Slim pickings in the middle

Updated: April 1, 2005, 2:43 PM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
Every year, we say the same thing about the upcoming class of draft-eligible centers.

Coming up with a Top 10 list of centers is a little bit like trying to put together a list of 10 reasons to move to Bristol. After you get past one or two, you have to start making up stuff.

This year, we couldn't even come up with 10 centers likely to be drafted. The top center prospect in the country, Greg Oden, is a high school junior and might be barred from coming to the NBA for another three seasons if David Stern gets his age limit.

A few of the top prospects capable of playing center in the NBA – Utah's Andrew Bogut, Pittsburgh's Chris Taft and Lithuania's Martynas Andriuskvicius – are listed as power forwards in our rankings, though they clearly are capable of holding down the fort in the paint if necessary. Most of the other top prospects, including UConn's Josh Boone and Macedonia's Peja Samardziski, plan to sit this draft out.

That leaves a few unproven international and college players and one college senior struggling to shake the soft label.

Here's a look at the top five centers in the 2005 NBA draft.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer