Composite Score Ranks the NBA: Centers

This may not be the most advanced and useful form of advanced basketball stats, but ranking players is always fun. It’s fun to do, and it’s fun to argue about. I’m going to let Composite Score rank the best players at each position using the data I compiled about a month ago. If there are any obvious flukes, I won’t include them. Today we start with centers…

1. Name: Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Composite Score Percentile: 98.45%
Ilgauskas edged Dwight Howard by the skinniest of margins, and he has his defense to thank. Big Z’s offense is no slouch either, but his Defensive Composite Score is at the very top of the league. Now, do I actually think he’s better than Howard? Gun to my head, I would say no. But Ilgauskas is a heck of a player that plays both ends of the floor. LeBron James is obviously the King in Cleveland, but without his huge partner at center, Cleveland would not be among the league’s elite.

2. Name: Dwight Howard. Composite Score Percentile: 98.14%
As you can see, he barely missed the top spot. People forget that Howard is still young. He’s improving every year and is going to be scary good. Ironically, Shaquille O’Neal may be the best comparison for him. Despite Howard’s sometimes rough post play (which happens to be improving exponentially), he’s got a great Offensive Composite Score because he’s efficient and bangs the offensive boards. Howard’s a definite MVP candidate, along with James, Chris Paul, and probably Dwyane Wade.

3. Name: Yao Ming. Composite Score Percentile: 96.90%

It may not be the days of Shaq, Olajuwon, Ewing, and Robinson, but we have a couple of good centers in the league right now (not to mention the up-and-coming but now injured Andrew Bynum). Oddly enough, Yao Ming has been seemingly the only player on Houston that’s been able to stay healthy all year. This coming from a guy who’s had a history of injuries since he came into the league. Yao would be a force even if he had no skills thanks to his size, but that’s not the case. His turnaround shot from the post is un-guardable and very accurate. Barring injury, Yao and Howard should rule the NBA’s paints for the foreseeable future.

4. Name: Erick Dampier. Composite Score Percentile: 96.59%.
You may think Dampier qualifies as one of those obvious flukes I was talking about, but this isn’t the first time he’s ranked well according to Composite Score. I’ve written about him previously and called him one of the league’s most underrated players. He’s ranked as one of the top 50 players overall in four out of the last five years. Sure, he may not look pretty out there and has a pretty limited offensive game. But he crashes the boards constantly and is a solid post defender. He makes a lot of money but you could do much, much worse at center.

5. Name: Marcus Camby. Composite Score Percentile: 95.36%
Camby’s OCS is actually higher than his DCS thus far, but I would expect that to change as the season progresses. As bad as the Clippers have been this year, Camby’s been a great center. His offense can be frustrating and he takes a lot of jump shots to be sure. But like Dampier, he’s a great rebounder and a great defender.

Honorable Mentions: Andrew Bynum, Kendrick Perkins, Nene Hilario, Shaquille O’Neal

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