Edit: I forgot to again give props to our newest writer, William Lou, who took on some of the grunt work and helped collect some of the stats for this article.

After a bit of a break, here is the long overdue rankings for the centre/center position. You can read the point guard, shooting guard, small forward and power forward rankings.

Now to be honest, I’m a little flummoxed about this ranking. No, it’s not because I have difficulty with the rankings, but with how to actually spell centre/center. See, I’ve always been very insistent on using the Canadian spelling and pronunciation of words, going so far as banning the alphabet song on one of my kid’s CDs, when they were younger, because the singer sang “zee” instead of “zed”.

But when it came to this particular position, I’ve always used the American spelling as if it were somehow a word unto itself. I’m sure it was because that was always how I read it in all the basketball books and on TV. So what do YOU think about the centre/center issue?

As for the actual rankings, this was one of the easier positions to not only narrow down, but rank. There were a few that I left out, most notably Samuel Dalembert, who looks to be the starting center/centre for the Mavericks this year, and Andrew Bynum, who I really have no clue whether to expect him to even play this year. If healthy, he’s a top 5 centre/center, but he also could end up being another cautionary tale about investing too heavily in often injured big men without a strong work ethic.

As with the previous rankings, I looked at a number of advanced statistics for each player and tried to get a good snapshot of where each player stood in comparison to one another.

Player
Rt Rank
PER
Rank
WS
Rank
WS48
Rank
WP48
Rank
WP
Rank
Tyson Chandler
3.8
19.10
12
9.3
2
0.207
1
0.294
3
13.3
1
Marc Gasol
5
19.58
10
11.5
1
0.197
2
0.176
9
10.2
3
Andre Drummond
7.6
21.51
3
4.5
19
0.172
6
0.313
1
8.1
9
Tiago Splitter
8.2
18.61
15
8.2
5
0.197
2
0.187
8
7.8
11
Joakim Noah
8.6
18.19
16
7.3
8
0.145
13
0.225
4
11.4
2
Brook Lopez
8.8
24.77
1
9.0
3
0.191
4
0.117
19
5.5
17
Al Horford
9
19.96
8
8.8
4
0.153
10
0.143
16
8.2
7
Dwight Howard
9.2
19.79
9
7.6
7
0.134
15
0.164
11
9.3
4
Larry Sanders
9.8
18.92
14
6.0
13
0.149
11
0.208
5
8.4
6
Anderson Varejao
10
21.63
2
3.3
26
0.173
5
0.312
2
5.9
15
Nikola Pekovic
10.4
20.24
6
6.7
9
0.163
8
0.149
15
6.1
14
Kosta Koufos
11.4
17.29
20
6.5
10
0.171
7
0.188
7
7.1
13
DeAndre Jordan
11.4
17.24
21
6.2
11
0.148
12
0.197
6
8.2
7
JaVale McGee
12.6
20.75
5
4.9
18
0.163
8
0.158
12
4.7
20
Al Jefferson
14.2
20.90
4
7.7
6
0.143
14
0.082
26
4.4
21
Greg Monroe
15.2
19.44
11
5.9
14
0.105
23
0.140
17
7.8
11
Nikola Vucevic
15.2
17.74
17
5.7
15
0.106
21
0.152
14
8.1
9
Omer Asik
16
14.84
28
5.5
17
0.108
20
0.169
10
8.7
5
Robin Lopez
17.2
18.98
13
5.6
16
0.126
18
0.113
21
5.0
18
Roy Hibbert
17.8
17.50
19
6.1
12
0.129
16
0.103
23
4.9
19
Emeka Okafor
20.4
15.70
25
4.5
19
0.104
24
0.134
18
5.7
16
DeMarcus Cousins
21.6
20.20
7
4.4
22
0.092
27
0.056
27
2.7
25
Nene
21.8
16.92
22
4.0
23
0.116
19
0.107
22
3.7
23
Jonas Valanciunas
22.2
15.49
26
3.9
24
0.127
17
0.116
20
3.6
24
Andrew Bogut
23.6
13.87
29
1.7
29
0.106
21
0.153
13
2.5
26
Enes Kanter
24.8
17.70
18
2.3
28
0.101
25
0.100
25
2.2
28
Spencer Hawes
24.8
15.95
24
4.5
19
0.096
26
0.049
28
2.3
27
Marcin Gortat
25.2
15.37
27
3.4
25
0.086
28
0.102
24
4.0
22
Chris Kaman
28.6
16.48
23
1.6
30
0.058
30
-0.018
30
-0.5
30
Kendrick Perkins
28.8
8.41
30
2.5
27
0.062
29
0.012
29
0.8
29

