2013 NBA Draft: Top Centers

Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga

As a first-year starter, Olynyk has transformed his game as well as his draft prospects. Olynyk has gotten stronger and now not only can face up and shoot it but also battle for position down low.

There may not be another center in America with Olynyk’s range and offensive versatility. The Zags center is shooting over 64 percent from the field, 40 from the arc and nearly 80 percent from the line. There is marked improvement in Olynyk’s post game this season, which may be why Gonzaga has been so good.

Defensively, Olynyk is not afraid to be physical but lacks the athleticism to be an elite shot-blocker. His greatest defensive strength is his ability to move laterally as he appears to be a solid pick-and-roll defender.

Come draft night, Olynyk has moved himself into position to be a top-20 pick.

Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville

Even though the Cardinals center is 23, he belongs on this list. Watch any game in which Dieng is healthy and you will see a player that shows up on the defensive end.

Dieng is nearly averaging a double-double, but most of his points come from tip-ins and dunks. His ability to alter and block shots will have tremendous value late in the first round and it would be surprising to see him slip further.

 

 

Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky

There is not much to say so far about Cauley-Stein, who has been solid this season for the Wildcats but overshadowed by his teammates, including Noel. However, NBA teams are salivating over Cauley’s athleticism and mobility.

Cauley has begun to string together good performances and now has been thrust into replacing Noel in the starting lineup. Before Noel’s injury, UK coach John Calipari might have had a chance to keep Cauley for his sophomore season. But stepping into the limelight for the remainder of the year should springboard the center into the late first round, possibly even somewhere in the lottery.

Mike Muscala, C, Bucknell

Aside from Olynyk, there might not be another center in America that has seen his stock improve as greatly as Muscala. The four-year senior has been consistently impacting games both offensively and on the boards.

Muscala does everything offensively for the Bison from posting up opponents to stepping out to hit the occasional 3-pointer. His offensive efficiency is quite impressive,  including a robust PER.

Defensively, Muscala is not a great athlete but does average nearly three swats a game due to his length. Additionally, he works very hard on the glass. Based on production alone, Muscala warrants heavy consideration by teams drafting in the bottom half of the first round.

RELATED: Top Point Guards | Shooting Guards | Small Forwards | Power Forwards | Top 10 Euro Prospects

Joe Kotoch is the Editor-in-Chief of Pro Basketball Draft, a leading scouting service in the world of professional basketball. Before Joe created PBD, he served as an NBPA & FIBA certified agent and scouted players all across the world. Born and raised in Cleveland, Joe also contributes to Fox Sports Ohio and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. You can follow Joe on Twitter @Probballdraft.

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  1. stepxxxxz says

    interesting analysis. I think Cauley Stein is being woefully undervalued right now. He hasnt played much, but neither did kyrie irving. WCS has unreal speed up and down the court…….really just exceptional speed for a big man, and he is learning as he plays. He also figures to fill out — and honestly, much as I like Olynyk, I see Stein as second only to Noel. Id rate Dieng higher too, honestly. He is a stronger larry sanders….though maybe not as mobile. But Dieng is a big big big kid. Big hands, strong, and guys have just stopped trying to drive past him. I think he is deserving of top twenty, and CAuley stein of top thirteen.,

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