Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
As in past articles describing the difference between good "fantasy" point guards, shooting guards and small forwards and good "real life" point guards, shooting guards and small forwards, the same holds true at the power forward position.
In the fantasy world, it's not about winning games and championships, it's about a player's statistics helping you to fantasy titles.
Being great in the eight fantasy categories (PPG, RPG, APG, SPG, BPG, FG%, 3PT%, FT%) is more important to the fantasy owner than winning games. Of course, if a player is good in all the categories he is probably helping his team win instead of hurting it, so indirectly there is going to be a correlation between a good fantasy player and a winning basketball team, but it is not a guarantee.
Both New Jersey Nets C Brook Lopez and former Minnesota C Al Jefferson are very good fantasy players, yet neither of which helped their team win many games last season.
Today, we are looking at the top fantasy centers.
Amare Stoudemire, New York Knicks - Stoudemire loves to run the floor and under Mike D'Antoni in Phoenix posted some of his best statistical seasons. Reunited with D'Antoni in New York and with very little firepower around him, Stoudemire should post "monster numbers" - as in 25 ppg, 10 rpg.
Dwight Howard, Orlando - If Howard could just shoot 70% from the free throw line, he'd be the runaway winner at the center position. He does everything else well, ok, not three-point shooting, but he more than makes up for it by leading the league in rebounds (13.2), blocked shots (2.8) and field goal percentage 61.2%. Add in his 18.3 ppg from last season and the fact that he's missed just three games in six seasons and you have a fantasy stud. He's been working on his game with Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing this summer, so expect an even better Howard in 2010.
Brook Lopez, New Jersey - Lopez added almost six points to his scoring average in his sophomore season (13.0-to-18.8) and should continue to improve this year. He has also added passing to his repertoire, increasing from just 1.0 apg in 2008 to 2.3 apg last season. He and Devin Harris are the anchors to this very young Nets team who will look up to them for leadership and scoring. A 20-10 season is a good possibility.
Chris Bosh, Miami - Bosh has been a 22-10 guy in three of the past four seasons as "the man" in Toronto. That won't be the case in Miami where he'll probably play as the third option behind Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. On the other hand, with the other big men in Miami being Joel Anthony and rookies Dexter Pittman and Jarvis Varnado, Bosh will have to be the force on the boards. Concentrating more on the glass and less on scoring, I'm expecting a line like 18 ppg and 12 rpg for the Heat center.
Al Jefferson, Utah - After being traded from Boston to Minnesota, Jefferson saw enough court time to become a valuable fantasy property. Playing about 34 minutes-per-game, Jefferson posted 21-11 average in two of the last three seasons. The Timberwolves traded him to Utah where his scoring and rebounding should replace Carlos Boozer who signed with Chicago. With one of the best pure point guards in the league to feed him, Deron Williams, he should continue to post excellent fantasy statistics. Boozer scored 19.5 ppg last season with 11 rpg and Jefferson should be able to match those numbers.
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