A few things jump out right away. Immediately, this appears to add more fuel to the fire that Bryan Colangelo made a huge blunder not selecting Andre Drummond. Bear in mind that Drummond played the fourth fewest minutes of any centre/center on the list, barely ahead of just Enes Kanter, Chris Kaman and JaVale McGee, so it will be interesting to see whether he can keep up that production with more minutes.

On the down side, the Raptor’s own Jonas Valanciunas doesn’t fare all that well which is a little surprising since he had such a promising rookie season. The thing to remember is that these ratings don’t take into consideration potential, of which Valanciunas has plenty of. Still, it will hopefully give a little perspective to those who might expect to much from the young Lithuanian this season.

Raptor fans can take consolation that they aren’t Oklahoma Thunder fans (or maybe not), since Perkins looks horrible, yet still has two more years on his rather large contract.

Player
TS%
Rank
OR%
Rank
DRR%
Rank
TRB%
Rank
Stl Rate
Rank
Blk Rate
Rank
Tyson Chandler
67.4
1
14.1
5
24.3
10
17.0
13
1
24
3
17
Jonas Valanciunas
61.3
2
9.6
21
20.5
21
15.0
20
0.6
29
4.2
12
Tiago Splitter
60.7
3
8.8
22
20.3
22
14.9
24
1.6
7
2.3
23
DeAndre Jordan
60.6
4
12.7
9
22.4
16
17.7
9
1.3
14
4.7
9
JaVale McGee
58.9
5
12.6
10
17.1
28
14.9
24
1.1
18
8.5
1
Enes Kanter
58.9
5
14.5
4
18.6
26
16.5
16
1.4
12
2.3
23
Kosta Koufos
58.6
7
13.3
6
21.2
19
17.4
10
1.2
16
4.4
10
Andre Drummond
58.0
8
15.4
2
27.2
5
21.1
3
2.5
1
6.1
4
Dwight Howard
57.4
9
10.4
18
27.4
4
19.2
5
1.6
7
4.9
8
Robin Lopez
57.3
10
12.4
11
13.4
30
12.9
30
0.8
27
5
7
Nikola Pekovic
57.0
11
13.0
7
19.0
24
16.1
18
1.1
18
2
26
Brook Lopez
56.7
12
10.8
16
16.1
29
13.4
28
0.8
27
5.2
6
Al Horford
56.2
13
8.2
24
23.0
14
15.0
20
1.5
11
2.2
25
Marc Gasol
55.9
14
7.6
26
18.9
25
13.2
29
1.6
7
4.1
13
Omer Asik
55.8
15
12.8
8
31.0
1
22.0
2
0.9
25
2.7
20
Marcin Gortat
54.3
16
7.6
26
24.0
12
15.6
19
1.1
18
3.9
14
Nene
53.6
17
6.7
30
20.6
20
13.7
26
1.7
5
1.8
28
Joakim Noah
53.4
18
12.2
12
22.6
15
17.4
10
1.7
5
4.4
10
Nikola Vucevic
53.3
19
12.0
13
28.4
3
20.2
4
1.2
16
2.4
22
Chris Kaman
53.1
20
8.1
25
22.1
17
15.0
20
1.1
18
3
17
Anderson Varejao
52.9
21
16.9
1
30.1
2
23.2
1
2.1
3
1.3
30
Greg Monroe
52.8
22
9.9
19
23.6
13
16.6
15
2.1
3
1.6
29
Larry Sanders
52.6
23
12.0
13
25.8
9
18.6
8
1.4
12
7.6
2
DeMarcus Cousins
52.4
24
10.9
15
27.0
6
18.8
6
2.4
2
1.9
27
Al Jefferson
52.1
25
7.0
28
25.9
8
16.4
17
1.6
7
2.7
20
Spencer Hawes
51.4
26
8.5
23
21.7
18
15.0
20
0.6
29
3.9
14
Emeka Okafor
49.2
27
10.7
17
26.8
7
18.7
7
1.1
18
3
17
Roy Hibbert
49.0
28
14.8
3
17.4
27
17.0
13
0.9
25
6.7
3
Kendrick Perkins
48.1
29
7.0
28
19.5
23
13.7
26
1.1
18
3.2
16
Andrew Bogut
46.0
30
9.8
20
24.1
11
17.3
12
1.3
14
5.5
5

