In a league dominated by the three point shot, the center position was forced to adapt to this new fast paced NBA game. This change resulted in old enforcers, such as Roy Hibbert and Chris Anderson, becoming obsolete in a game that forced centers to be able to stretch the floor and knock down some jumpers.
So without further ado, here are your top 5 current NBA Centers:
5. Rudy Gobert: This past year, Gobert went from promising young talent, to NBA star. Gobert affects the game both offensively and defensively, as he was the NBA’s best defender statistically while also putting up fourteen points per game. Gobert’s long arms combined with his freak athleticism propelled the Jazz to their postseason run. However, Gobert still has a copious amount of improvement before his offensive game is among the elite centers in the league. But with Hayward out of the picture, Gobert will most likely become the focal point of the offense, giving him the confidence he needs in order to improve.
4. Marc Gasol: Gasol has been among the elite centers for the past several years, and this year was no different. Although Mike Conley continues to emerge as the leagues most underrated player, Marc Gasol is still the one keeping opponents awake at night. If you go back and watch any Grizzlies game, the ball continues to end up in the hands of Marc Gasol when the Grizz need a basket in the clutch. He is an elite post defender and has augmented his game to the perimeter, forcing slow centers to have to come out and defend him. However, Gasol is nearing the end of his prime, and might not be on this list for much longer.
3. Nikola Jokić: Jokić is a perfect example of a modern big man. A reincarnation of Arvydas Sabonis, Jokić is perhaps the best post passer in the league, while also obtaining the ability to stretch the floor and knock down perimeter shots. Jokić almost single handily led the Nuggets to their first playoff appearance in four years. However, near the beginning of the season, Jokić was not eating up a lot of minutes and only started to see starting minutes near the mid-way point of the season. In a few years, Jokić could easily be the best center in the NBA, provided that his game continues to improve at this freak rate.
2. Karl Anthony-Towns: Karl Anthony-Towns may be the best second-year center, this league has ever seen. His athleticism and agility with the ball, combined with his skillful post play is nearly unstoppable. Just like most of the centers on this list, Towns has also adapted to this new era of basketball and is a threat around the perimeter. For the past two seasons, Towns is nearly the only thing keeping the Timberwolves from being the laughing stock of the NBA. his out of this world numbers of 21.7 points per game combined with his 11.4 rebounds per game, is the reason people looked at the Wolves and said that they are the next NBA dynasty. Although Jokić has the potential to become the NBA’s best center, Towns can one day be the NBA’s best player.
1. Demarcus Cousins: Despite still not making any postseason appearances, Demarcus Cousins is still the NBA’s best center. His scoring ability in the post is like none other. Cousins has some of the best post moves this league has ever seen. His offensive ability can sometimes overshadow his defensive dominance in the post, however. As Cousins is still perhaps one of the leagues best defensive centers. Although he has had some off the court issues, on the court, Cousins is still a force to be reckoned with. Hopefully, his move to New Orleans with benefit both sides, as Anthony Davis will finally have some frontcourt help, and Demarcus Cousins will get his chance at playing for a franchise that wants to win immediately.
In other words, it is clear that although the NBA has become guard dominant, the center position has by no means, faded away. These big men are still competing at the highest level and excel each and every night. Some may argue, the center position is more skilled than ever.