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1. Marcus Camby, DEN - 9.0 points, 14.2 rebounds, 3.7 blocks, 1.1 steals Camby has been amazing this year and for the second straight season (and only the third time in his career) is on pace to play in over 70 games. This has been a big deal for Camby fantasy owners in the past because he has always had the talent, but has ended up being fantasy basketball's version of the NFL's Fred Taylor. With his health being a strength now, Camby has moved into the top spot at the fantasy center position for the first time in his career.
Why He's Been Valuable : Well, it's not really that hard to figure out. Camby is the second best rebounder in the league at an absurd 14.2 per game, and is the leading shot blocker in the NBA at 3.7 per contest. Those are amazing numbers and makes him completely unique in fantasy basketball. No other player puts up numbers in both categories at once like this.
What's Holding Him Back? : His scoring is pretty paltry and actually is quite unusually low considering that he plays 34.4 minutes per game. It is not bad field goal shooting or terrible free throw shooting that holds back his scoring. Instead, it is Camby's lack of aggressiveness on offense, along with Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson dominating the ball every possession of the game.
Outlook for the Rest of the Year : It is hard to believe that Camby will keep up these phenomenal rebounding and shot blocking numbers considering that he has not blocked shots at this rate in 10 years and has never averaged more than 12 rebounds per game. I would d look for his numbers to decrease but he still will be a top 3 fantasy center. If you have him, pray for health and don't deal him at all.
2. Yao Ming, HOU - 21.3 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, 86.6% FT Yao has been a pretty big disappointment this year for fantasy owners and is once again not living up to his hype and potential. After a great year last season, it looked like Yao was ready to continue to build and start to become a dominating center. Well, he has regressed in several categories and has not been able to become a great passing center in Rick Adelman's system like many suspected.
Why He's Been Valuable : The guy does a lot of things really well. His scoring and rebounding are in the double-digits (only 17 players in the NBA are averaging a double-double). Yao is blocking over 2 balls per game, and his field goal percentages are extremely good, especially the free throw percentages (he's 15th in the league).
What's Holding Him Back? : He is not jumping out in a lot of categories like many of us have expected him to do. Yao's assists are at a career high (2.4), but it are not anywhere near the 3.5 to 4 that experts thought he would average in Rick Adelman's high post system. His scoring is down nearly 4 points from last year and his shooting is under 50% for the first time in five years.
Outlook for the Rest of the Year : If I had to pick one center to end up as the top fantasy center at the end of the season, it would be Yao. No center in the league has the complete package like Yao does and he should continue to build on his averages from the first third of the season. It would be nice if his blocks and assists could rise by the end of the year, but I would not expect a big boost for the rest of the season.
3. Amare Stoudemire, PHO - 21.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 58.4% FG It is hard to believe that Stoudemire is having a career year even though it is nowhere near the 26.0 ppg that he averaged in the '04-'05 season, but it may be the case this year. His scoring is still extremely good and he has raised his fantasy defense (because his actual defense is very poor) this year to new heights.
Why He's Been Valuable : His scoring is still the most impressive part of his fantasy repertoire, but his shot blocking ability is something of a surprise for fantasy owners this year. Stoudemire is one of the laziest defenders in the NBA, and yet, somehow this year has managed to find a way to block a career high 2.1 shots per game. He is also not killing your fantasy team by averaging a career low 2.1 turnovers per game and by making 58.4% of his field goal attempts.
What's Holding Him Back? : The guy still cannot utilize his size and athleticism to crash the boards. His 9.0 rebounds per game are ridiculously low for what he should be able to get. Stoudemire supporters will point out Shawn Marion's rebounding prowess for the reason, but anyone who actually watches Suns games knows that he is just more interested in running up the floor for scoring opportunities. If Stoudemire could ever channel his inner Moses Malone, he would be the best center in basketball.
Outlook for the Rest of the Year : I would expect Stoudemire to have a huge second half of the season. He will probably toil in the Suns experiments for the rest of the first half of the year, as they figure out a few ways to play different styles. However, he should become the focal point of the Suns offense as they move down the stretch. Expect Stoudemire to add a couple of points per game to his average.
4. Chris Kaman, LAC - 18.3 points, 14.1 rebounds, 2.9 blocks, 76.1% FT Where did this come from? Chris Kaman has been a monster so far this season. He is not just having a career year... (Read the full article here: Fantasy Midpoint: The Top 20 Centers)