In terms of True Shooting Percentage, most of the players that finished in the top 10 are defensive players who rarely took a shot more than two feet away from the rim and are not known for the offense. Also in the top 10, though, are Valanciunas and Enes, two young players with plenty of offensive skills. In fact, both players were below the median in shots coming from assists, which tells you they create their own shots more than most of their contemporaries.

This highlights the promise both these players have on the offensive end.

On the other end of the scale are Greg Monroe and DeMarcus Cousins, who both came out of the 2010 draft and who are both primarily offensive players with advanced post moves and finished near the bottom in True Shooting Percentage, highlighting that they still have a long way to go in that area. Both also not surprisingly finished near the bottom in block percentage, but in the top five in steal percentage, thanks to their quick hands. That doesn’t necessarily mean either one is a good defender, though.

Valanciunas still needs to show a lot of improvement on the boards, as he is near the bottom in this area, despite the physical skills and attitude.

Player
DWS
Rank
DRating
Rank
PPP
Rank
Iso
Rank
Post up
Rank
P&R
Rank
Spot up
Rank
Marc Gasol
5.4
1
98
2
0.76
5
0.62
3
0.66
6
0.77
8
0.94
17
Roy Hibbert
4.9
2
97
1
0.86
19
0.8
22
0.79
18
0.92
21
0.92
15
Dwight Howard
4.8
3
100
7
0.74
2
0.84
24
0.58
1
0.76
7
0.8
5
Joakim Noah
4.7
4
99
3
0.81
6
0.78
19
0.73
9
0.91
19
0.82
7
Al Horford
4.1
5
102
12
0.84
13
0.73
12
0.79
18
0.78
10
1.03
25
Larry Sanders
3.7
6
99
3
0.84
13
0.62
3
0.7
7
0.81
15
1.1
28
Emeka Okafor
3.7
6
99
3
0.81
6
0.66
6
0.76
14
0.88
17
0.87
9
Tiago Splitter
3.5
8
100
7
0.81
6
0.79
21
0.64
3
1
28
0.94
17
Omer Asik
3.5
8
103
15
0.87
23
0.74
14
0.74
11
0.97
26
0.9
11
Al Jefferson
3.3
10
104
17
0.9
29
0.98
27
0.79
18
0.94
23
1.01
24
DeAndre Jordan
3.2
11
101
10
0.86
19
0.8
22
0.85
25
0.72
6
0.91
13
Greg Monroe
3.2
11
105
21
0.87
23
0.74
14
0.93
30
0.77
8
0.88
10
Kendrick Perkins
3.0
13
102
12
0.75
4
0.64
5
0.83
21
0.78
10
0.78
4
Nikola Vucevic
2.9
14
105
21
0.84
13
0.75
17
0.89
28
0.66
5
0.91
13
Spencer Hawes
2.8
15
104
17
0.89
28
0.73
12
0.9
29
0.81
15
0.95
19
Nene
2.7
16
101
10
0.84
13
0.74
14
0.63
2
0.9
18
0.98
21
Tyson Chandler
2.6
17
104
17
0.81
6
0.78
19
0.64
3
1.11
30
0.9
11
Brook Lopez
2.6
17
105
21
0.86
19
0.7
8
0.88
27
0.98
27
0.86
8
Kosta Koufos
2.5
19
103
15
0.87
23
1.06
28
0.78
16
0.61
3
1.05
26
Andre Drummond
2.3
20
99
3
0.82
11
0.86
25
0.77
15
0.78
10
0.92
15
DeMarcus Cousins
2.3
20
106
26
0.86
19
0.86
25
0.74
11
0.93
22
1
22
JaVale McGee
2.2
22
102
12
0.84
13
0.71
10
0.75
13
0.8
14
1
22
Nikola Pekovic
2.1
23
106
26
0.83
12
0.71
10
0.72
8
0.91
19
0.97
20
Marcin Gortat
2.1
23
105
21
0.84
13
0.68
7
0.65
5
0.96
25
1.17
29
Chris Kaman
1.6
25
105
21
0.87
23
1.15
29
0.78
16
1.05
29
0.71
2
Jonas Valanciunas
1.5
26
106
26
0.9
29
1.18
30
0.84
24
0.95
24
0.81
6
Andrew Bogut
1.4
27
100
7
0.88
27
0.58
1
0.83
21
0.79
13
1.21
30
Robin Lopez
1.2
28
110
30
0.81
6
0.75
17
0.73
9
0.58
1
1.08
27
Anderson Varejao
1.1
29
104
17
0.71
1
0.58
1
0.83
21
0.64
4
0.61
1
Enes Kanter
1.0
30
107
29
0.74
2
0.7
8
0.87
26
0.58
1
0.73
3

