The 2021 NBA Draft is here, and we have the top 5 centers that should hear their names called by Adam Silver tonight. This is a very guard-heavy draft, so there are not a ton of standout players at the 5 position, but nonetheless, there are some great talents.
6’11 | 235 lbs | Western Kentucky | Junior
Charles Bassey has been a great player in his 3 years at Western Kentucky, and it seems that every succeeding year, he continuously adds more to his game and improves on both ends of the ball. Coming in as a Freshman, he averaged 14.6 points per game, 10 rebounds per game, and 2.4 blocks per game. He earned First Team All Conference-USA, Defensive Player of the Year, and Freshman of the Year.
His second season was cut short due to a tibial plateau fracture, and had a tremendous Junior year to allow himself to enter the NBA Draft. He finished this year with career highs 17.6 points per game, 11.6 rebounds per game, and 3.1 blocks per game. He was able to secure First Team All-Conference USA again, win his second Defensive Player of the Year, and win Conference Player of the Year as well.
He’s a very traditional big man but can shoot the three-ball decently. He shoots free throws exceptionally well too, so he can develop a three-point shot at the NBA level if needed. There are plenty of teams that need his length on the board, and he would be a great fit anywhere.
6’11 | 265 lbs | Iowa | Senior
Luka Garza was considered one of the best prospects going into his Senior season following his incredible Junior season, where he finished second in National Player of the Year voting averaging 23.1 points per game and 9.2 rebounds per game. Despite finishing 2nd in that award, he did get All-American honors and won Big 10 Player of the Year and First Team All-Big Ten.
His Senior season was absolutely outstanding, and rightfully so. He averaged 24.1 points per game, 8.7 rebounds per game, on 55, 40, 70 shooting splits. But it didn’t stop there for the Senior out of Iowa. He then won the Naismith and Wooden Award, Big Ten Player of the Tournament, another consensus All-American, and the AP Player of the Year.
Garza transformed his game to fit the modern NBA, so why is he ranked so low on the big board? Well, his Draft Combine grades were not great. In fact, they were one of the worst in a long time. His lack of speed and athleticism will make him a liability at the NBA level, considering that many teams like to switch defenders.
6’11 | 265 lbs | North Carolina | Freshman
In his only season in college basketball, Day’Ron Sharpe was a great off the bench player for the Tar Heels this season. He averaged 9.5 points per game, 7.6 rebounds per game, 0.9 blocks per game, and 0.8 steals per game in just 19.2 minutes per game.
He is a very traditional big, does not take any shots outside the three-point line, so it will be interesting to see how he develops in the NBA. I have him ranked at number three because of the tremendous upside that he has shown in his short time in college. He has a very solid frame, an aggressive rebounder, and can really develop a shot to help his team.
6’9 | 235 lbs | Turkey
Alperen Sengun is an 18-year-old modern center who would fit in any NBA system. He is a bit undersized but can fill up the stat sheet in every way imaginable. This past Turkish season, he averaged 18.6 points per game, 8.9 rebounds per game, 2.7 assists. He has a great interior game and is very effective on the glass, both on the offensive and defensive end.
The one thing that he would need to work on is his on-ball defense, especially around the perimeter. He has a ton of upside because of his age and the fact that he has a ton of raw talent already. He also needs to improve three-point shooting, especially with the NBA three-point line being further than in FIBA.
7’0 | 215 lbs | USC | Freshman
Arguably the best big man in this draft class, and it’s not even remotely close. His freshman year at USC showed why he is the third-best player in this draft and should be sought out by any NBA team.
In his one season at USC, Evan Mobley averaged 16.4 points per game, 8.7 rebounds per game, 2.4 assists per game, and 2.9 blocks per game. He also racked up a ton of accolades as well. He was the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year. He was also a consensus All-American, First Team All-Pac 12 Conference, Defense, and Freshman.
His ability to dominate the game at such a young age is exceptional, and if he can build up his frame, he will be a dominant player that will be very hard to stop.