The center position will be in good hands with either Dwight Howard or Al Horford in the New York Knicks’ starting lineup.
With that said, let’s take a look at which player New York’s front office should consider.
Selected by the Orlando Magic as the No. 1 overall selection in the 2004 NBA draft, Dwight Howard was projected to be the next Shaquille O’Neal. Unfortunately for Howard, it has been nothing but a Dwightmare since his unorthodox methods got him traded in 2012.
Critics have described Dwight’s inability to perform like a top-tier center as nothing but a lack of effort on both ends of the court.
He hasn’t proven to be a threat defensively when guards drive to the basket, regardless of his muscle tone and body strength. Offensively, he hasn’t demonstrated footwork that could allow him to maximize his potential in the post.
However, surrounded by Phil Jackson, nine-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony, and the promising Kristaps Porzingis, Howard could excel. He could even become the type of player the NBA community knows he can be.
In the 2015-16 season, Dwight Howard averaged 13.7 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.6 blocks, and 1.0 steals in 32.1 minutes per game.
For his length and body build, Howard has been playing on teams who rely heavily on him to be the main rim protector. Porzingis is dubbed PorzinGod is because of his demeanor and ability to block shots, stop drives to the basket, and protect the rim.
Howard and Porzingis’ respective wingspans would be an invitation to all guards for a driving lane block party.
When Robin Lopez was traded, a major concern in Knicks nation became replacing a center who could rebound well. Howard averaged 11.8 rebounds in the 2015-2016 NBA season.
If you remember well, a big part of the Knicks campaign that ended in 54 season wins was due to second-chance opportunities provided by Tyson Chandler.
A versatile player, consistent night in and night out, whose ability to shoot from beyond the 3 point line makes him an ideal center in today’s league.
While both Al Horford and Dwight Howard are 30 years old, some consider Howard’s career to be steadily declining. Horford, on the other hand, is considered by many a contributor who just recently reached his potential.
In the 2015-16 season, Al Horford averaged 15.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.5 blocks, and 0.8 steals, while shooting 34 percent from beyond the 3-point line in 32.1 minutes per game.
While his rebounding numbers don’t compare to Howard’s, Horford is a better shooter and a better scorer when you consider that Howard’s resume includes Hack-A-Howard. Seriously, you’ll never see Dwight taking or making a 3 point shot.
Thankfully for Horford, he averages the same number of rebounds for the 2015-2016 season as Robin Lopez did.
Horford’s season assists averages have also been on the rise, as well. Let us recognize that Dwight has been playing in a one-on-one type of situations, while Horford has been able to contribute to a team that has developed ball movement as their main way of scoring.
This is ideal in a five-man unit that needs to develop chemistry and not rely completely on individual skill.
Both of these centers would do well in New York. However, knowing that there are more than a few positions that need to be filled, perhaps Joakim Noah would be a viable option as the starting center.
All three options would pave the way for Guillermo Hernangomez to come off the bench and see some decent minutes.