As I’ve previously discussed, defensive advanced stats are fraught with problems. Players on good defensive teams have inflated defensive stats and the reverse is true. While Marc Gasol and Roy Hibbert are undeniably good defensive players, and are rated accordingly in Defensive Win Share and Defensive Rating, Hibbert is average at best in the individual ratings. Of course, that might be due to his responsibilities he has on the Pacers Defense.

On the other hand, Anderson Varejao is considerd a very good defensive player and does well in the individual stats, but not the team stats, Defensive Win Share and Defensive Rating. This is probably due to the poor defensive players Varejao has been stuck with in Cleveland, though.

With some players, the difference between the difference ratings is interesting. Andrew Bogut has a low Defensive Win Share, but a high Defensive Rating, which is the case with Andre Drummond, as well.

Valanciunasdoesn’t seem to do well in any of these categories, save defending spot up shooters. Kanter doesn’t do well in the ratings, but in the individual stats he excels in everything but defending post ups.

Now for the average rankings for all the stats above:

Player
Rank Avg
Dwight Howard
6.78
Andre Drummond
7.50
Joakim Noah
8.94
Tyson Chandler
9.61
Marc Gasol
9.89
Anderson Varejao
10.06
Larry Sanders
10.44
DeAndre Jordan
11.22
Tiago Splitter
11.72
Kosta Koufos
12.61
Al Horford
13.06
Omer Asik
13.61
JaVale McGee
13.61
Nikola Vucevic
13.72
Emeka Okafor
13.89
Roy Hibbert
14.67
Nikola Pekovic
14.67
Greg Monroe
15.56
Brook Lopez
15.61
Al Jefferson
16.50
Enes Kanter
16.72
Robin Lopez
16.78
DeMarcus Cousins
17.11
Nene
17.50
Andrew Bogut
18.61
Marcin Gortat
19.28
Kendrick Perkins
19.33
Jonas Valanciunas
19.50
Chris Kaman
20.89
Spencer Hawes
20.94

If you’re a Raptor fan, I’ve got one word for you: Ouch!

Of course, as I stated earlier, these stats don’t take into consideration potential, and let’s not pretend the above is the least bit conclusive. Valanciunas improved vastly from the beginning of the season, so his stats from the second half of the season might look very different. Let’s not pretend he still doesn’t have a lot of work to do, though, and he’s probably another year or two from really being an impact player in the league unless he makes a massive leap, which is certainly possible.

For Pistons fans who wonder why they haven’t reached an agreement about an extension with Greg Monroe, where Andre Drummond finishes here might explain a few things. Right now, he’s an advanced stat darling and probably who Joe Dumars is looking at to be the future cornerstone of the franchise.

One interesting tidbit is that Kosta Koufos, who was basically given away by the Denver Nuggets, finishes ahead of JaVale McGee, who he started ahead of all year and who George Karl mostly stapled to the bench. Denver might very well see a dropoff at the center position this year and regret handing McGee the starting position.

