The eastern conference may be known for its half-court, center-oriented style of play, but the best big men in the league suit up in the West, according to the SI Player Rating Formula.* At week's end Shaquille O'Neal (left) led the NBA in shooting percentage (57.9) and scoring (26.5 points per game), which explains why he topped the list by a Shaq-sized margin. Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson, third and fourth, respectively, are also having stellar years, especially on defense—they were among the top 10 in blocks. The lone center from the East in SI's top five is Alonzo Mourning, who has been the Heat's hottest hand: Through Sunday he was among the league's top 15 in blocks (first), rebounds (sixth), field goal percentage (sixth) and points (14th).
A few teams have to be disappointed by their big off-season acquisitions. At week's end Orlando's Ike Austin was shooting just 41.2% from the field and grabbing only 4.8 rebounds per game. The Clippers' Michael Olowokandi, last year's No. I draft pick, has scored as many as 17 points only twice this season.
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