The center position used to be the most coveted position in all of basketball. Usually if a team did not have a good center, then that team was not very successful. Today, the center is less valuable. Sometimes, teams do not even use a center in order to have more speed and spacing on the floor.
That being said, there are still some centers that are very prominent in today’s NBA. Most of them have unique skill sets that allow them to not only stay relevant in today’s league, but also to be some of the top players in the league. In fact, two of the top MVP candidates the last two seasons have been centers. Here are the five best centers in the NBA right now.
5. Karl-Anthony Towns
Karl-Anthony Towns is the perfect embodiment of the transformation of the center position in the NBA. Towns considers himself to be the best three-point shooting big man of all-time. There is a lot of evidence to back that up; he is a career 40 percent shooter from beyond the arc, as well as last year’s Three-Point Contest champion.
4. Rudy Gobert
Rudy Gobert has been one of the best defenders in the NBA for several seasons. He is widely considered to be the best shot-blocker in the NBA. His presence in the paint forces teams to gameplan around him. Gobert protects the paint unlike any other player, which often translates into wins.
Next season, Rudy Gobert will be playing alongside Karl-Anthony Towns on the Minnesota Timberwolves. Together, the two big men will dominate other teams in terms of their size and skill. There will be some adjustments for each player to make, but Gobert should help the Wolves make a deeper playoff run than last season.
3. Bam Adebayo
Bam Adebayo is truly a unique talent in the NBA. Not only is Bam one of the best defenders in the NBA, but he is also one of the most versatile defenders. His speed and strength allows him to effectively guard any position.
Bam’s value lies on the defensive end. However, he has developed into a very skilled offensive player as well. He has some guard skills that make him a good playmaker and he is also improving at his inside scoring.
Adebayo has improved every season. The next step for him is to see that improvement translate into the playoffs. Aside from the Heat’s Finals run in the Bubble in 2020, Bam Adebayo has largely struggled to make as big of an impact as he is capable of.
2. Joel Embiid
Early in his career, Joel Embiid struggled to stay on the court because he was dealing with numerous injuries. When he was on the court, it was clear that he was going to be a special player in the NBA. Now that he has at least found some consistency with his health, his potential has come to fruition.
Embiid is one of the most dominant offensive forces in the NBA. Since he is so great offensively, he doesn’t get enough credit for his excellent defensive tendencies. Embiid has been the leader of the 76ers for many years now. Next season, he is one of the favorites to win the MVP award. He also has a real chance to help lead the 76ers to a championship.
1. Nikola Jokic
The reigning back-to-back MVP is the perfect example of the modern NBA center. Nikola Jokic has reached a high point of his career. He has developed extraordinary skills over his NBA career. Now, he has become one of the best passers in the NBA, as well as one of the best scorers and rebounders.