1 Marc Gasol
2 Dwight Howard
3 Joakim Noah
4 Al Horford
5 Roy Hibbert
6 Brook Lopez
7 Tyson Chandler
8 Nikola Pekovic
9 Greg Monroe
10 Larry Sanders
11 DeMarcus Cousins
12 Al Jefferson
13 Anderson Varejao
14 Tiago Splitter
15 Andre Drummond
16 Andrew Bogut
17 Omer Asik
18 Nikola Vucevic
19 Enes Kanter
20 Jonas Valanciunas
21 Nene
22 Kosta Koufos
23 Marcin Gortat
24 Robin Lopez
25 Emeka Okafor
26 JaVale McGee
27 DeAndre Jordan
28 Spencer Hawes
29 Kendrick Perkins
30 Chris Kaman

Right off the bat, I have to say that the centre/center position seems to be in better shape than I first thought. That’s not to say we’re in an era similar to what we had in the 90’s, when there were half a dozen Hall of Fame centers, but there look to be some decent players at the position, now. More importantly, there is a lot of youth at the position.

One that is important to note is that injuries have a big impact on these ratings. As I mentioned, Andrew Bynum might be a top ten centre/center, if healthy, but who knows when and if that will ever be. A healthy and motivated Dwight Howard should be the best centre/center in the league, but not the one we saw in Los Angeles.

A healthy Anderson Varejao would rank much higher. The same goes for Andrew Bogut, who has the ability to be the second most important player on the Warriors and be a top ten centre/center when healthy.

While Tiago Splitter finished high in all the stats, I didn’t rank him nearly as high in my final rankings. The two main reasons are that Splitter only finished as high as he did in the stats because of the system he played on and his role, but more importantly, his limitations were exposed in the playoffs when the Spurs had to continue to sit him because his inability to score hurt the Spurs. While a lot of readers took issue with ranking Danny Green as high as I did in the Shooting Guard rankings, he actually averaged MORE minutes in the playoffs than in the regular season, showing his value to the team, whereas Splitter played fewer minutes in the playoffs where his lack of offensive proved too big a weakness.

Lastly, I will admit that I ended up ranking Valanciunas lower than I had anticipated, and that was difficult. As most know, I am a big Valanciunas fan, but at this point in his career, I didn’t think it made sense rank him higher than any of the players above him. I do believe, however, that will change this season.

While a lot of Raptor fans are anxious to see a rivalry between Valanciunas and Drummond, I would add Enes Kanter to that group. Those three big men, all from very different backgrounds, show the NBA isn’t quite ready to give up on the centre/center position just yet. I think we have some very good days ahead of us.

  • Casey Sherman

    Center.

    By the way why did you move Drummond so far down? I understand he hasn’t played much, but that seems like quite the jump. Also why did you move Gasol up to first? It’s not like his ranking was hurt by lack of pt….

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      As I mentioned below, I’d like to see a little more from Drummond before I rank him any higher, plus his free throw shooting is a major flaw. It’s historically bad.

      As for Gasol, I don’t think I necessarily moved him up, because there really wasn’t a whole lot of difference. I think if you look at his overall game, he’s one of the top 3 centres/centers in the game, and Dwight Howard falls because of question marks.

      • Casey Sherman

        I agree about Drummond, just thought the move was oddly severe.

      • theswirsky

        I’m not sure Drummonds foul shooting of that great of a significance. Its clearly terrible, but terrible ft shooting haven’t prevented players from dominating the league. Shaq and Dwight are obvious examples. Ben Wallace aswell (although he was dominant for non-offensive reasons).
        Thing is, those first 2 I mentioned, their ft shooting % actually had a bigger impact on a game versus Drummond because of the quantity they took. But even if we pretend Drummond will in the future 1) stay at his current ft% rate (approx 40%) 2) will take as many fts per game as Shaq/Dwight (approx 10 a game). The difference comes out to around 1 to 1.5 possessions, and therefore 1 to 1.5 pts per game.
        I really think people overvalue the impact of Drummonds FT shooting. Its a weakness yes, but its also not one that will make or break a team atleast compared to everything else he does well.

        • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

          I think until Drummond shows he can consistently have a huge impact in another area, his beyond horrible free throw shooting will keep him out of important situations. Keep in mind that Shaq and Dwight never shot below 40% from the free throw line.

  • mountio

    I havent gone back to do a detailed comparison, but it certainly seems that you took more artistic license with the centers in terms of moving people around vs what the numbers and averages say. Splitter you give an explanation, but how about Gasol, Drummond and others that you moved fairly dramatically vs the averages.
    Im not saying I disagree with you – for example, Id move Drummond down too .. low minutes / usage equals high per min stats. BUT – I would do the same with Danny Green and others previously, where instead, you raved about their efficiency. What about AD’s efficiency?

