Some might say the big man is a dying breed in the NBA. Try telling that to Nikola Jokic or Joel Embiid, two of the 10 best centers in the NBA today.
Here we dive into that exact topic, who are the 10 best centers in the NBA? Find out down below.
Honorable mention: Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls
10. Clint Capela, Atlanta Hawks
There are a number of players who could be considered here for the 10th spot in our list of the best centers in the NBA, but we’re giving the honor to Clint Capela. He’s earned it by playing his role almost to perfection by being a top-notch rebounder and defender while being extremely efficient offensively, shooting 62.4% for his career prior to the start of the 2022-23 season.
9. Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans
As one of the many talented Lithuanian stars in the NBA, Jonas Valanciunas has been putting up impressive numbers in the league since 2012-13, when he was the fifth pick for the Toronto Raptors. He’s averaged a double-double for each of the past three seasons and is considered one of the best NBA centers today.
8. Jarrett Allen, Cleveland Cavaliers
It’s hard to miss Jarrett Allen on the basketball court. Though he measures in at 6-foot-11, Allen’s afro makes him appear much taller. More importantly, Allen has steadily improved in each of his six NBA seasons, playing a key role on a deeply talented Cleveland Cavaliers team positioned to do damage in the 2022-23 season.
Related: NBA Power Rankings
7. Kristaps Porzingis, Washington Wizards
Dubbed ‘The Unicorn’, Kristaps Porzingis is a unique beast. Standing 7-foot-3, even though he’s never quite led the NBA in blocks per game, some players have suggested he’s the toughest paint protector to score on in basketball. What makes him special is the added ability to also average 18.9 PPG, as he’s done in his career, while shooting 35.3% from distance. Yeah, Porzingod is one of basketball’s best big-men currently in the Association.
6. Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns
The No. 1 overall pick from the 2018 NBA Draft, Deandre Ayton can usually be counted on for a double-double, but he isn’t quite up to the levels of Luka Doncic and Trae Young, the other two superbly talented top-five picks from that class. Still, Ayton plays an integral role on a Phoenix Suns squad that reached the NBA Finals in 2021.
5. Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat
One of the many current NBA centers on the rise is the Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo, who is a three-time member of the NBA All-Defensive team, forming a potent duo with Jimmy Butler. Matching his nickname, Bam has a lot of explosiveness and power in his game, playing much bigger than his 6-foot-9 frame suggests.
4. Rudy Gobert, Minnesota Timberwolves
Of course, you can’t have a list of the best centers in the NBA without mentioning Rudy Gobert, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year. The one known as The Stifle Tower is an intimidating presence and likely has earned some consideration as one of the top 10 centers of all time defensively. How can he pair with Karl-Anthony Towns on the low block? That remains to be seen, but his game shouldn’t change much as they still have playmakers to set him up for scoring opportunities, and he can still shine in the paint.
3. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
Commonly referred to as the best shooting big in the NBA, Karl-Anthony Towns has a special skill set. One of the biggest knocks on KAT has been people saying he’s not a winner, but he helped lead his Minnesota Timberwolves to a playoff spot in 2021-22. Either way, Towns is among the best centers in the NBA. Since he rarely misses games and has such a knack for scoring, Towns could someday be among the top centers of all time from an efficiency standpoint. Although, now that Rudy Gobert has been brought to Minnesota, the Wolves are forming the Northern Heights, which moves Towns to power forward.
2. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
As a four-time member of the All-NBA team, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid is a one-man wrecking crew. The Process is a big reason why the Sixers are annually in playoff contention thanks to his dominant defensive skills in addition to his scoring prowess. There’s no question, Embiid deserves a spot near the top of any best centers in basketball rankings. With how driven he is, one day Embiid could become one of the top centers in NBA history.
1. Nikola Jokic is No. 1 on the list of best centers in the NBA
There isn’t a more skilled center right now than Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets. Since being selected in the second round in 2014, The Joker has developed into a triple-double machine. He’s messed around with a triple-double 76 times, which ranks seventh all-time in NBA history.
The next time you hear someone saying teams shouldn’t build around a center, kindly remind them who the MVP of the last two seasons was. For that reason, Jokic lands at No. 1 on Sportsnaut’s list of best centers in the NBA. If he can have a long, productive career, Jokic might even be able to become one of the greatest centers in basketball history.
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.