Examining three high-profile bigs

Updated: February 4, 2010, 12:58 PM ET
By David Thorpe

Everyone knows that NBA teams always need more centers. There are simply fewer of them -- that can really play -- than any other position. That makes centers expensive -- unless you draft them. So teams do just that, sometimes taking players higher than they should in the hope that the player will turn out to be a starter at such a tough position to fill.

But it doesn't always work out. Sometimes a team will draft a player it feels is ready to fight against the biggest dudes in the league, only to find out that the player would rather float to the perimeter and loft jumpers and 3s. Other times the players just lack the toughness/physical abilities to handle the position.

Take a look at this list. In the past three drafts, here are the centers that are consistent starters (barring injuries): Greg Oden, Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Brook Lopez, Spencer Hawes and Kevin Love (kind of a hybrid center with Al Jefferson). Out of 90 first-round picks, only six turned out to be starting centers, and three of them play on bottom-six NBA teams. And while Love and Lopez look to be very good players, Hawes is still a question mark. So with that in mind, let's take a look at three guys whom NBA scouts hope can add to that list in a year or two.

Cole Aldrich, C, Kansas