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Top 10 Centers In the NBA Today

All we ever hear about in regards to big men in basketball is how they are becoming extinct, and how the game is evolving without them. While this may be true to some extent, the role of a center in today's NBA is not going extinct, it's simply changing. Nowadays, most successful big men have the ability to create their own shot, shoot the three ball, and make plays for others. Gone are the days of back-to-the-basket centers that never leave the paint. The new era of the five spot in the NBA has brought some of the most skilled and accomplished centers we've ever seen. Here is my top 10:

(Center is a tough position to define, but I used my best judgment. I did not include Siakam as a center.)

10. Robert Williams III (Boston Celtics)

STATS: 10.0 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 2.2 BPG, 73.6 FG%

While Williams has been sidelined all season so far, we should not forget the year he had in 2021-22. Rob Will stood out as one of the best defenders in the entire league. He is an incredible shot-blocker with great athleticism. Williams is a great lob threat and was expanding his offensive arsenal toward the end of last year. When healthy, I see him as a DPOY candidate with top-five center potential.

9. Domantas Sabonis (Sacramento Kings)

STATS: 16.9 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 6.4 APG, 58.6 FG%

Sabonis is an example of a center that can do it all on the floor. He is a perfect combination of scorer and playmaker who makes his teammates better. He is helping lead the Kings to a surprisingly good season so far. Sabonis is amongst the best passing big men in the league, averaging more than 6 assists.

8. Jarrett Allen (Cleveland Cavaliers)

STATS: 13.5 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 58.8 FG%

Jarrett Allen took an All-Star leap last year, and has stayed a key part of the Cavaliers. Allen is one of the best rim-running bigs in the league and has some of the most impressive bounce you will find. He is an elite shot blocker who pairs up with Evan Mobley to form a lethal frontcourt. Allen is also shooting a career-best 78.8% from the FT line this year.

7. Kristaps Porzingis (Washington Wizards)

STATS: 21.4 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.6 BPG, 47.1 FG%

Porzingis is quietly having a great year in Washington. He has been healthy so far this year, which is the thing that has plagued him most in his career. Porzingis is the perfect example of how the center position has evolved. At 7'3", Kristaps can do everything a guard does. He shoots the three, can attack off the dribble, and is a force blocking shots. I think Porzingis gets some unfair criticism at times despite the really solid career he has had.

6. Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns)

STATS: 16.3 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 2.1 BPG, 60.6 FG%

If you look up the word solid in the dictionary, a picture of Ayton may pop up next to it. He is a well-rounded big man who doesn't do one thing exceptionally well, but is good at everything. Ayton and CP3 form arguably the best lob threat in the league. He was in trade talks this summer, but I think the Suns were smart in keeping him. He is improving as a scorer and will be a key part of a Suns team hoping to win a championship in the next few years.

5. Rudy Gobert (Minnesota Timberwolves)

STATS: 13.8 PPG, 12.4 RPG, 1.4 BPG, 64.0 FG%

Gobert is one of the most interesting players in the NBA to evaluate. On the defensive end, he is one of the best defenders we have ever seen. Offensively he is limited to catching lobs and cleaning up missed shots. We have seen some head-scratching playoff performances from Gobert over the last few years. Regardless, he is still a valuable big man who is arguably the best rim protector in the NBA (maybe ever?). Gobert and KAT are an interesting fit and will have to find a way to gel for the T-Wolves to be successful.

4. Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)

STATS: 20.5 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 13.2 APG, 53.0 FG%

Adebayo is a special talent. He is an elite defender who will have at least one DPOY before his career is over. Offensively, when he is aggressive he is an athletic big man who can back you down or take you off the dribble. His energy level is second to none on both sides of the court. The knock on Bam has been his playoff performances, something I hope to see improve this year.

3. Karl Anthony-Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves)

STATS: 20.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 5.3 APG, 50.5 FG%

It's been a bit of an uneven start to the year for KAT, and now he's facing a pretty significant injury. The fit with two-star centers in Towns and Gobert was always going to be a little weird, but it's been worse than expected. Towns is still one of the most skilled big guys we have ever seen. Outside of Dirk he may be the best shooting big man of all-time. He is advanced at every offensive skill you can think of, and is a solid defender. Towns and the Timberwolves are still learning how to play winning basketball with a roster full of talent.

2. Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)

STATS: 32.1 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 4.8 APG, 51.9 FG%

Outside of Giannis, Embiid might be the hardest player to stop in the NBA. His combination of skill and size makes it near impossible to defend him. Embiid is a beyond-elite scorer and knows how to get to the free-throw line better than anyone. On the defensive end, he can be a problem for opposing offenses, averaging nearly two blocks a game. The next step for Embiid is being the leader of a championship team, as we have yet to see him be a part of a true contender.

1. Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)

STATS: 23.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 8.8 APG, 62.3 FG%

The back-to-back MVP is having another incredible season. His scoring is down, but his efficiency and playmaking have taken a step forward. The Joker is a rare talent at the center position. He is not only the best passing big in the league, but he may also be the best passer out of anyone in the NBA. Jokic plays at his own pace and sometimes makes you wonder how this guy is even in the NBA. Still, he is one of the most talented centers to ever play the game. His basketball IQ is insanely good, and he leads a Denver squad looking to leap into contention this year. Until something drastic changes, Jokic will top my list.


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