A tier-by-tier ranking of majority of the centres in the NBA right now.
All 30 NBA teams have at least two centres in their rotation this season. We will now rank those players by putting them into different tiers.
Those tiers will be descriptive and accurately depict the ability of most of these players and help you get a good idea of how good these selected players are.
This ranking focuses entirely on actual centres, not bigs in general or Power Forwards who can also play in the 5.
This is a category that contains only two obvious players, Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid, who are not just the best centres in the league but also among the best players of any position.
Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic are the two best Centers in the NBA
Jokic is the reigning MVP and currently sits top of the 2021/22 MVP ladder which means if the season ended today, Jokic would remain the best player in the NBA.
Embiid is not far behind either as he currently sits third on the MVP ladder and is having an incredible season for the Philadelphia 76ers. Embiid is currently averaging 29 points per game which is by far the highest among centres and the third-highest in the league behind only LeBron James with 29.1 and Kevin Durant with 29.3 points per game.
The only other centre in the top ten for most points per game is Jokic, who is seventh right now with 26.2 points per game, but that is not the only reason he is elite.
‘Joker’ is also averaging 7.6 assists per game which is the ninth-best in the NBA and by far the best among centres. In fact, the next best centre on the assists per game list is Embiid all the way down in 44th-place with 4.6 assists per game.
He is also averaging 13.8 rebounds per game which is the second-best in the league.
Very good but not quite elite
It is probably unfair that Rudy Gobert is not considered elite especially when his achievements are brought into consideration. 3-time NBA All-Star, 3-time All-NBA, 5-time All-defensive, led the league in blocks in 2017 and 3-time defensive player of the year on course for a fourth.
Utah Jazz Center, Rudy Gobert
Despite all of that, Gobert’s lack of offense sees him fall short of that ‘elite’ tag, but he’s still the best defender in this league which makes him very good.
Gobert leads the league in rebounds with 15.1 per game and is second in blocks per game with 2.2 per game. He is not a dud offensively either as he averages 16 points per game for the Utah Jazz which is the eighth-best among centres on a 70% field goal percentage.
Very good with potential to be elite
Karl-Anthony Towns is playing great right now and looks on course to become the elite centre everyone thought he would be when he got drafted first overall in 2015.
‘KAT’ is the only other centre apart from Jokic and Embiid averaging higher than 20 points per game. His current average for Minnesota Timberwolves this season is 24 points per game and 9.4 assists per game.
Other players in this category are DeAndre Ayton who was on fire for the Phoenix Suns last and this season until his unfortunate injury and Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat who is also injured right now.
Miami Heat Center Bam Adebayo up against Chicago Bulls Center Nikola Vucevic
These guys are all good centres with little or no potential to further improve either due to age or simply having reached their ceiling talent-wise.
Jonas Valanciunas is averaging 18.2 points and 12 rebounds for the New Orleans Pelicans and Christian Wood with 17.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game for the Houston Rockets.
Christian Wood dunking for the Houston Rockets
Atlanta Hawks’ Clint Capela, Cleveland Cavaliers’ Jarrett Allen, Chicago Bulls’ Nikola Vucevic, Washington Wizards’ Montrezl Harrell, Memphis Grizzlies’ Steven Adams, Portland Trail Blazers’ Jusuf Nurkic and Philadelphia 76ers’s Andre Drummond (who is not even a starter right now) all fit into this category.
Good with potential to be better
Indiana Pacers’ Myles Turner was playing some of the best basketball of his career before he got injured but is a player with huge potential as is Wendell Carter Jr of the Orlando Magic.
Myles Turner in action for the Indiana Pacers
As well: Mo Bamba also of the Orlando Magic and Robert Williams III whose importance to the Boston Celtics continues to improve.
Jakob Poeltl of San Antonio Spurs, Ivica Zubac of the Los Angeles Clippers, Daniel Gafford of the Wahington Wizards and Kevon Looney of the Golden State Warriors are the most pertinent examples of the NBA centres who are not exactly bad but not particularly good either.
Sacramento Kings’ Richuan Holmes has been decent this season, same as Bismack Biyombo who has stepped up nicely for the Phoenix Suns in the absence of DeAndre Ayton.
Haasan Whiteside of the Utah Jazz, Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan both of the Los Angeles Lakers and Al Horford of the Boston Celtics are examples of previously good to elite centres who are now past their best.
Other unranked/unrated players have been left out of respect because we would rather not call them straight trash.