It’s the start to the NBA season, so you know what that means; I need to rank my top 100 players in the NBA just like I did last year. I began creating the rankings until I realized just how ridiculous it was that I was comparing guys like Lou Williams to guys like Clint Capela. How exactly do you fairly rank them? While they each play their role perfectly, it’s hard to determine whose role is more important to their team, so I scrapped the top 100.
Now, I will be ranking the top 10 at each position (I used Basketball-Reference to determine the positions). Tonight, on the fifth night of the season, I will rank the top 10 centers in the NBA based on my projections for the upcoming season.
0. Demarcus Cousins – Golden State Warriors
Like Kristaps Porzingis, Demarcus Cousins could potentially be injured for the majority of the season. While Cousins is clearly a skilled player, it is tough to quantify his value for this specific season when I don’t even know when he’d achieve full health. If he started the season healthy, I’d rank him at number three in between Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid.
1. Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis could potentially be the league’s best big man since Shaquille O’Neal. With his new addition of the three-point shot, Davis doesn’t have any weaknesses. He can score from everywhere on the floor, on or off of the ball. He can also defend nearly every frontcourt position like no other. Coming off of an unbelievable season, David won’t slow down for anyone.
2. Nikola Jokic – Denver Nuggets
Nikola Jokic’s statline last season was incomprehensible. 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists were all team highs for the Nuggets coming out of a seven-foot-tall center. The entire offense ran through one guy, something that no other player on this list can say. With Paul Millsap returning to full health, look for Jokic and the Nuggets to have a huge season.
3. Joel Embiid – Philadelphia 76ers
Joel Embiid is great, and everyone loves him until he destroys your favorite team and then makes fun of them afterward on Twitter. He scores from everywhere on offense, especially in the post where he is really capable of scoring on every single possession. With his gained experience, look for Joel Embiid to continue to get better every single year.
4. Al Horford – Boston Celtics
Of all the players on this list, I expect the most scrutiny for this opinion. I personally believe that Al Horford is the most important player on the Celtics’ roster and that they’d have no championship aspirations without him. Their defensive mindset in and out of the paint runs entirely through him. He also creates many shots for the wings and guards looked at as the team’s stars.
5. Karl-Anthony Towns – Minnesota Timberwolves
Karl-Anthony Towns is an interesting player on this list for the fact that he plays unlike anyone else. He plays as if he were a wing trapped inside a center’s body. Very rarely does he allow others to create his shot for him or post-up; most of his buckets come off of on-ball drives. Hopefully, the Jimmy Butler situation is resolved soon so we can see Towns return to form.
6. Andre Drummond – Detroit Pistons
When someone is the best person on the planet in a certain category, it’s hard not to show respect. That’s how Andre Drummond is with rebounding the basketball. Take any man of any height or weight and allow him to take on Andre Drummond in the paint, and there will be a clear loser. With his improvements creating his own shot and playmaking, Drummond will continue to improve playing alongside Blake Griffin in Dwane Casey’s new system.
7. Rudy Gobert – Utah Jazz
Unpopular opinion: Rudy Gobert is overrated. I can’t stand hearing people try to tell me that Gobert is a top-five center in the NBA based solely on his defensive ability. Gobert has absolutely no offensive skillset and only scores when Donovan Mitchell sets him up due to the defense’s fear of his scoring ability. That being said, Gobert is great on the other side of the floor which still earns him a spot on the list.
8. Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers
People seem to forget that just five years ago, Kevin Love averaged over 26 points and nearly 13 rebounds per game. He was an absolute force on the offensive side of the floor, similar to how Anthony Davis plays now. Since being traded to the Cavaliers and being forced onto the perimeter to play alongside Lebron, Love’s career has been a downward spiral. Now, away from Lebron, Kevin Love has the opportunity to return to form.
9. Deandre Jordan – Dallas Mavericks
Prior to Deandre Jordan, I don’t think the league had ever seen a run, jump, and dunk center to this degree ever. While playing with Clippers early on in his career, he was literally only capable of scoring on dunks set up by Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Last season was the first year he played without CP3 and many expected him to struggle. Now, returning to playing with a team of elite guards like Dennis Smith Jr., and Luka Doncic, I expect Jordan to have a huge bounce-back season.
10. Clint Capela – Houston Rockets
Clint Capela is the new generation of Deandre Jordan; he’s a tall, quick, athletic big man playing alongside Chris Paul. Last season, Capela broke out playing alongside CP3 and Harden, and he’s young enough to where his career is still on an uphill trajectory. Look for another elite defensive season out of the young Rockets’ big man.