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2016 Fantasy Basketball Center Rankings

andre-drummond-wallpaperThe 66 double-doubles Andre Dummond posted last season were the most any player has totaled in the past eight years.

Drummond set the tone for his year on opening night, as he posted 18 points, 19 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal during a victory over Atlanta.

The success continued for the next 15 games, as he registered a double-double each night along the way, highlighted by four 20-rebound efforts.

No statistic is a guarantee, but Drummond is as close to a sure thing in fantasy basketball that exists. DeAndre Jordan is the only other player to average at least 13 rebounds a night for each of the past three seasons, and has appeared in at least 81 games each year during the same span.

Detroit kept its center on the floor for 2,666 minutes last year, the most of any player at the position and the same amount of time Klay Thompson played.

For Drummond to catapult himself atop the fantasy basketball draft board, he needs to become a more dominant rim protector.

The 6-foot-11 center out of Connecticut emerged as a potent shot blocker during the 2014-15 season, as he turned back 153 attempts, just under 2.0 a night.

Opponents didn’t fear Drummond at the rim a year ago, as they shot 52.6 percent at the basket and he rejected just 1.4 blocks a night, a decrease of 0.5 per game.

Along with his drop in shot blocking, Drummond slips a bit in the rankings due to his terrible free throw shooting.

Teams went out of their way to send the 23-year-old to the foul line, often intentional fouling him as he converted just 35.5 percent of his attempts.

Drummond offers plenty of fantasy value, but at a cost.

omer-asik30. Omer Asik– New Orleans Pelicans

The only accomplishment Asik achieved last season was being dubbed with the most un-tradable contract in the NBA. Following the All-Star break, Asik was virtually invisible on the court, as despite his 7-foot frame, he produced just a pair of rejections in 376 minutes. New Orleans gave up a first round pick to acquire Asik, then signed him to a five-year, $58 million contract, believing he could form a dominant defensive tandem with All-Star power forward Anthony Davis. Instead, Asik blocked just 23 shots and he grabbed only 6.1 rebounds a night.

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miles-plumlee29. Miles Plumlee– Milwaukee Bucks

A temporary move to the starting lineup wasn’t enough to coax Plumlee into fantasy relevancy last season. Milwaukee benched Greg Monroe — and apparently placed him on the trading block — but Plumlee didn’t exactly take advantage, as he posted just 6.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.0 blocks a night. The Bucks have the most intriguing lineup, and the presence of 7-foot-1 rookie Thon Maker on the roster means Plumlee could be replaced early in the season if he remain ineffective in a starting role.

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cody-zeller28. Cody Zeller– Charlotte Hornets

In preparation for his promotion into the starting lineup, Zeller added 10 pounds of muscle, after he was pushed around throughout the Hornets playoff series against Miami last summer. Charlotte will likely employ a timeshare at the center position next season, as the team added Roy Hibbert as he signed a one-year, $5 million deal. Zeller started 60 of his 73 appearances last season, resulting in 8.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 0.9 blocks a night. In his third season, Zeller posted his most efficient shooting percentages, as he shot 52.9 percent from the field.

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timofey-mozgov27. Timofey Mozgov– Los Angeles Lakers

Mozgov went from a starter on opening night to a non-factor in Cleveland’s title run in 2016. During the playoffs, he made just 13 appearances and averaged 1.2 points on 40 percent shooting from the field, 1.6 rebounds and totaled just three blocks. The Cavaliers played him for less than 11 minutes in the final five games of the NBA Finals, and held him out completely for Game 7. Los Angeles still landed him with a four-year, $64 million deal in free agency, as the team was in desperate need for a center.

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joakim-noah26. Joakim Noah– New York Knicks

An injured left shoulder sidelined Noah twice last season, with the second occasion essentially ending his tenure with the Bulls. To prove he was fully healed, Noah offered to perform pull-ups to New York President of Basketball Operations. Even though he didn’t have to do the exercise, the tactic helped generate a four-year, $72 million contract in free agency. Noah’s shooting percentages plummeted last year, as he scored a career-low 4.3 points at 38.3 percent from the field, but he did post 8.8 rebounds and dished out 3.8 assists a night.

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steven-adams25. Steven Adams– Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City is depending on Adams to elevate his game next season. The 7-footer converted 61.3 percent of his attempts from the field, a percentage that would have ranked third in the NBA if he had taken enough shots to qualify. Many of the skills Adams possess doesn’t translate into fantasy success, as he is a remarkable defender, as he limited opponents to 48.8 percent shooting at the rim, but not enough to make an impact in fantasy basketball. Adams has never scored 20 points in 231 career appearances and managed just six double-doubles.