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      I didn’t really think anyone wanted me to make the column any longer, so I just mentioned a few. Perhaps I did take a little more artistic license with these rankings. I guess that’s what happens when you do them months apart, like I did, but looking back, I don’t think there’s really all that much I’d change.

      My biggest issues with Drummond, were not only that he didn’t play a lot of minutes, but he got a lot of those against second unit players. Plus, his foul shooting is beyond atrocious. And that’s a big, big flaw, if he’s your starting centre/center. If you can’t count on him in big moments, then he loses his value, just as Splitter loses his value because of his inability to score.

      • mountio

        I think Swirsky hit it best below. Ya, foul shooting is a weakness, but that is picked up in his TS% (I think?) .. which is still middle of the pack.
        I think the real issue is that its in vogue to like “efficient” wing players (the whole 3 and D thing) – whereas this center analysis in an interesting, indirect way shows the flaws in using such an analysis to compare players. One way or the other, the articles are illuminating … I wonder if you (or WIlliam) – look at these results for the centers and look back at your thoughts on the wings and question whether you had overvalued the one dimensional, “efficient” shooters?

        • DDayLewis

          Just curious: which one-dimensional efficient shooter did I overvalue?

          • mountio

            Just did a scan back to the SG post. You were reasonably balanced on the topic, but the question I guess revolves around liking/over-valuing a player like Danny Green (efficient, knows his role, but clearly couldn’t do much beyond shoot open Js and play ok D) and not liking a player like Drummond (efficient, kills it on a per minute basis).
            Although the two players are very different .. advanced stats in my view, over-value both. Tim seems to agree with the over-value on Green, but disagree on Drummond. Would you feel the same?
            Also, if you want to get less personal with Drummond .. Tim has done the same thing with another “efficient” player in DeAndre Jordan. Huge move down the ranks, despite great efficiency. Seems counter to the thoughts on Green

            • DDayLewis

              A couple of things.

              1) Green does more than just knock down threes and play “OK” defense. He’s knocks down threes at an elite rate and his defense is very good. Let’s not open up this debate again. When you say that I over-value Green, it’s just that my opinion differs from yours, which is fine, but I can easily say that you’re over-rating whoever you like.

              2) True shooting percentage doesn’t over-value anything. It simply is what it is. Perhaps you are referring to statistics borne from basketball models like PER or WS, in which case they can certainly “over-value” something, but TS% is just FG%/3PT%/FT% rolled into one number.

              Certainly a person can over-value the importance of TS%, but it’s not the number that is biased, it’s the person who uses that number.

              3) I like Green and Drummond. Green is fantastic in role and Drummond is fantastic at his. Do I think Drummond is a top-5 center right now? No. Why do I think that? Because he has very little post-game to speak of and he has some shortcomings when it comes to free throws (I’d be fine if he could just raise it to 55%+).

              • mountio

                Fair enough .. and Im not trying to re-open the Green argument we had before .. just to put it in a different light given I found it interesting that Tim seemed to value less in centers the things he likes in Green.
                Main point I’m trying to make is that if you like DG for the reasons you state, it stands to reason that you should like AD or DJ for similar reasons (both have very high TS% for example). You seem to be consistent on this one, Tim does not.

                • DDayLewis

                  Thank god. That Green/DD debate was ridiculous.

                  I don’t know if it’s consistency or not. There’s room for interpretation with the numbers that Tim compiled.

                • SR

                  mountio – I get it, and I agree.

                  Basically, advanced stats guys love corner 3’s and good defense more than anything, which is why a limited player who excels in that type of role, like Danny Green, gets props for his efficiency, while centers who are limited players excelling in their roles at a similar level of efficiency get knocked for their limitations.

                  Basically, advanced stats like to minimize traditional box score stats (rebounding – sorry Kevin Love) and have to get more technical than most are comfortable with to even begin to measure the impact of a competent big body in the key (although you do see Hibbert getting love for this).

                  The stats and their usage are always evolving, though. I think they’ll move on past the “3&D!” shibboleth eventually.

                • DDayLewis

                  Excuse me? Would you like the “advanced stats guys” to get off your lawn?

                • SR

                  DDayLewis – Hey, I love advanced stats, but are we here to defend a camp or to talk about basketball? Advanced stats are great for illuminating all kinds of nuances we were previously blind to, but they’re also clearly in the early stages of usage and implementation. Is being honest about their strengths and weaknesses going to degenerate into another round of internet nonsense?

