Brad Daughtery. Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Jim Chones. Anderson Varajao. The Cleveland Cavaliers have a long history of talented centers, of big men manning the middle and either providing rim protection or interior scoring. For decades the most important position in the league was center, and while they didn’t produce any all-time greats they certainly contributed to the lineage of pivot men.
That legacy appears to have been renewed afresh with the addition of Jarrett Allen, the first Cavs true-center to make an All-Star Game since Ilgauskas in 2005. With Allen also under contract for another four seasons, he should continue to provide elite two-way production for the Cavs as they move from the cellar to the rooftop suite of the NBA.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a center rotation that is deep and star-powered. Does that mean that the Cavs have the best group in the NBA?
What is even more impressive is the depth the Cavs have built behind Allen. Kevin Love is a former All-Star and one of the league’s best stretch bigs. Robin Lopez is now the team’s third center and has been productive at numerous stops around the league. Evan Mobley is a defensive phenom and burgeoning offensive star with the size to play center.
That begs the question: given their star power and depth, do the Cavs have the best center rotation in the entire league? No one is suggesting that Allen is the best center in the league, not with two-time MVP Nikola Jokic or runner-up Joel Embiid out there, but neither of those teams have the depth that Cleveland does.
Let’s look at all the centers on the roster and see what makes them so successful, and then compare them to the rest of the league. Would the Cavs come out first?