The positions of point guard, shooting guard, small forward and power forward are pretty self-explanatory. The center position is not so explicit.
The Thunder needs a center, but exactly what type of center?
- A bulky center, someone at 270-plus pounds?
- An athletic center, someone who can run and jump?
- Someone tall, a 7-footer with a ridiculous wingspan and reach?
- Perhaps an international flavor, someone more adept at shooting and drawing defenses away from the basket?
The Thunder won 50 games last season starting an international center in 7-foot, 240-pound Nenad Krstic. Reviews were mixed, but mostly favorable. He averaged 8.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in 22.9 minutes.
Off the bench came veteran Nick Collison, a 6-foot-10, 255-pound power forward with an ability to stand his ground against those bigger in stature.
Then along came 20-year-old surging rookie Serge Ibaka, an athletic, 6-foot-10, 235-pound forward who carries a center's presence with his length and leaping ability.
Farther down the bench was 21-year-old rookie Byron Mullens, a 7-foot, 275-pounder who has developed nicely and had flashes when given a chance to play.
To recap, the Thunder has an international center, a physical center, an athletic center and a project. Depending on your viewpoint, this means the Thunder either has four centers or none.