Top free agent Centers and predicted landing spots
With the 2016 NBA Offseason soon approaching, MSFT will take a look at this years crop of free agent centers and their predicted landing spots, as well as how each player fits their team.
Hassan Whiteside- 14.2 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 3.7 BPG
Whiteside has seen his stock soar after the past 2 seasons, where teams will be lined up to offer the 7-footer a max deal. But Whiteside who has struggled in the past to find his niche in the NBA, has been able to do so over the past 2 seasons with the Miami Heat. But with rumors swirling that Miami is reluctant to sign Whiteside to a max-deal, the Lakers could swoop in and offer the big man the max praying him from Miami. The Lakers have a void at the center position, and desperately need a defensive anchor that Whiteside can fill and play alongside Julius Randle. Whiteside who will turn 27 before the season starts, will be hitting the peak of his prime during the duration of his contract.
Predicted Landing Spot: LA Lakers
Al Horford- 15.2 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 3.2 APG
Al Horford, who is coming off his fourth All-Star appearance is arguably the top two-way center on the open market, who could play either the four or five. Horford has shown his offensive versatility, a career 34% shooter from behind the arc and 34.4% last year after shooting a career high in threes (256). And after just turning 30, the big man is still in his prime and has a game that will age well. Cue in the Celtics, who will have money to spend in the offseason and with an aggressive GM in Danny Ainge looking to make a splash, Horford and the Celtics looks like a perfect match. Horford will help the C’s contend in the Eastern Conference Finals for years to come and be a veteran presence with playoff experience that will benefit in Beantown.
Predicted Landing spot: Boston Celtics
Joakim Noah- 4.3 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 3.8 APG
Noah who has only worn a Bulls jersey since being drafted 9th out of Florida, could find himself playing elsewhere this upcoming season. Noah, who’s 31, would bring another veteran presence to the young Timberwolves squad and could reunite with his former Bulls’ coach Tom Thibodeau. He’s no longer the defensive anchor he once was, but he doesn’t need to be with Karl Anthony-Towns around. And along with Kevin Garnett, he will bring a grit and grind mentality, as well as serving as another mentor on and off the court for the Timberwolves.
Predicted Landing spot: Minnesota Timberwolves
Dwight Howard- 13.7 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 1.6 BPG
Howard is no longer the perennial All-Star he once used to be, demonstrated by his lowest statistical year since his rookie season. But the big man can still play, and Dallas could be the perfect match for both teams. Since falling short of re-signing Tyson Chandler last season (blessing in disguise), the Mavericks were able to find a short-term solution in Zaza Pachulia who outplayed his expectations. But with Howard likely to opt-out and find a new team, he could look to join his buddy Chandler Parsons once again. Howard would benefit well with the Mavericks spacing, and will have more than enough space to operate from down low on the post and provide above-average defense in the middle. Howard isn’t the perennial All-Star that the Mavs have coveted, but he will be close to it.
Predicted Landing spot: Dallas Mavericks
Andre Drummond (Restricted)- 16.2 PPG, 14.8 RPG, 1.4 BPG
Andre Drummond was a mammoth on the boards last year, leading the league in rebounds (14.8). Drummond is the center piece of the Pistons, and made his first All-Star appearance in the 2015-16 season. But Drummond’s biggest drawback is his free-throw shooting, where he has seen his free throw percentage decrease over the past three seasons, shooting 41.8% in ’13-14, 38.9% in ’14-15, and 35.5% this past season. This has affected the Pistons, as we saw in the first round of the NBA playoffs, when coach Stan Van Gundy sat Drummond at the end of games to avoid the Cavaliers to use “Hack-a-Drummond.” Yet with that being his flaw, Drummond is still a monster on the boards and an anchor in the middle for the Pistons. Therefore I don’t see Stan Van Gundy watching Drummond walk, and will ink the big man to a max deal.
Predicted Landing spot: Detroit Pistons
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