I guess this is where the list gets controversial. Andris Biedrins clocks in at No. 6? There’s a good argument for this one, I swear. Check it out:
For three straight seasons, from 2006-07 until 2008-09, Biedrins was in the NBA’s top three in field goal percentage. He also averaged between 9.3 and 11.2 boards per game during that stretch. Throw in his blocks per game averages from those three years—1.7, 1.2 and 1.5 per game, respectively—and you can start to see the case for Andris.
He clearly peaked in 2008-09, when he averaged a very impressive double-double (11.9 points and 11.2 rebounds per game). But as everyone knows, it was all downhill from there.
Still, for what Biedrins did over a three-year stretch, he deserves to be this high on the list. Go ahead and try to name a center who was more productive for the Warriors over a three-year span during the 2000s than Biedrins was. It’s impossible. He was legitimately good.
Of course, he was definitely the beneficiary of relaxed defensive attention and some nifty pick-and-roll deliveries from Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson, but ultimately, Biedrins was a slick finisher with great hands during that period.
There was absolutely a time when there was a real debate over which young center you’d rather have, Biedrins or the L.A. Lakers’ Andrew Bynum. In fact, Biedrins was better than Bynum during those three seasons, during which Biedrins was in his very early 20s. The sky seemed to be the limit.
Now, Biedrins is nothing short of a pariah. He’s overpaid (not his fault) and hasn’t performed anywhere near the level he established half a decade ago. Going into his age-26 season this year, nobody expects a thing from him. But that’s not what this list is about. For the first decade of this century, Andris Biedrins was unquestionably the Warriors’ best center—and one of the most promising young big man talents in the entire NBA.
If things had played out differently—meaning, if Don Nelson hadn’t mentally destroyed him—Biedrins could have been in this list’s top three. As it is, Biedrins will have to settle for No. 6.