May 18, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (55) dunks the ball against the New York Knicks in game six of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Off Season: Debating the Center Position

ESPN usually has links for 5 on 5 debates, so I thought I would try my hand at answering them, especially since this week’s featured the center position. Right here in Indy, we have one of the top centers in the league in Roy Hibbert, so what better way to give him some love?  He’s a guy that has come into his own over the past couple of seasons. Hard to believe just a few years ago, he was on a couch with a shrink trying to get his head right. Now he’s had an All Star season, and really played strong for the second half of last season and through the playoffs.  If that momentum can continue for Roy Hibbert this coming season, there’s no doubt he’ll be an All Star.  He’ll be a big piece of the Pacers’ offense as well, and will continue to hold his own on defense. He said last season he wanted to win Defensive Player of the Year, hopefully he can achieve that goal this coming season.

1.  Who’s the best center in the league?

This one could be one where I go the local route, and say Roy Hibbert.  I do believe he’s one of the top guys, but it’s hard to argue against Dwight Howard when he’s on.  He’s a guy like Hibbert that you can count on in that post position. He’s a guy that makes a huge difference on defense as well.  Two key elements to the center position. So it hurts me to pick Howard over Hibbert, but if I have to choose right now, it’s Dwight Howard.  This should be that season where he shows his form again, and really helps the Houston Rockets make some noise in the West. If that doesn’t happen, then I’ll be changing my tune about this question.

2.  Who’s the most underrated center in the league? 

I’m going with Marc Gasol for this one. He’s a guy that does get some attention, but he’s nowhere near that type of player level that the casual NBA fan would know.  He’s in that same vein as Hibbert and Howard, where he can pound it down low and get buckets.  But he can also step out for some jump shot as well. He earned Defensive Player of the Year last season, while some guys didn’t even believe he should have won. He’s a guy that won’t stuff the stat sheet, but you can see what he does for the center position in Memphis.  An underrated part of his game is his passing as he’s always been that guy that can really make a good pass at any point from his position.

3.  Who’s the most overrated center in the league?

Kendrick Perkins is the name that came to my head for this one. He’s a guy that does some things well, but really has gone downhill recently, and he’s nowhere near the impactful player he was. So I would have to give him the overrated tag here.

4.  Who is the most promising center?

Anthony Davis was the guy that was number one, and for good reason. He came out of Kentucky ready to go, and now he’s with a young team that’s being built up.  In a few years, this could be a playoff contending team, and Davis will be the centerpiece there.

5.  Who will be the best center in five years?

You’re probably wonder when I will give Roy Hibbert as an answer, and here we go. If you look at the top guys now, Howard, Gasol, Brook Lopez, and such, Hibbert is the guy that I can see rising above.  I think the injury bug could hurt Howard’s game.  Lopez might be left in the weeds with the fire power that the Nets have now.  Gasol could be good for a few more years, but who knows after that? So Roy Hibbert to me is that guy that continually works to get better, and will show that he’s got quite a few more All Star seasons in him. If he just can stay consistent in his game, there’s little doubt he’s a promising guy.


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Tags: Anthony Davis Dwight Howard Indiana Pacers Kendrick Perkins Marc Gasol Roy Hibbert

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