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andrew-bogut24. Andrew Bogut– Dallas Mavericks

A roster causality in Golden State, as the team had to shed his salary to land Kevin Durant, Bogut is set to become the fifth different opening night center for the Mavericks in as many years. The Australian center is coming off a career-low averages in minutes, points, rebounds and his 1.6 blocks per game were his fewest in seven seasons. Bogut managed just five double-doubles in 68 games played. The Mavericks are hoping the presence of Bogut can provide a much needed rim protector, as the team averaged just 3.7 blocks a game, tied with Detroit for the fewest in the NBA.

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Alex Len23. Alen Len– Phoenix Suns

The flashes of excellence have been there for Len. Last season, it took the fifth overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft 15 games to get into the starting lineup, but once he overtook Tyson Chandler, he showcased his array of skills. Len was at his best during a game in Orlando, as he poured in a season-high 31 points to go along with 15 rebounds, two blocks and a steal. The next game, this time in Memphis, Len tallied 19 points, 16 rebounds, six assists, two blocks and a steal. Chandler may push to take minutes away from Len, but while splitting time, he still managed to post 19 double-doubles.

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mason-plumlee22. Mason Plumlee– Portland Trail Blazers

Not many 7-footers possess a 36-inch vertical leap. Even though he can fly well above the rim, Plumlee has struggled swatting away opponents shots, as he blocked 85 shots even though he started all 82 games. A move to Portland did help Plumlee produce the best numbers of his three-year career, as he tallied 9.1 points, a team-high 7.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. The 26-year-old needs to become a more potent shot blocker to become a must-own player in fantasy basketball next season.

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jusuf-nurkic21. Jusuf Nurkic– Denver Nuggets

Denver has a pair of promising European big men on the roster, but Nurkic possesses the most value in fantasy basketball. Nurkic, a Bosnian center, will be competing for minutes with Serbian center Nikola Jokic all year. Only Nurkic has excelled as a shot blocker, turning back 1.4 attempts a night in less than 18 minutes last season, a figure that would jump to 2.9 blocks a night in 36 minutes. Even though he played just 17.1 minutes a night, Nurkic still managed to produce 8.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and for the second-straight year, averaged 2.0 offensive rebounds a game.

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zaza-pachulia20. Zaza Pachulia– Golden State Warriors

Pachulia made one of the most unexpected All-Star pushes last season, as he generated 768,112 votes, the fourth most among all front court players in the Western Conference. The fan votes came as a result of his excellent production in fantasy basketball, as he posted 10 points and 10.7 rebounds a game prior to All-Star weekend. Golden State brought in Pachulia to have a legitimate center on the roster, but with the team’s penchant for playing small ball, keeping him on the floor for 25 minutes a night may be a challenge.

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marcin-gortat19. Marcin Gortat– Washington Wizards

The 32-year-old center fell just nine rebounds shy of averaging a double-double for the second time in his career. Gortat posted 13.5 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.3 blocks a game in 30 minutes a night, as his 2,256 minutes were the 10th most registered by any center in the league last season. Maintaining a heavy workload may be a challenge in 2016-17, as the team lured Ian Mahinmi away from the Pacers provide a solid backup, something Washington didn’t have on the roster last season, for Gortat.

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clint-capela18. Clint Capela– Houston Rockets

Capela didn’t need long to prove he can make an impact in Houston. Once Dwight Howard declined his player option for the 2016-17 season, the team decided to promote Capela into the starting lineup, hoping he can build upon the 7.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game he tallied in just 19.1 minutes a game. Of course, there is a caveat for Capela’s selection on draft night, as he is severely limited offensively. The 6-foot-10 center only converted 26 shots away from the rim last season and connected on just 37.9 percent of his free throws.

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robin-lopez17. Robin Lopez– Chicago Bulls

Lopez is the ideal backup center for any fantasy basketball roster. The 7-footer has appeared in all 82 games three times in the past four seasons and offers solid productivity, without the glaring downside many other centers offer. The former Stanford star averaged 10.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.4 assists per game, while registering solid shooting percentages from the field (53.9 percent) and foul line (79.5 percent) last season. Chicago upgraded its roster by adding Lopez and dealing point guard Derrick Rose, as the center had higher totals in PER, Win Shares and Real Plus Minus last year.