                  Tell me honestly that you haven’t seen 10 advanced stats blog posts about “3&D” perimeter players for every one advanced stats post that explores the nuances of a traditional big man? That’s all.

                • DDayLewis

                  It’s not about defending a camp, but when you issue a blanket statement like “advanced stats guys love corner 3’s and good defense more than anything”, you falsely generalize a whole side of the debate. And hilariously enough, over-valuing rebounds is a typical complaint against advanced statistics. I mean, have you ever seen Reggie Evans’ Wins Produced numbers?

                  Anyway the debate isn’t advanced vs traditional stats. It’s a disagreement over beliefs about the game. Most advanced statistics are created with the “four factors” in mind, thus most people who are statistically inclined also buy into the importance of these factors.

                  And just for a reference, here’s a statistics heavy post about the “nuances of a traditional big man”

                  http://www.raptorsrepublic.com/2013/08/14/guest-post-an-in-depth-look-at-jonas-valanciunas/

                • SR

                  *Whoosh*

                  Disappointingly, there’s just no point.

                • DDayLewis

                  If you say so. I addressed your points.

            • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

              But with guys like DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond and Tiago Splitter, their efficient offense can be easily nullified because they actually aren’t good shooters, just ones that don’t shoot far from the basket. Even a guy like Amir Johnson has better touch around the basket than those players.

              Green is actually a good shooter.

              • mountio

                Not to be overly nit picky, but what does it matter where you shoot from as long as your %ages are high? If Shaq can continually dominate guys down low every time you throw him the ball, does it matter that he doesnt have a nice 15 footer? I would argue shooting a high %age down low when you are being guarded and teams are actually trying to stop you (sometimes double team you) is a much greater “skill” than hitting open jumpshots that are created by the talents of your teammates.

                • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

                  Shaq can score no matter who is on him and no matter what the defense is like. His percentage is high because he not only shoots from close, but was a talented offensive player with great touch.

                  Tiago Splitter gets his high percentage because he gets a lot of open looks close to the basket, not because he’s an especially talented offensive player. His strength is his defense. And the fact that he couldn’t stay on the floor very long in the playoffs because he hurt them offensively shows his flaw.

                  A jump shooter is ALWAYS valuable in the league today. If you can not only hit from three, but do it consistently, and also have a positive impact on the defensive end, then that’s very important.

                • golden

                  Agree with mountio on his one. One of Shaq’s greatest talents was that he could consistently get great position in the post by essentially shoving or bullying opposing players out the way without getting called for fouls. How is that anything, but a skill? And how is that any different than Rip Hamilton or Ray Allen running around screens to get to ‘their’ shooting spot?

                • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

                  I’m not sure how to respond. Your seem to be agreeing with what I was saying.

  • OzRapsFan

    What a load of craps. You give all these Advanced stats then all you did was rank them according to your personal opinion.

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      Thanks for your well thought out rebuttal of my column. You’ve really given everyone some food for thought.

      • OzRapsFan

        thanks, I wanted to spend as much energy in my reply as you did in your article.

        • Purple Reign

          LOL….. Touche

      • golden

        To be specific, if you’re going to go the analytical route & use stats to back up a ranking, then you need to provide some breakdown on the methodology and justify why they make sense.

        Are you simply doing equal weight averaging over a plethora of un-related statistics and ranks? That doesn’t make sense, especially for offense.

        Another thing is that just about EVERYBODY forgets about USG% when talking about offense. USG% is probably one of the top 2 or 3 most important offensive stats. Comparing a guy like Brook Lopez (28% USG) to Tyson Chandler (13% USG) on offense is like apples vs. pumpkins. Lopez (28.6 USG% & 114 ORTG) is in an entirely different stratosphere than any Center/Centre on that list – offensively.

        • mountio

          Agree completely. Usage (the actual stat) and then context (is your job to shoot open jumpers or to actually create shots .. whether or not your usage is high) are the two biggest things missing from this. The last one is very subjective, so I get why that is hard .. but usage could be incorporated.

