Cousins has established himself as the top big man in the league over the past 13 months. He broke out in a big way last year posting averages of 24.1 and 12.7 to compliment his 3.6 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.7 blocks. He even pushed his FT% to close to 80%. He needs to cut down on turnovers and improve his shot selection as times, but overall Cousins is the player the Kings hoped he’d be.
He led the league in RPG (15.0) and FG% (71%) by a good margins last year while also averaging 2.2 blocks, a steal, and 11.5 points. Like so many on this list, he needs to improve at the line if he wants to stay on the court in close games. He is deadly in the pick and roll and there are few that finish at the rim with as much style and power.
He’s come out this season averaging almost 20-20, along with 1.9 SPG and 1.6 BPG, and as the focal point of Stan Van Gundy’s Pistons, it looks like it’s sustainable. Drummond may be at the top of this list by the end of the season. He’s young, strong, athletic, and a complete monster on the glass. And he’s still only 22! Like Jordan, he needs to improve at the line.
Gasol’s numbers are down across the board this season, but he’s still only 30 and still has a lot of basketball left in him. He’s the best passer at the position and the most consistent shooter outside of 15 feet. His defensive positioning has earned him one DPOY award and he’ll continue to anchor a stubborn Grizzly defense.
Stifle Tower mania has carried over from last season, when Gobert took the league by storm. Despite starting only 37 games for Utah last season he still finished 5th in the DPOY voting and has opened this season with more of the same for the stingy Jazz defense and averaging 3.4 BPG and 11.9 RPG. His offense needs to improve if he wants to move up in the rankings.
Noel had one of the more underrated seasons last year and didn’t get a ton of credit. His 1.8 SPG and 1.9 BPG fit him in the Hakeem Olajuwon mold as elite in both categories. He’s a project on offense still and will be mostly used diving to the rim and cleaning up the offensive glass, but his defense is so superior he still ranks high.
Whiteside has shown early this season that he may be a little better offensively than most people thought. Everyone knows about his defense and shot blocking ability (11.4 RPG/3.9 BPG so far this season), but his 15 PPG has been a pleasant surprise.
Monroe is coming into his own with the young Bucks. He is scoring more than ever and is a strong rebounder. Not an elite shot blocker, Monroe will need to work on that if he aspires to climb this list and make an All-Star team. Still Monroe has a good chance to develop into a legitimate 20-10 guy.
It’s crazy to think that Dwight has fallen so far down this list, but he has played in only 45 of the Rockets last 89 games, averaging fewer than 30 minutes per game for the first time in his career, and just hasn’t looked like the dominant Center he once was. Now in his 12th season, you have to wonder if he will ever climb back up this list.
Now that Lopez looks healthy again, his averages are back to All-Star level numbers and he is hovering around the 20-10 benchmark. Playing for the lowly Nets is going to be tough, but Lopez’s low post scoring ability and rebounding will continue to be a bright spot.