There’s no question that since Michael Jordan the league has been transformed into a perimeter players’ league. With the exceptions of Hakeem, Shaq and perhaps Yao Ming, the most influential players of the last 20 years have all played on the perimeter: Jordan, Kobe, TMac, Vince Carter, Grant Hill, AI, DWade, Carmelo, and LeBron James. Even 7 footers who might previously have played with their backs to the basket now move more like George Gervin than they do like Patrick Ewing. Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, and Kevin Durant are three great examples of the way perception of the 7 footer has evolved over the last decade.
But the dominance of the perimeter player doesn’t mean that the center position is without value. Despite the faddish popularity of “small ball”, the traditional style of basketball with a dominant center is still incredibly effective. Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol and Roy Hibbert play more traditional center roles and are highly successful at it. So here are five up-and-coming centers to keep an eye on as they use the ’13-’14 season as they springboard into success. Continue reading