Position Battle: The Centers

Unlike the position battles at small forward and shooting guard, the competition for the starting center spot is one of mostly unfamiliar parts. The Knicks essentially played without a center last season, so the sudden surplus of big men poses a conundrum, albeit a welcome one. The available centers have very different backgrounds and utilities, so Mike D'Antoni has a wide range of options. With a short rotation, though, expect one man to rise to the top at the five spot. Your centers, after the jump...

Eddy Curry- Curry's been around as long as any Knick, but one still doesn't know what to expect from him in a given season. He's reported to have lost quite a bit of weight and spent all summer honing his skills. It's entirely possible that Curry's recent tribulations have ignited a spark within a big man notorious for soft play. If Eddy's truly motivated, he's got the talent to be effective. It's just a matter of complimenting his offensive skillset with active defense and diligent rebounding. I know that's the word on Curry nearly every season, but with only two years left on his contract, this may be his last shot to live up to expectations. As the resident heavyweight on a team that intends to run, he'll have his work cut out for him.

Darko Milicic- Darko, like Curry, has a career colored by unfulfilled expectations. He's been buried in the lineup of pretty much every team he's joined, and hasn't responded well. In New York, though, he's got a fair shot at a starting role in a system that desperately needs a defensive presence. Darko's range and conditioning lend themselves to D'Antoniball, but his defense is the real gem. If Milicic demonstrates an ability and determination to protect the paint in training camp, he should finally get his chance at a steady job. Once again, it's a matter of mindset and motivation.

Jordan Hill- Hill could one day be the best of the batch, but is he ready yet? New York's lottery pick showed some polish in summer league, but lacked the frame and the fire to impose his will in the paint. Nerves and inconsistent teammates were part of the equation in Vegas, but it still looks as if the rookie needs to add quite a bit of muscle before he can bang in a halfcourt set. This is a D'Antoni team, though, and Hill's ability to run the floor and shoot should at least enter his name into the discussion. Perhaps the beastliness might best be developed in games themselves. After all, in three years, Jordan could very well be the only one of these guys on the roster. Might as well get him comfortable. Maybe.

Chris Hunter- I know next to nothing about this guy because he didn't really get to spin last season. He'll be in Saratoga, though, playing for unguaranteed money. Maybe you guys know something about him that I don't. Maybe he grew 8 inches over the summer. Maybe he's just a really great friend. I don't know these things. If you do, feel free to vote for him.

Jared Jeffries- I mean, he's listed as a forward-center, so I have to include him. Considering that he pulled in only a fraction of a percentage point at his natural position, I doubt Jared will have much support here. Might as well include him anyway.

There it is. Now vote.

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