Euroleague Power Rankings: Centers
RealGM presents the ultimate positional rankings of the Euroleague's best players. In this fifth edition, RealGM ranked the elite centers from one to ten.
1. Nenad Krstic (CSKA Moscow, Russia)
Statistics in 2011-12 (Euroleague): 14.2 points, 5.5 rebounds.
Nenad Krstic's return to Russia made CSKA Moscow a dominant power in the Euroleague last season. Krstic was barely stoppable on the offensive end, averaging an impressive 14.2 points per game. As the centerpiece of CSKA, Andrei Kirilenko gone, Krstic role is even more important as he's been very consistent so far this season. Two very successful seasons with CSKA will make Krstic the number one center in Europe on the open market in the summer.
2. Erazem Lorbek (FC Barcelona Regal, Spain)
Statistics in 2011-12 (Euroleague): 13 points, 4.6 rebounds.
Erazem Lorbek's past couple of career years serves a reminder of his inconsistencies. After a rusty 2010-11 season, Lorbek demonstrated an MVP worth game during his contract year and played his way into a new three-year deal with FC Barcelona Regal. However, as Lorbek secured his future until 2015, his numbers went down along with his impact on team results.
3. Ioannis Bourousis (EA7 Emporio Armani Milan, Italy)
Statistics in 2011-12 (Euroleague): 9 points, 6.4 rebounds.
You can call it bad karma or simply being unlucky, but there is something special with Ioannis Bourousis. After spending five seasons in Piraeus, Bourousis left Olympiakos right before the reds won the title. Olympiakos remains among the elite, while Bourousis continues to struggle with EA7 Emporio Armani, which stayed out of Top 16 stage. The 29-year-old center had his best season in his career and averaged 14 points and 8.3 rebounds. Still, impressive play by Bourousis wasn't enough to extend EA7 Emporio Armani's season in the Euroleague.
4. Nikola Mirotic (Real Madrid, Spain)
Statistics in 2011-12 (Euroleague): 12.5 points, 4.5 rebounds.
Despite his young age, Nikola Mirotic has been starting as Real Madrid's center for a second consecutive year. Mirotic is already able to take big shots and makes a huge contribution to Real's offense, which is the second best in the Euroleague. However, the fact that Mirotic will likely stay in Spain until 2016-17 should leave the Bulls wishing he would come to the NBA. On the other hand, the NBA fans will miss Mirotic development process, but might see him playing at his peak, at the age of 26.
5. Darjus Lavrinovic (Zalgiris Kaunas, Lithuania)
Statistics in 2011-12 (Euroleague): 4.7 points, 2.7 rebounds.
Coming back to a place where you were unstoppable is always a good idea. A dominant performance with Zalgiris Kaunas in the 2005-06 season led Darjus Lavrinovic to massive paydays in Spain, Turkey and Russia, but now Lavrinovic is back in Kaunas, where he is as productive as before. Rejoining forces with his twin brother Ksystof helped to transform Zalgiris into a winning team, capable of going all the way to the Final Four.
6. Sofoklis Schorstanitis (Panathinaikos Athens, Greece)
Statistics in 2011-12 (Euroleague): 8.7 points, 3 rebounds.
Due to his size, Panathinaikos newcomer Sofoklis Schorstanitis has always been a very productive player, who was able to play limited minutes. No surprise, Schorstanitis leads the Euroleague in points per 28 minutes with 21 and usually gets double teamed every time he has the ball in the paint. However, fatigue and quick fouls limit Schorstanitis' playing time as he has never played more than 20 minutes per game in his seven-year Euroleague career. His playing time in the 2012-13 season is even more limited as he never started a single game and plays only 13 minutes per game.
7. David Andersen (Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul, Turkey)
Statistics in 2011-12 (Euroleague): 11.7 points, 6.2 rebounds.
After a first successful season in Italy since coming back from the NBA, together with Simone Pianigiani, David Andersen decided to go to Istanbul. As things didn't go as well as expected, Andersen had to face bench player role in first few games, in which he finished with negative player index rating. Later, things got back to normal as Andersen received more playing time and again became a productive starting center. Nevertheless, a big rotation will prevent Andersen from posting MVP worthy numbers in every Euroleague game, but he will surely remain among the elite centers in the Euroleague.
8. Ante Tomic (FC Barcelona Regal, Spain)
Statistics in 2011-12 (Euroleague): 6.7 points, 3.7 rebounds.
Moving from Real Madrid to its biggest rival definitely helped Ante Tomic get out of Nikola Mirotic's shadow and also receive more playing time. Tomic is the starting center for arguably the best Euroleague team right now, but still struggles to become a player who could put big numbers every night. Inconsistency is what keeps Tomic from being higher in this ranking.
9. Aron Baynes (Union Olimpija Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Statistics in 2011-12 (Greek league): 13.6 points, 9 rebounds.
Aron Baynes is easily the biggest success story in this Euroleague season. Seven double doubles and helping a team with one million euro budget get three wins is more than impressive and more than enough to attract attention of European biggest teams. Baynes, who led the league in rebounding (9.8 per game) this season, established himself in the Euroleague and might stay here for a long time.
10. Shelden Williams (Elan Chalon, France)
Statistics in 2011-12 (NBA): 4.6 points, 6 rebounds.
Signing Shelden Williams was a risky move for Elan Chalon, but it paid off in a big way. In his debut season, Williams averaged 11.3 points and 7.6 rebounds in 23 minutes of action and was more reminiscent of a Euroleague veteran than a former NBA player, who needed time to adjust to European game. It didn't take long for Williams to get noticed by elite Euroleague teams as the latest reports link him to Fenerbahce Ulker. The former Duke star's French adventure might end soon and we'll see what Williams is capable to do on a winning team.