The Center position has evolved the most in the last ten years. The game of basketball was once played from the inside out and Centers used to dominate the league. Then the game slowly saw more and more guards come into the fray. This led NBA becoming the league it is now, dominated by guards. But the big man has made a comeback in the past few years. The last 4 MVP awards have gone to guards but soon we might see a Center being named MVP. You can even check out the best NBA betting sites to place bets on the best centers in the sport.
Here are the top 5 centers in the NBA:
1. Joel Embiid
No other big man has dominated the game like Joel Embiid has in these last two seasons. He is an old school center and much more. Not only can he dominate the post, he can also face up in the mid range and step out for a three. His 7’2″ frame is a nightmare for the entire league and especially the players who have to guard him. Last year he averaged 23 points and 11 rebounds, was in the running for defensive player of the year award and was named an all-star. This season, he might just do anything. Health will always be a question for Embiid but if last season was a sign of things to come, brace yourselves then.
2. Rudy Gobert
Popularly known as the stifle tower for stifling offenses, the reigning defensive player of the year is more than a big man. He has been a lynch pin of Quin Snyder’s systematic basketball in Utah. He averaged 13 points and 10 rebounds last season and helped Jazz get the 5th seed. No guard driving towards the basket wants any part of Gobert. He’s particularly lethal as a rim protector within 5 feet of the basket. He might not pop out to the three point line but is very effective as a rim-runner. He doesn’t do a lot but when he’s on court, less is more.
3. Clint Capela
There is a reason why Houston Rockets didn’t let Clint Capela sign elsewhere as a free agent. He was vital to the success they had last season, winning 65 games and almost beating the Golden State Warriors. He’s the rare modern NBA big man very few teams have and even fewer teams know how to utilise correctly. He can also hold his ground on the defensive end. A nightmare rolling to the rim in the pick and roll offense orchestrated by James Harden and Chris Paul, this might be the breakout season for him.
4. Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic is the most unique player in today’s NBA. A 7 feet tall Center who sees the floor like an elite point guard does. Last season, he posted averages of 18 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Passing the ball out of the post is his most lethal skill. Mike Malone’s system also helps him as the guards are always cutting and moving. He can also shoot the ball from deep as well as score near the basket. This off season, Jokic signed a max extension, so the writing’s on the wall. We can expect a triple-double from him every other day.
5. Steven Adams
Steven Adams is a man whose reputation precedes him. He’s the strongest player in the NBA but that’s not all he is. He’s been doing what he’s supposed to in the shadows of Russell Westbrook and Paul George. He posted averages of 14 points and 9 rebounds last season but few people know he lead the league in offensive rebounding with 5.1 offensive rebounds per game. He has also developed a soft touch on his hooks near the basket. Most known for his brick wall screens in the league, his mobility and quickness is underrated. He might not become an all star this season but he’ll keep doing what he’s doing.