The Trailblazers have mentioned on multiple occasions recently that one of their top 2 goals this off-season is a Center. They have made it clear they don't want to break the bank but there are a few different solid options the team could pursue. So whose really available in this years free agent market? My rankings are below the jump.
Less than 2 months until the summer free agent signing frenzy of 2012 begins and it's time to start analyzing the prospects and ranking the best at their respective positions.
1. Javale McGee
An elite defensive big man when focused and an above average offensive threat in the post. He's been questioned for his boneheaded play in Washington but his strong games against Andrew Bynum in the playoffs are crafting a new identity for this young man that will get him a massive contract this off-season. If he can get his head together for a full season he can be a clear cut All-Star soon and a top 5 center in the league.
Pros-Elite defender, elite shot-blocker, elite rebounder, long arms, solid 7'
Cons-Intelligence, play making, refined offensive moves
2. Brook Lopez
This extremely talented man has rarely been mentioned this year relating to his play and not his injuries, but Brook Lopez is clearly the most offensively gifted center in this years free agency. His poor rebounding may be in part because of playing next to rebounding stud Kris Humphries.
Pros-Elite offensive big man, draws double teams constantly, solid 7', good athleticism
Cons-Poor rebounder, weak passing skills
3. Roy Hibbert
A BIG man who was questionably named to the All-Star team this year for being a leader on a star-less Indiana Pacers team. He's finally developed into a great player but still has a lot he can improve on. Along with the 2 names on the list above him, he has the potential to be a top 5 center in the NBA in the near future. Doing well in the playoffs isn't hurting his contract size either.
Pros-Massive 7'2" frame, elite defender, solid shot blocker, All-Star
Cons-Unproven, refined offensive skills, foul prone
4. Spencer Hawes
A young and talented center who is one of only a few that can put up a legitimate triple double but was limited in minutes and games this year. Could really have a great year this next season with a full season of health and more minutes.
Pros-7'1", passing, ambidextrous, face the basket game
Cons-Physicality, strength, athleticism
5. Chris Kaman
A solid veteran center who wasn't really given a fair shot to play in New Orleans because they decided to sit him while they tried to shop him and then he had an injury. He could really be a steal to whatever team gets him because if healthy and starting he could quite possibly put up numbers back in the 15ppg and 8rb or more range. He's a definitely a sleeper in the free agency discussion but he's an extremely talented center who could help take a struggling playoff team to another level.
Pros-7', active around basket, rebounding, runs floor well, offensive skills, ft %, defensive impact, All-Star
Cons-BBIQ, age(30), health
6. Marcus Camby
A veteran in the league that's still putting up good numbers and isn't ready to retire just yet. He's a weak defender who can be overpowered but he'll block a lot of shots and grab rebounds to typically make up for it. On offense his only contributions are rebounding and very good passing in a high-low situation. You know what you'll get when you sign this 38 year old.
Pros-Rebounding, shot blocking, passing, defensive reputation
Cons-Strength, offensive skills, age, health
7. Jason Thompson
A good young big man that could really explode onto the scene next year in a new situation. He's got some size, skills, and lots of potential. Expect a smart team to pick him up for a cheaper contract.
Pros-Athleticism, length, mobility
Cons-Foul prone, unproven
8. Jordan Hill
A pretty unproven young man but he's playing well for the Lakers in the playoffs and has opened more than a few eyes. He's always had potential but he just hasn't fulfilled it yet, maybe next year is his year if he gets the playing time.
Pros-Physicality, rebounding, strength
Cons-Unproven, a little raw, undersized
9. Ian Mahinmi
A strong and long big man with some upside who has posted solid per-minute numbers. Look for him to have a break out year in 2012-2013.
Pros-Length, athleticism, rebounding
Cons-Offensive skills, talent
10. Robin Lopez
He's had the potential since he came into this league and he's been given plenty of opportunities with the Suns but he just hasn't really progressed. He still has the skills to make a drastic improvement next year but don't be surprised if the Suns don't match a good sized contract offer.
Pros-7', athleticism, size, mobility, physicality, defensive minded
Cons-Offensive skills, foul prone still, BBIQ
Other Notable: Ronny Turiaf, Aaron Gray, Mehmet Okur, Omer Asik, Joel Pryzbilla
I personally think that anyone in the top 7 other than Marcus Camby could really help this team next season. Thompson, Hawes, and Kaman likely won't break the bank but they could really put up some great numbers with the Trailblazers. I hope I'm not too off with the analysis of each player and if I am then "my bad".
Who would you like/or think the Trailblazers will pursue this summer?