FanPost

Who's the best Wolves' center ever

 

Alright, so this is straight up a repost of a comment that I made over at AWAW. See the post in reference here. While normally I'm not all that into reposting stuff like this, I figured that I spent all that time looking up these stats and that it's been very, very slow around here lately so I might as well repost it here so all y'all have something new to read about (even though it's really nothing that hasn't been discussed before).

So anyways, the post is talking about the greatest centers in Twolves' history (which everyone has been voting for Big Al). I personally don't view Big Al as a center, at least not anymore than KG was a center or Christian Laettner was a center for us. While it is true that Big Al played nearly exclusively at center (according to 82games) his first two seasons with us, it is also true that over the last 5 seasons KG was with he played 20%, 12%, 30%, 1%, and 10% of the team's minutes at center (which is as far back as 82games has data). That's 5854 minutes at center for Al in three seasons, 2889 minutes for KG in basically four seasons, which I guess is my way of strongly suggesting that either KG needs to be in the greatest Twolves center ever discussion OR perhaps more accurately that Big Al is a back to the basket PF who ended up guarding C's (and thus that's where his minutes get allocated) more than he is a center (same applies to KG). Please feel free to discuss in the comments below.

My comment at AWAW picks up after someone suggested that Stanley Roberts' lone season with us represented the best season ever by a Twolves' center.

Stanley Roberts as best ever? No way. Still gotta go with Rasho - solid play for a number of seasons. Decent scoring, rebounding, shot blocking, and defense. I guess the bigger point in all of this is how this 'best ever' series really highlights just how poor the center play and prospects for the Twolves has been throughout their history. I mean seriously, Darko's 24 games with us last year represents the sustained career historical highwater mark for Twolves centers (and no, I don't consider Big Al a center - well, not a true center. He's more of a hybrid 4 in the sense of loving to play close to the basket. If we consider Al a center then I think we need to consider KG one too, or even Christian Laettner who averaged 34.6 mpg, 17.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.1 bpg, 3.2 apg, and 3.7 pf while with us).

Back to looking at the 'true' centers - if we accept Rasho's time here as the career highwater mark for a center on the Timberwolves, we see that essentially Darko met that level last year with us (all of which is to illustrate just how low the bar has been for Twolves centers):
Darko last year - 25.6 mpg, 8.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 1.8 apg, 3.1 pf
Rasho's career with us - 23.9 mpg, 7.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.2 bpg, 1 apg, 3.1 pf

In terms of single season bests, well, again, it's not much to write home about:
Mark Blount, '06-07 - 31 mpg, 12.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, .7 bpg, .8 apg, 2.9 pf
Rasho, '02-03 - 30.4 mpg, 11.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 1.5 apg, 3.3 pf
Stacey King, '93-94 (only 18 games) - 28.7 mpg, 11.8 ppg, 6.1 rpb, 1.7 bpg, 1.1 apg, 3.2 pf
Sean Rooks, '94-95 - 30.1 mpg, 10.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg, .9 bpg, 1.2 apg, 2.6 pf
Randy Breuer, '89-90 - 26 mpg, 10.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 1.6 apg, 2.6 pf

You know, looking at all these single season highs makes me think two things - first, we've never had a truly great rebounding center (with perhaps the exception of a Starbury fueled Dean Garrett). Second, it should not be hard for Darko and Pekovic, over the next three years, to place their names at the top of both of these lists. In fact, if they don't I think we all should be very disappointed.

Main talking points:

- was Al really a center? If so, why did he fail to make it here (was it Love's fault for not being a better PF)?

- how atrociously bad has our center play historically been if Mark Blount has the best single season in Wolves' history? I mean...wow. Just....wow.

- does any of this context change or temper your expectations for Darko and Pekovic this season? I know for me it certainly does, at least in the sense that we've never really had a great rebounding center. As we've seen, we've had some journeymen centers who've been able to put up some points, but I would argue outside of Rasho we've never really had a well rounded (relatively speaking) offensive and defensive center who's been consistent and lasted for more than a season or two, and even Rasho wasn't a world beater but rather a steady compliment to other playmakers around him. I certainly hope Darko especially but also Pek can match Rasho's career contributions with us, and honestly I expect them to better them. They're just too talented and will get too much playing time to not better that very mediocre bar. We're talking (between the two), a 48 minute average of 15 ppg, 12 rpg, and 2-3 bpg, right?

- how much more do you hate Orlando for having landed both Shaq and Dwight via the draft. Stupid #1 picks.

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