The first decade of the new millennia is arguably one of the weakest for the center position in the NBA. Gone were the epic battles between legendary centers, in was an era with a lot of six-foot- ten power forwards who were converted to the center spot. However, with all that there still were some fantastic centers which made up the past decade. Here now, are the ten best centers from 1999 until 2009.
1) Shaquille O’Neal 1 time MVP. 4 time NBA Champion 3 time All-star MVP.
Shaq is really a no brainer here. He is arguably the most dominant big man to ever play the game. As a hold over from the 90s, when there was epic center battles, Shaq has the credo to warrant this selection here. Add to that he was named one of the fifty greatest players to ever play the game has lead the Lakers to three NBA titles and the Heat to one and he is easily the greatest center of the decade.
2) Yao Ming
Yao may come as bit of a surprise here, but the seven-foot-six Chinese center has a lofty resume. He helped turn the Rockets from hopelessness into a playoff team. Though he has yet to see any success in the playoffs.
3) Dwight Howard
The likely candidate to be the successor to the best center of the decade in the 2010s, Howard has been a monster since joining the NBA. He has twenty-three 20/20 games to his credit and he is only 23 years old. He has also lead the NBA in blocks and rebounds the past two years.
4) Jermaine O’Neal
Injuries have really hurt his career; without them he could easily be the second best center of the decade. When he has been healthy he made Indiana a legit threat in the playoffs. If it wasn’t for a team effort by the Pistons, he could have lead Indiana to the finals in 04; and who knows possibly an NBA championship.
5) David Robinson 2 time NBA Champion.
Robinson coat tailed two NBA championships with Tim Duncan, and most of his individual success, such as an MVP and DPOTY, came in the 90s. Despite all that, the Admiral was able to become a key cog in the Spurs machine of the early 2000s.
6) Zydrunas Illgauskas
Sometimes the forgotten star on the Cavs, Big Z is one of only two players, the other being Brevin Knight, who remain from the Cavs playoff appearance before Lebron James. He has battled injuries but still was able to make two all-star squads and help the Cavs make the NBA finals in 2007.
7) Ben Wallace 1 time NBA Champion 4 time DPOTY
Big Ben has hardly any offense, and he was undrafted coming out of college, yet he helped lead the Pistons to an improbable NBA championship in 2004 and is one of the best pure defensive players to ever play in the NBA. He is tied with Dikembe Mutombo for the most DPOTY awards in NBA history with four.
8) Vlade Divac
Many people forget about Vlade, but he was key in the playoff runs of the Kings in the early part of the decade. Arguably one of the best passing big men in the history of the game, Divac helped get the Kings within a game of the NBA finals in 2003. He was also an NBA all-star in 2001.
9)Marcus Camby DPOTY
One of the most underrated players of the decade. For year Marcus Camby anchored the defense for the defensively hapless Denver Nuggets. He was DPOTY in 2006-07 and lead the NBA in blocks four times.
10) Dikembe Mutombo DPOTY
A long time NBA veteran who has survived nearly two decades of the physical grind of NBA basketball, Mount Mutombo has become one of the more dominating defensive presences in the NBA. He helped the Sixers make the NBA finals in 2001, and played for the Nets in the finals in 2003. Many have forgotten his defensive impact over the years, but in the first three years of the decade he was one of the best.