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tristan-thompson16. Tristan Thompson– Cleveland Cavaliers

Few players are better at collecting missed shots from their teammates than Thompson. As one of just three players to post at least 250 offensive rebounds in each of the past three years, joining Andre Drummond and DeAndre Jordan, Thompson has needed the least amount of minutes to accomplish the feat. Thompson and Joakim Noah are the only players to average at least three offensive rebounds a night in each of the past five seasons. With the departure of Timofey Mozgov in free agency, an increase from the 27.7 minutes a game Thompson posted a year ago is a sure bet.

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myles-turner15. Myles Turner– Indiana Pacers

The Pacers have been one of the most savvy teams selecting late in the draft lottery. The franchise has landed Reggie Miller, Dale Davis, Danny Granger and Paul George with the 10th pick or later on draft night. Turner appears to be the latest gem the team has chosen, as the 11th overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft forced his way into the starting lineup and never looked back. Turner posted 11.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks a night and his shooting percentage of 49.8 percent for the season was a nice bonus for Indiana.

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jonas-valanciunas14. Jonas Valanciunas– Toronto Raptors

As the Raptors battled through the Eastern Conference in the post season last year, Valanciunas emerged as the most dominant player on the roster. Even though Toronto boasts an All-Star back court combination, it was Valanciunas that provided steady contributions. The 24-year-old posted 13.6 points and 11.9 rebounds in the opening round against Indiana, then in the three games before injuring his ankle against Miami, logged 18.3 points and 12.6 rebounds a night against Hassan Whiteside. The Raptors let free agent Bismack Biyombo walk in free agency, opening up additional minutes and opportunities for Valanciunas as he enters his fifth year in the NBA.

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nikola-vucevic13. Nikola Vucevic– Orlando Magic

The primary question facing Vucevic as he enters his enters his fifth season in Orlando, is just exactly where does he fit in the rotation under first year coach Frank Vogel? The Magic could place Vucevic on the trading block, as the team brought in Bismack Biyombo to provide some much needed rim protection, and he will have plenty of suitors. A groin injury was costly for Vucevic late in the season, as he missed 13 games, but he still managed 18.9 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 65 appearances.

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jahlil-okafor12. Jahlil Okafor– Philadelphia 76ers

It took Okafor a few months to become a consistent fantasy performer, but once he settled in Philadelphia, he emerged as an unstoppable scorer. The former Duke standout hit 60.9 percent of his attempts from the field in January, then in February shot 56.8 percent from the field before knee injuries ended his season. Okafor was on the cusp on entering the Rookie of the Year race, as he averaged 17.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game, and following a dismal start to his professional career, ended up shooting 50.8 percent from the floor.

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brook-lopez11. Brook Lopez– Brooklyn Nets

Not many centers are capable to thriving as a post performer and stepping out to the perimeter to provide consistent scoring chances. The addition of coach Kenny Atkinson should lead to even more than the 15.8 field goal attempts he averaged last season. Lopez is expected to provide a foundation for the Nets, as he shot over 50 percent from the field in each of the past four seasons. Lopez posted a career-high 20.6 points per game and scored more than 20 points on 41 occasions last year, 56 percent of his appearances.

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dwight-howard10. Dwight Howard– Atlanta Hawks

A return to his hometown could be exactly what is necessary to redeem Howard’s status around the league. Howard essentially vanished from Houston’s offensive attack last season, attempting 8.5 shots a game, just the fifth highest on the team. While his scoring production slipped to 13.7 points per game, his lowest total since his debut season, he did grab 11.8 rebounds a game, tying him with Hassan Whiteside for the third most in the league last year. Even though he missed 11 games due to injury, Howard was one of just six players to snare more than 800 total rebounds during the 2015-16 campaign.

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rudy-gobert9. Rudy Gobert– Utah Jazz

During the second game of the season, Philadelphia couldn’t get any clean looks at the rim. Seemingly anytime a shot was released, the massive wingspan of Gobert was there to redirect the trajectory of the shot. Once the night ended, he rejected seven shots, a feat replicated less than two weeks later by Derrick Favors, resulting in Utah being the only team featuring a pair of teammates to block seven or more shots in a game last season. A knee injury forced Gobert to miss 21 games, but he still continued to progress in his third year, posting averages of 9.1 points, 11 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game, the third highest rejection average in the league.

