14. Jonas Valanciunas – MEM
The big man from Lithuania, Jonas Valanciunas is on his way up the center rankings thanks to a really strong finish to the season with the Memphis Grizzlies last year. After spending the first six and a half years of his career with the Toronto Raptors, Valanciunas was included in the deal that sent Marc Gasol to the Great White North.
Although Valanciunas missed a chance at a ring because of this trade, it worked out in his favor in that his game took a step forward with the change in scenery. In 19 games with the Grizzlies, Valanciunas put up career highs in pretty much every statistical category and the team expects him to be able to do it again this year.
13. Marc Gasol – TOR
Speaking of guys that were traded mid-season, the other half of the Toronto/Memphis trade is just ahead of Valanciunas in the form of former Defensive Player of the Year and three-time All-Star, Marc Gasol. Despite being 34 years old, Gasol proved that he can still be a very effective player in the most important games last year.
Statistically, Gasol is probably not in the top 15 or maybe even the top 20 here, but his experience and his performance on the biggest stage make him one of the most valuable centers out there. Gasol played a huge role in the Raptors win over the Warriors in the Finals because he knew how to be effective when it mattered most. This is a hard thing to gauge here, but it is something that absolutely has to be considered in these rankings.