NBA

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NBA nicknames that belonged on jerseys NBA's greatest nicknames that belonged on jerseys include Iceman, Admiral, Dream, Glove, Diesel, Answer, Tiny, Chief, Birdman, Superman and Dollar Bill /nba/lists/nicknames-jerseys-greatest-in-history-iceman-admiral-dream-glove-answer-diesel-tiny-chief-birdman-superman-dollar-bill-092313 http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/09/24/King-James-PI_20130924111302842_136_102.JPG
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NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 centers 20932026 Centers in need of a check-up Centers+in+need+of+a+check-up NBA

If Greg Oden was healthy, he'd be a top-five center in the NBA. At least we think so. Hard to say, since he's missed two-thirds of the Blazers' games since being drafted No. 1 overall in 2007. And since he's likely to miss a good chunk of this season while recovering from his latest knee surgery, Oden doesn't crack John Galinsky's top 10. The fact he's even considered speaks to the lack of depth at the position and the fragility of its practitioners. Which is why every center on this list gets a health check along with an overall evaluation. Because if you're not playing, it doesn't matter how good you are.

Sam Forencich - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-Intro_20101012214656_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-Intro_20101012214656_107_80.JPG
NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 centers 20938179 Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic Dwight+Howard%2C+Orlando+Magic NBA

Health check: He's Superman.

His post game remains raw, his free-throw shooting stinks and he may be too goofy for his own good. But dwelling on Howard's flaws can make you forget one important fact: At the age of 24 he is, by a wide margin, the best center in the world. It's not just that he's the most athletic 7-footer since Wilt and the game's premier rebounder and shot-blocker. It's also significant that he's missed just three games in six NBA seasons. That kind of durability, especially compared to his peers at the position, puts Howard in a class of his own.

Fernando Medina - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-1_20101012214656_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-1_20101012214656_107_80.JPG
NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 centers 20938181 Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls Joakim+Noah%2C+Chicago+Bulls NBA

Health check: He's fine. A little strange, maybe, but healthy.

Wait, Noah is the second-best center in the NBA? Really? Well, it does feel strange to rank him this high, especially given his offensive limitations and screwball shooting form. But with more talented centers coming off injuries, Noah may be the best of the rest. He averaged a double-double (10.7 ppg, 11.0 rpg) and was a dervish on defense. What separates him, however, are intangibles: his hustle, versatility, tenacity and, last but not least, his ability to irritate opponents. He's annoying but any team would love to have him.

Jesse D. Garrabrant - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-2_20101012214656_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-2_20101012214656_107_80.JPG
NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 centers 20938180 Brook Lopez, New Jersey Nets Brook+Lopez%2C+New+Jersey+Nets NBA

Health check: A bout of mono cost Lopez a spot on Team USA this summer, but he's back on the court for New Jersey.

Sure, Lopez put up nice numbers last season (18.8 ppg, 8.6 rpg) but the Nets lost 70 games, so how good could he really have been? That's a legitimate question to ask when any player is racking up stats on an awful team, but Lopez appears to be the real deal. He may never be great, simply because he's not an extraordinary athlete. But he has everything else you want in a center: good post moves, a soft shot, passing skills, a defensive presence, toughness and smarts. As New Jersey looks to improve, Lopez is the only untouchable guy on the roster.

Gary Dineen - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-3_20101012214656_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-3_20101012214656_107_80.JPG
NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 centers 20947001 Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks Al+Horford%2C+Atlanta+Hawks NBA

Health check: Clean bill of health.

On some teams, Horford would be a power forward, and a really good one. On the vertically challenged Hawks, he's a slightly undersized center at 6-10 and 245 pounds. But for the most part, he more than holds his own. How? He's a good athlete, he plays hard and he gets the most out of his talent. There are few true centers who cause him matchup problems. Just the guy in Orlando.

Kevin C. Cox - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-4_20101012214656_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-4_20101012214656_107_80.JPG
NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 centers 20947000 Nene, Denver Nuggets Nene%2C+Denver+Nuggets NBA

Health check: Appears to be recovered from leg problems that kept him out of the FIBA World Championship.

Before spraining his left knee in Game 5 of the playoff series loss to the Jazz, Nene had played in every game for the Nuggets last season and was establishing himself as one of the best all-around centers in the league. Though his rebounding could be better, he's big and athletic and rarely takes a bad shot. He's also one of the most unselfish and toughest players on a Denver roster that badly needs both traits.

Garrett W. Ellwood - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-5_20101012214656_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-5_20101012214656_107_80.JPG
NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 centers 20932045 Chris Kaman, Los Angeles Clippers Chris+Kaman%2C+Los+Angeles+Clippers NBA

Health check: Missed most of 2008-09 season with several injuries but has been relatively healthy since.

It's easy to overlook Kaman in a discussion of top centers. He's not flashy. You rarely see him in highlights. And hey, he plays for the Clippers. But it's hard to sniff at 18.5 points and 9.3 rebounds, Kaman's averages last season. Though he's useless in transition, Kaman is effective on both ends of the floor in a halfcourt game. Blake Griffin's emergence might reduce Kaman's stats but make the Clippers relevant. If so, people may notice that Kaman is pretty darn good.