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marc-gasol8. Marc Gasol– Memphis Grizzlies

A fractured foot brought Gasol’s season to an end in early February, but the good news is he considered playing for Spain at the 2016 Summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro. For an all around impact at the center position, Gasol has the widest array of skills, as he has dished out over 3.5 assists a night for each of the past four years. Along with his supreme court vision, Gasol posted 16.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and more than an assist and a steal each night. Despite his season being cut short due to an injury, the 31-year-old was one of just 26 players to total 50 steals and 70 blocks a year ago.

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al-horford7. Al Horford– Boston Celtics

The draw of playing for a rabid fan base is what convinced Horford to leave Atlanta — the organization that selected him with the third overall pick in the NBA Draft nine years ago — and join the Celtics. Boston fans will have plenty of reasons to root for Horford, as he joined Pau Gasol and Paul Millsap as the only players in the NBA to average at least 3.0 assists and 1.5 blocks per game last year. During his final season with the Hawks, Horford managed to incorporate a solid 3-point shot into his offensive repertoire, as he sank 88 shots from beyond the arc, an impressive feat considering he only made 22 during his first eight seasons in the league combined.

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6. DeAndre Jordan– Los Angeles Clippersdeandre-jordan

Los Angeles is hoping the gold medal effect will carry over onto the court for Jordan. Even though he started just three times in eight games and ranked sixth in minutes played, Jordan managed to lead the team in rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage. Jordan has led the league in field goal percentage each of the past four years, fueled last year by his league-high 227 dunks. Jordan earned All-NBA First team honors last season and was selected to the All-NBA Defensive First team, as he grabbed over 10 defensive rebounds per game for the second-straight year.

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hassan-whiteside5. Hassan Whiteside– Miami Heat

The 3.7 blocks per game Whiteside swatted away last year was the most the NBA has seen in the last 15 years. Along with his sky high rejection totals, Whiteside ranked third in the league in rebounding average (11.8 per game) and third in field goal percentage, at 60.6 percent. The massive numbers led to an even more impressive counteroffer from Miami, as he landed a four-year, $98 million deal, becoming the first player in league history to go from playing on an NBA minimum contract to then sign for the maximum salary.

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pau-gasol4. Pau Gasol– San Antonio Spurs

The accomplishments of Gasol went largely unnoticed during his second consecutive All-Star season in Chicago. Only two players managed to post at least 15 points, 10 rebounds and 2.0 blocks a night last season: Gasol and Anthony Davis. The list gets cut in half if assists are factored in, as Gasol managed to dish out 4.1 a night, the second highest among any power forwards or centers in the league a year ago. Initial Yahoo! mock drafts have Gasol being selected 52nd overall, essentially a mid-first fifth round pick, a valuation way too low for his production. The move to San Antoino will cut into his lofty averages, but not enough to be selected below Marcin Gortat, a player on average chose 46.7th overall.

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andre-drummond3. Andre Drummond– Detroit Pistons

Six teams regret passing on Drummond during the 2012 NBA Draft. Anthony Davis has emerged as a superstar in New Orleans and Damian Lillard has thrived in Portland, but Drummond has been a force for the Pistons. Charlotte, Washington, Cleveland, Sacramento, Golden State and Sacramento all could have opted to select Drummond, a walking double-double. Last season, Drummond registered 66 double-doubles in 81 appearances and pulled down 14.8 rebounds a game, as he grabbed the most offensive and defensive rebounds in the league.

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demarcus-cousins2. DeMarcus Cousins– Sacramento Kings

Sacramento has given free reign to Cousins. The team allowed him to attempt over 20 shots a night, and even though he missed 17 games, Cousins attempted the 13th most shots in the league. The Kings allowed their All-Star center as much room as possible to create and he delivered with the best year of his career. Cousins and Anthony Davis were the only players to post 20 points and 10 rebounds a night last season, as he finished the year with 26.9 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks per game.

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Karl-Anthony Towns-Basketball Center Rankings1. Karl-Anthony Towns– Minnesota Timberwolves

The campaign Towns submitted last season would have earned him Rookie of the Year honors any year. Towns vaulted himself into a first round fantasy basketball pick as he totaled 18.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.7 blocks and he hit 88 shots from 3-point range. Minnesota quickly incorporated Towns into its offensive attack and he proved to be devastating after setting a screen for a ball handler. The 20-year-old totaled 341 points off the pick-and-roll as the roll man, second only to Anthony Davis in the NBA last year.

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About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.

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