          • golden

            That’s right. Context & USG% is even more disparate with centers, than say, wings or PGs example. Guys like Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah aren’t even counted on to shoot even basic jumpers. Pick & rolls and put-backs are their main staple. Once a guy goes over 20% USG, then the other team has to gameplan for him. Not only is Lopez at an incredibly high usage (28.6%), he’s also the highest on a team which includes an all-star offensive player like Deron Williams. Pretty damn impressive. A guy like Chandler can only exist because Melo can maintain > 30% USG at high efficiency – which means he’s being double and triple teamed and still scoring at an all-star clip. Conversely, Chandler’s very good interior defense does allow Melo to take it easy on that side of the court, so both players make sort of a good fit together. That’s why I actually like the Gay, Amir, JV front court, despite the analytic backlash against Gay. A high usage/med efficiency guy paired with 2 low usage/high efficiency guys.

            Tim: to your credit you admit overlooking USG% as a key stat, but you’re not the only one. I’m always surprised how many times it is omitted by the ‘experts’ and more knowledgeable posters for individual players and 5-man units. Taken with ORTG, they are 2 of the most important stats to look at to get a quick read on offense. USG > 25 + ORTG > 110 = Elite.

            • DDayLewis

              Rudy Gay: Not a medium efficiency guy.

        • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

          I probably should have brought up usage, but I did take it into consideration in my final rankings. The reason for listing the stats was just to give a bit of a snapshot. That’s all. I wasn’t necessarily saying that they were the be all and end all of where a player ranks, which is why the rankings don’t always match.

          As for Lopez and Chandler, I agree that usage plays a big part, but keep in mind I rated Lopez higher than Chandler despite having a lower TS%.

    • ItsAboutFun

      ha, the conclusion kinda illustrates how the first 90% of the analysis is irrelevant, eh

  • SR

    Well if you go with centre you’ll have to stick with offence and defence as well. And all the rest: http://www.tysto.com/uk-us-spelling-list.html

  • theswirsky

    When we get to the point we are ranking Marcin Gortat, a guy who averaged per 36 minutes, 13-10-2 on 52% shooting and a drtg significantly higher than his team’s (ie. was at the very least a solid defender on a bad defensive team), all just slightly below his career norms, as the 23rd best player at his position…..
    ….it goes to show just how deep that position is in the NBA.

    Just some nitpicking, I think there are a few players missing from the analysis aswell.
    – Bosh, KG and JJ Hickson played C for most of season last year
    – Biyombo should probably be on that list if only for posterity
    Still a great post. Nice work Tim.

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      I ranked Bosh and Garnett as PFs because that’s what they’ve played most of their career.

      You might have a point about Gortat. He was a guy who I thought about ranking higher and upon second thought probably should have.

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  • thegloveinrapsuniform

    Very good read. I actually think that Centers have the “purest” stats because not that many factors around them affect their style of play. Unlike with Guards and Forwards, there a lot of stuff to be considered apart from stats whereas with centers, its pretty much what you see is what you get. They work inside or couple of feet away from the basket and thats the majority of it. I think Tim analyzed the stats well enough for me to understand considering im not much of a stats guy.

    i take it that your personal rankings are for this upcoming season, yes? I pretty much agree with JV’s ranking, sllght revision though is i would put Tiago and Asik below him just because JV i think will play more minutes than them this season.

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      The rankings are for right now, not the upcoming season. Otherwise both Valanciunas and Kanter would have been higher, I think.

  • ppellico

    “most of the players that finished in the top 10 are defensive players who rarely took a shot more than two feet away from the rim and are not known for the offense”…
    so what does this mean?
    Well…to me…it means this whole thing about the scoring of Jonas…or Gray…or any of your big men is just plain silly.
    And it again makes me shout for more inside out ball thisyear. Work it in…and let the big guy find the open players and get them the ball.
    I also think it remains THE main issue with the Raps…that if our wing guys scare nobody…we lose. We talk about Jonas being a savior. We bash Gray for JUST being a defensive player and not big with O stats…
    But this team has always just plain sucked with the imprtant players.
    Noah…as much as a punk that he is…he has Rose to make him look good. And last year, without Rose…tge punk got hurt and his playing time was nowhere near enough.
    When I see posters praising (and hoping and wanting) Amir for being an outside shooter…I know we are heading straight to hell.

    • johng_3

      Can you not post a comment with mentioning that shitbox in Aaron Gray. What is wrong with you?

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