Assessing Value of Modern Centers

I had Wendell Carter Jr. below Marvin Bagley III on my draft board, and am pretty sure I was wrong.

My main concern with Carter was that there was no feasible way for him to cement himself as an top-10 center. I ascribe to the Dunc’d on philosophy, outlined in their most recent center rankings. They said that it only worth paying the best centers, and that the gulf in talent between the 15th and the 30th best center is not worth its price difference.

To me, Carter seemed like a candidate to be something like the 15th best center in the league, but not much more. I decided I valued Bagley’s high, albeit unlikely ceiling more.

In my article that went up today on Sir Charles, I advocated that Wizards pull off a sign-and-trade for Derrick Favors, even though it would cost more money and assets than trading for Dewayne Dedmon.

I thought I agreed with Duncan and Leroux. I usually do. But I advocated for the Wizards to use significantly more resources to acquire probably like the 12th best center instead of the 23rd.

This contradicted their theory, and made me realize that I would add an addendum to their rule.

Even if a center is not one of the best ten in the league, being able to shoot threes and switch on the perimeter transcend this rule. Players who can do this provide a unique contribution to a team that is invaluable in a pick-and-roll heavy league.

While Dedmon is a better shooter, Favors has shown the ability to switch onto smaller players, and the difference felt like it was worth it to me.

I still agree that if you just want your center to set screens, roll, rebound, and protect the rim, it doesn’t matter as much who you have doing this. However, the modern big man skills are still worth spending big money on. Modern big men who can defend the perimeter unlock lineups in the playoffs. Shooting big men make their teammates’ jobs easier on offense.

I am going to flip my draft rankings posthumously to put Carter at #6 and Bagley at #7. Even if he is never an All-Star, Carter’s blend of perimeter defense and shooting could make him worth a hefty second contract, even if he never becomes an elite center.

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