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10 best centers in the NBA – See where Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and more rank

Andrew Buller-Russ
10 Best Centers in the NBA
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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.

10. Clint Capela, Atlanta Hawks

There’s 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.

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 two seasons and is considered one of the best NBA centers today.

Related: Sportsnaut’s NBA defensive rankings – Celtics remain at the top heading into the postseason

8. Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls

During the 2020-21 season, the Chicago Bulls began assembling an All-Star cast when they traded for Nikola Vucevic. Since then, Vooch has helped turn the Bulls back into a force to be reckoned with in the east, where they currently enjoy one of the best records in the conference.

7. 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 and now plays a key role on a deeply talented Cleveland Cavaliers team positioned for postseason success.

Related: NBA Power Rankings – Playoffs Down To Top 8

6. Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns

The No. 1 overall pick from the 2018 NBA Draft, Deandre Ayton can always 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 last season and looks poised to possibly do the same this time around.

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 two-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, Utah Jazz

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 for the Utah Jazz and likely has earned some consideration as one of the top 10 centers of all time defensively.

Related: NBA playoff predictions – Bracket picks & 2022 Finals champion

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.

2. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

As a three-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 and the acquisition of James Harden only figures to make life easier on the MVP candidate. There’s no question, Embiid deserves a spot near the top of any best centers in the NBA list and with how driven he is, one day he could become one of the top centers in NBA history.

Related: 50 Top NBA players of 2022 – Giannis leads the charge as Anthony Edwards, Joel Embiid rise the ranks

1. Nikola Jokic is No. 1 on the list of best centers in the NBA

NBA: Playoffs-Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets
Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

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. The next time you hear someone saying teams shouldn’t build around a center, kindly remind them who the 2020-21 NBA MVP was. For that reason, Jokic lands at No. 1 on Sportsnaut’s list of 10 best centers in the NBA. If he can have a long, productive career, Jokic might even be able to become one of the best centers of all time.

Related: NBA MVP Race 2021-22 – Nikola Jokic wins second consecutive MVP