One of the great myths of the NBA is that there is a whole slew of magical 7 foot tall beings whose lone purpose on this planet is to block shots and dunk on anyone and everyone that gets in their way. Wolves fans have been bemoaning the teams apparent lack of a "true" center for quite some time, so lets take a look at NBA centers.
Before anyone complains that player XYZ is really a PF, not a C (like Al Jefferson), all the names listed played major, if not a majority of, minutes at the center position on their respective teams. I used 82games.com to check out the top used 5-man lineups and whoever played the most minutes as a center is used in this comparison. I did this because I feel like people go into fantasy mode when discussing the center position and I thought it would be good to base this post in the real world NBA, not the NBA that exists in each individual persons mind. I know, I know, it's no fun when facts overrule fantasy, but here we go...
I broke the players down by height and a rough tier system from All-Star level, definite starter and on down to end of bench filler and unproven youngins' here is how it shakes out:
|Al Jefferson||Dwight Howard||Yao Ming|
|Al Horford||Chris Bosh||Zydrunus Ilgauskas|
|Emeka Okafor||Shaquille O'Neal|
|Tyson Chandler||Roy Hibbert|
|David Lee||Tim Duncan|
|Kendrick Perkins||Pau Gasol||Hasheem Thabeet|
|Glen Davis||Rasheed Wallace|
|Luis Scola||Brook Lopez|
|Paul Millsap||Andrew Bogut|
|Chris Anderson||Andrew Bynum|
|Ronny Turiaf||Brad Miller|
|Zaza Pachulia||Samuel Dalembert|
|Brandon Bass||Jermaine O'Neal|
|Jason Maxiel||Mehmet Okur|
|Mareese Speights||Joel Pryzbilla|
|Udonis Haslem||Chris Kaman|
|Darius Songaila||Spencer Hawes|
|Nick Collison||Marcin Gortat|
|Fabricio Oberto||Marc Gasol|
|Chris Wilcox||Joakim Noah|
|Tim Thomas||Greg Oden|
|Joel Anthony||Desagana Diop|
|Josh Boone||Nenad Kristic|
|DeJuan Blair||Brendan Haywood|
Notice the plethora of 6'11" - 7'1" players that fall in the (completely subjective) rotation player/situational player category. I'm including everyone after Greg Oden as rotation player or lower. The way I see it, the Wolves have a Tier I in Jefferson and Tier II (potential Tier I) in Love who both fall in the 6'8"-6'10" range. Outside of Tier I players in the 6'11"-7'1" category (and we are talking All-Star and HOF players here), the only players who could REALISTICLLY help the Wolves rotation while providing extra height would be players in Tier II of 6'11"-7'1" players. This means, in the parameters presented, we are talking about 16 players total. Let me repeat, 16 players total.
With this in mind, who is a "true" center who is long, athletic and all the other criteria fans are always talking about that the Wolves could get, wouldn't have to over pay for and wouldn't take minutes from (or cost us in a trade) our two best players?