Andrew D. Bernstein - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-6_20101012215646_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-6_20101012215646_107_80.JPG
NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 centers 20932043 Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee Bucks Andrew+Bogut%2C+Milwaukee+Bucks NBA

Health check: Recovering from broken hand, dislocated elbow and sprained right wrist.

Bogut was injured in this gruesome fall against the Suns, cutting short a season in which he was beginning to live up to expectations as the No. 1 pick in 2005. Averaging 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds, he was arguably the second-best center in the league when he got hurt. He could regain that status this season but that's no sure thing. He hasn't played yet in the preseason and admitted recently that his arm won't be 100 percent all season. If that's true, he can still be a good center but not an elite one.

Kevin C. Cox - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-7_20101012215646_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-7_20101012215646_107_80.JPG
NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 centers 20932044 Al Jefferson, Utah Jazz Al+Jefferson%2C+Utah+Jazz NBA

Health check: Healthy. Sort of.

By "sort of," we mean Jefferson hasn't been the same player since tearing his right ACL two seasons ago. At the time, he was averaging 23.1 points and 11.0 rebounds for the Timberwolves. Last season those numbers dipped to 17.1 and 9.3. With less mobility, his defense also got worse and he stifled Minnesota's attempts to get out and run, so the team was happy to deal him away for draft picks. Still, don't write off Jefferson, who's only 25 and still one of the best pure low-post players in the game. It often takes players two years to return to form after a major knee injury. And he should thrive playing with Deron Williams in Utah's structured offense.

Melissa Majchrzak - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-8_20101012215646_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-8_20101012215646_107_80.JPG
NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 centers 20932046 Yao Ming, Houston Rockets Yao+Ming%2C+Houston+Rockets NBA

Health check: Missed last season with a fractured left foot.

At the peak of his powers, Yao is the only player with the size and skills to challenge Dwight Howard as the NBA' s top center. But even though he should be in his prime at age 30, Yao's career has been jeopardized by a series of foot injuries the past four years. The Rockets plan to preserve their star by limiting him to 24 minutes per game. If that helps him avoid further injury, it's a good move. He can still help Houston by playing half of every game. But it's hard to rank a part-time player any higher than this.

Bill Baptist - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-9_20101012215648_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-9_20101012215648_107_80.JPG
NBA 73 43 2010-11 NBA preview: Top 10 centers 20943009 Andrew Bynum, Los Angeles Lakers Andrew+Bynum%2C+Los+Angeles+Lakers NBA

Health check: Recovering from offseason knee surgery. Likely to miss at least a month of regular season.

At 22, Bynum is still more about potential than performance. He has been dominant at times thanks to his size and soft hands, but he's also suffered knee injuries each of the last three seasons. The Lakers have won two straight titles with Bynum in a limited role, but their long-term prospects depend on him becoming a franchise center. After all, they're already paying him like one.

Andrew D. Bernstein - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-10_20101012215646_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/10/12/101210-Top-10-Centers-Gallery-SW-10_20101012215646_107_80.JPG
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http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/11/08/110813-FOXiest-NBA-OB-PI_2013110814221540_136_102.JPG Who has the FOXiest NBA fans? Take a look at the FOXiest fans in the NBA. Take a look at the FOXiest fans in the NBA. The NBA really is fan-tastic, at least when it comes to these hotties. Nov 9, 2013 2:03 PM ET 1 1 /nba/lists/FOXiest-female-basketball-NBA-fans-100212
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2012/12/02/wallace2_20121202145912105_136_102.JPG Most Embarrassing Sports Records Most Embarrassing Sports Records Most Embarrassing Sports Records Most Embarrassing Sports Records Oct 1, 2013 7:23 AM ET 1 1 /boxing/lists/Most_Embarrassing_Sports_Records
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/08/22/lebron_20130822185914529_136_102.JPG NBA players on summer vacation NBA players on summer vacation NBA players on summer vacation NBA players on summer vacation Sep 30, 2013 4:03 PM ET 1 1 /nba/lists/nba-summer-vacation-miami-heat-lebron-james-los-angeles-lakers-kobe-bryant-092713
http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/09/24/King-James-PI_20130924111302842_136_102.JPG NBA nicknames that belonged on jerseys NBA's greatest nicknames that belonged on jer... NBA's greatest nicknames that belonged on jerseys include Iceman, Admiral, Dream, Glove, Diesel, Answer, Tiny, Chief, Birdman, Superman and Dollar... We've put some of the most famous nicknames in NBA history on game threads and ask you if you can figure out who the player is. They aren't all this easy. Sep 24, 2013 2:50 PM ET 1 1 /nba/lists/nicknames-jerseys-greatest-in-history-iceman-admiral-dream-glove-answer-diesel-tiny-chief-birdman-superman-dollar-bill-092313