Best Draft Prospects: Center
(Note: Most heights and weights are from the draft combine, with fractions rounded up. For the complete list of official measurements, click here .) One NBA front-office man described him as a "project" after a season in which Drummond was inconsistent during the Huskies' disappointing title defense, which ended with his two-point, three-rebound performance in a first-round loss to Iowa State in the NCAA tournament. But the combination of his size and elite athleticism has teams wondering if he could become a hybrid of the Lakers' Andrew Bynum and the Magic's Dwight Howard. Like both players, he is a force on defense at a young age but has a long way to go offensively. Drummond, a potential top-five pick, can run the floor like a guard, he's a natural passer and he can step out for mid-range jumpers.
The ACC Player of the Year is far closer to solid than he is spectacular, but the well-rounded offensive game, smarts and consistency could make him a lottery pick. Zeller improved every year, averaging 16.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks as a senior.
The finished product isn't pretty just yet, but Leonard did more than enough in his sophomore season to put him near the top of most teams' big-man rankings. He can be imposing on defense with his rare combination of athleticism, size and increasing strength. His offense is raw, but Leonard is capable of hitting the mid-range shot and his post game has improved. He averaged 13.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks for Illinois after a freshman season in which he barely played.
His size and shot-blocking (2.9 per game) have turned him into a likely mid-to-late first-round pick. Otherwise, his rebounding is not what it could be and his offensive game is incredibly raw. Big men tend to crawl up the board as draft day nears, though, and some see Melo as a possible lottery pick.
Ezeli started slowly as a senior because of a suspension for accepting improper benefits and a sprained knee, and his numbers fell slightly across the board from his breakout junior season. But he could still be a first-round pick because of his size, quickness and shot-blocking ability. Ezeli could have plenty of untapped potential: The Nigeria native is a late bloomer who averaged fewer than 13 minutes per game as a freshman and sophomore and fewer than 24 as a junior and senior.
Plumlee's biggest asset is his rebounding ability; he averaged 7.1 per game in only 20.5 minutes as a senior, including 2.9 on the offensive glass. He's reportedly improved his stock with strong pre-draft workouts.
O'Quinn may not make the first-round cut, but he has improved his stock significantly in recent months. First he was the classic March Madness darling, getting 26 points and 14 rebounds to lead No. 15 Norfolk State past No. 2 Missouri in the first round. O'Quinn kept it going in April at a heavily scouted tournament for college seniors, the Portsmouth Invitational, where he was named MVP and showed off the skills that helped him average 15.9 points and 10.3 rebounds as a senior.
Sims, who possesses good size, length and passing ability for a big man, has worked himself into second-round consideration after a productive senior season that followed three years of playing sparingly.
The Iowa State transfer made the All-SEC second team last season, averaging 12.9 points and 7.2 rebounds in 30 minutes per game. Hamilton, a 7-footer who can run the floor and step out and hit jumpers, will get a look as a second-round pick or training-camp invitee.
James won't be your average rookie if he makes an NBA team: He's already 27, having served six years in the Air Force (including three deployments to the Middle East) before spending two years at Tallahassee Community College and another two as a defensive anchor and high-percentage shooter down low for Florida State. If he goes undrafted, James could get a look as a training-camp invitee thanks to his strength, athleticism and shot-blocking ability.