season.

20. Anderson Varejao Cavaliers

Varejao played in just 31 games last season due to a torn tendon in his right ankle that required surgery. He should come back healthy this year and start for the Cavs. He averaged nearly 9 points, 10 boards and more than a block per game, and should bounce back this season.

21. Darko Milicic Timberwolves

Darko was tagged 'Manna from heaven' by David Kahn last season, and while he had some decent games, it seemed like he was usually suffering from a bum ankle or two. He played in 69 games, averaging around 9 points, 5 boards and 2 blocks per before being shut down for five of the season's final six games. His bum ankles negated his ability to block shots down the stretch, but he was still worth owning in most leagues. Like most everyone else, he should come into the new season fully healthy and still start at center for the Wolves. And since Kahn still loves him, he's going to get minutes. Let's just hope the production follows, and that he can stay healthy, as he'll have value, especially in two-center leagues.

22. Greg Oden Blazers RFA

Oden is rehabbing after another knee surgery and it's unknown when he'll play again. And we should probably even stretch that out to 'if' he plays again. But the Blazers are keeping the faith and Oden's ability to rebound and block shots make him worth a late flier if reports are positive once the new season is on the horizon.

23. Marcus Camby Blazers

Camby is ancient, clocking in at 37 years old, and might be 38 before we have NBA action again. He's also an injury waiting to happen and played in just 59 games last season. If Oden is healthy, it's going to hurt Camby, who appears to be heading to a bench role due to his aging legs and body. He'll still have the potential to score, board and block shots, but he is no longer a reliable fantasy center.

24. Kendrick Perkins Thunder

Perkins struggled with a fairly serious knee injury for most of the season and averaged just 5 points, 8 boards and a block in 17 games for the Thunder. Serge Ibaka's ability to board and block hurts Perkins, while his health could continue to be an issue. But he should also have plenty of time to get his knee back to health, and could be a nice get late in your draft. Just don't expect him to score much.

25. Chuck Hayes Rockets UFA

Hayes had a great year and was a valuable fantasy pickup off the waiver wire. I don't trust him though, and his season still felt like a fluke to me. Add to that the fact we don't know where he's going to play next season, and he's a guy I'd probably recommend staying away from until the final round of your draft. Having said that, we simply can't ignore the fact he averaged 8 points, 8 boards, a steal, nearly three assists and a block per game. Of course, it was also a contract year for the big man, who easily shot a career-best 66 percent from the line.

The Rest

Chris Kaman Clippers – Injuries a concern, while Jordan's coming on.
Samuel Dalembert Kings UFA – Could crack Top 20 depending on where he lands.
Spencer Hawes Sixers RFA – Ripping Stern on Twitter, consistently disappointing.
Ekpe Udoh Warriors – A lot of upside, but depends on health of Andris Biedrins.
Andris Biedrins Warriors – Injured for 3 years, terrible numbers & FT shooting.
Jermaine O'Neal Celtics – Chronically injured, but only C option in Boston.
Timofey Mozgov Nuggets – With Nene leaving, could be a nice sleeper.
Enes Kanter Jazz – Promising rookie, but Jefferson's in the way.
Reggie Evans Raptors UFA – Great rebounder, but no offense or blocks.
Kwame Brown Bobcats UFA – Still Kwame Brown.
Brendan Haywood Mavericks – Clearly in Ty Chandler's shadow.
Chris Andersen Nuggets – Could be nice with no Nene. Shot blocker.
Nikola Pekovic Timberwolves – If Darko stumbles, worth a look.
Brad Miller Timberwolves – Over the hill, will back up in Minny.
Ronny Turiaf Knicks – Injury concerns, lack of offense hurts.
Mehmet Okur Jazz – Too many bigs in Utah, achilles still recovering.
Josh McRoberts Pacers UFA – Has some potential, but not enough.
Nenad Krstic UFA – Off to Europe for two years.


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Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for Rotoworld.com and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2013-14 NBA season marks his 12th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.
Email :Steve Alexander



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