2009-10 Key Stats: 18.3 ppg | 13.2 rpg | 2.8 bpg | 61.2% FG No one in the league even comes close to Dwight Howard's stats. He led the league in rebounding and blocks, and the second-place finishers were far behind. He shot over 60 percent from the field last year, which is enough to carry a fantasy squad featuring even the most trigger-happy shooters. But there is a downside. Like a dominant big man before him, Howard can't seem to master free-throw shooting. The damage is easier to swallow in a head-to-head league, but regardless of your scoring, if you draft Howard, you need to add a high-percentage charity strip shooter later in the draft.
2 of 11Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
2009-10 Key Stats: 18.8 ppg | 8.7 rpg | 1.7 bpg | 81.7% FT The Nets are a team recovering from last season's 12-win debacle, and no player is more vital to their success than Brook Lopez. He rebounds, blocks shots and can shoot free throws better than most big men. And unless the Nets trade for Carmelo Anthony, Lopez has few other scorers to compete with for touches inside. Only 22 years old, Lopez's game isn't done growing. If he slips to you in the second round, you might be getting a steal.
3 of 11STR/AFP/Getty Images
2009-10 Key Stats: 23.1 ppg | 8.9 rpg | 1.0 bpg | 55.7% FG You have to imagine Amar'e Stoudemire's stats will dip now that he's no longer the beneficiary of Steve Nash's exquisite court vision. But the forecast is still positive for Amar'e as he leaves Phoenix to play for Mike D'Antoni, his former coach in Phoenix. Also to Amar'e's benefit is the Knicks' lack of scoring options. It's entirely plausible that he could lead the league in scoring. Add in nine rebounds, a block and good percentages, and Amar'e might be a bargain in the second round.
4 of 11Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images
2009-10 Key Stats: 14.2 ppg | 9.9 rpg | 1.1 bpg | 55.1% FG A reliable double-double machine in Atlanta, Al Horford progressed nicely in his third year in the league. He increased his scoring and established himself as a premier rebounder, but unfortunately his shot-blocking skills regressed. Smack dab in the middle of his prime, you have to imagine his skills will continue to progress. Even if they don't, the points, rebounds, blocks and percentages he gives you in the third or fourth round are a good value.
5 of 11Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
2009-10 Key Stats: 13.8 ppg | 7.7 rpg | 1.0 bpg | 1.4 spg Nene is a jack of all trades, master of none. But in fantasy basketball that's a great thing. He can't compete with the dominant rebounders at the center position, but he compensates with a great touch around the rim, and quick hands that net him at least a steal and block a game. Generating most of his stats without the ball in his hands, Nene won't hurt you in turnovers either (he averaged 1.5 a game last year). After the elite big men are off the board, he's a great pick up.
6 of 11Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
2009-10 Key Stats: 17.1 ppg | 9.3 rpg | 1.3 bpg | 1.8 apg By all measures a disappointment last season in Minnesota, the basketball gods granted Al Jefferson another chance when he was traded to the Utah Jazz in the offseason. Playing alongside Deron Williams should do wonders for Jefferson's offensive numbers, and you just have to wonder whether he can shed enough weight to restore his rebounding and blocks to an elite level. Still only 25, Jefferson deserves the benefit of the doubt. Let another owner give that benefit in the third round, and if he somehow manages to slip to you in the fourth he'll be the steal of the draft.
7 of 11Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images
2009-10 Key Stats: 17.9 ppg | 10.1 rpg | 1.5 bpg | 3.2 apg Tim Duncan is entering the tail end of his career, but he can still be a valuable contributor to your fantasy team. His numbers across the board have declined the past three seasons, and blocks and rebounds are usually the skills to fall most precipitously as a player ages. You also have to fear that Gregg Popovich will limit Duncan's minutes to keep him well rested for the playoffs. But it's not all doom and gloom. Duncan's numbers aren't going to fall of a cliff, and he's always been a good passer, which is a nice bonus stat from a big man. All that said, let someone else take him in the third or fourth round.
8 of 11Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images
2009-10 Key Stats: 17.2 ppg | 6.2 rpg | 1.4 bpg | 1.5 3PM Andrea Bargnani gives you a rare combination of skills at the center position. He doesn't rebound much, but he can block shots and hit three-pointers, something even Dirk Nowitzki isn't doing anymore. With Chris Bosh gone from Toronto, Bargnani will be asked to fill much of the scoring void. He'll unfortunately also be the object of numerous double teams, which may hurt his percentages. Even if his efficiency dips, Bargnani is well worth a third or fourth round pick.
9 of 11Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images
2009-10 Key Stats: 10.7 ppg | 11 rpg | 1.6 bpg | 2.1 apg Let other owners downgrade Joakim Noah because of Carlos Boozer's arrival in Chicago. Not only is Boozer expected to miss 12-15 games to start the season, the two should be able to blissfully coexist. Boozer has never been much of a defender, but his presence alone should free up Noah to float more and play as a weakside help defender, which means more blocks. With gritty defenders at a premium these days, Noah's defensive prowess makes him a great pick in the fourth or fifth round.
10 of 11Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images
2009-10 Key Stats: 14.6 ppg | 9.3 rpg | 1.6 bpg | 1 spg Like Nene in Denver, Marc Gasol's quick hands set him apart at the center position. Gasol nets at least a steal and a block a game to complement good rebounding numbers and a high field-goal percentage. With Hasheem Thabeet looking like a bust, Gasol should have little competition for minutes. If you miss out on Nene, grab this Gasol in fifth round and get similar production.
11 of 11Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images; Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images; Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images; Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images
Best of the Rest:
The center position has rarely been this deep. Paradoxically, blocks are still scarce, so you might want to add one of these big men in the later rounds. For the time being, Marcus Camby is the only healthy center on the Portland Trail Blazers. The return of Greg Oden and Joel Pryzbilla may complicate things, but for now Camby is a great source of rebounds, blocks and steals. That is until he gets hurt himself. Though he was inconsistent, Roy Hibbert made great strides last year. He averaged 11.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. With the frontcourt essentially to himself, Hibbert could see his numbers rise again. It looks like Andrew Bogut will be healthy to start the season. That's great news as before his injury, Bogut was one of the most dominant shot-blockers in the league. He may start slow, but he's worth the patience. Just 20 years old, Serge Ibaka is just beginning to realize his own potential. Last year he put up elite defensive numbers in only 18 minutes a game. It's scary to think what he could do if given more minutes.
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