Now just weeks away from the All-Star Break, which centers make the cut for the top 15 at their position. Note: Rudy Gobert and Nikola Vucevic will not be included as they’ve missed significant time this season due to injury.
15. Enes Kanter – New York Knicks
In his first year with New York, Kanter is excelling and has been a strong frontcourt partner to Kristaps Porzingis. Currently averaging a double-double, the Turkish big man is putting up over 13 points a game in only around 25 minutes a game. His efficiency and intangibles make him valuable to a rebuilding Knicks team.
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked
14. Jusuf Nurkic – Portland Trail Blazers
After coming to the Blazers from Denver last season, Nurkic has done great in a starting role for Portland, being a third option for the team behind star guards Lillard and McCollum. Though he’s missed a bit of time due to injury this year, the 23-year old has still proven to be the team’s best frontcourt option when healthy.
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked
13. Myles Turner – Indiana Pacers
In his first year in the league without Paul George, Turner has been a bit of a disappointment. While the emergence of new teammate Victor Oladipo could’ve taken away from some of his spotlight, the former Texas big man should be having a stronger 3rd season than he his. While his 3-pt shooting has continued to improve, Turner has yet to become a force on the boards, putting up a meager 6.5 a game. If he wants to be one of the best centers in the NBA, Turner must become stronger down low.
Previous Ranking: 11
12. Dwight Howard – Charlotte Hornets
Only half a season into his tenure with Charlotte, Howard finds himself on the trade block. While he’s still a double-double center, the big man now lacks the dominant offensive prowess he had in Orlando. His remaining athletic ability and size make him a desirable center for many teams in the league but his massive contract may turn off potential trade partners for the Hornets.
Previous Ranking: 12
11. Hassan Whiteside – Miami Heat
Though injuries sidelined Whiteside for some time at the beginning of the year, he’s somewhat returning to his old self now. The 28-year old is currently averaging a double-double and leading a Heat team who’s competing well in the East. A shot at DPOY is a stretch but Whiteside is clearly the best player in Miami and should find him and his team in the postseason this spring.
Previous Ranking: 7
10. DeAndre Jordan – Los Angeles Clippers
Nearly at the All-Star break, Jordan finds himself on the Clipper trade block. While Los Angeles looks to have a fair shot at the playoffs this season, they seem more interested in possibly cleaning slate and rebuilding around Blake Griffin. As of now, Jordan is averaging a healthy double-double and is up there with Andre Drummond as clearly a top 2 rebounder in the NBA. He could be out of LA in less than a month, but as of now Jordan is having another typical season for him and is one of the best defensive centers in the league.
Previous Ranking: 8
9. Clint Capela – Houston Rockets
While he’s still pretty far down on the rung of offensive options for Houston, Capela has continued to improve and is by far the best defensive big man for the Rockets. His offensive efficiency has also gotten better and he’s currently one of the best centers in the league in that department. Averaging a double-double and shooting over 66% from the field, Capela needs to be healthy to give Houston a shot at Golden State in the postseason.
Previous Ranking: 15
8. Andre Drummond – Detroit Pistons
Probably one of the biggest All-Star snubs this year, Drummond is having a far better year than his previous for Detroit. The 24-year old is averaging another points-rebounds double-double and leading the league in boards, but where he’s really improved is his playmaking. At 7-ft tall, Drummond is surprisingly putting up nearly 4 assists a game, getting the smaller guys on the floor better shots out of the post. The Pistons have slowed down since the start of the season but the team should be in the running for the 8 spot come playoff time.
Previous Ranking: 13
7. Marc Gasol – Memphis Grizzlies
Gasol is another one of the centers that could be on the move at the deadline, but in the meantime he’s having another great season in Memphis. The Spaniard is scoring well again, shooting at around 34% from 3 on the year. He’s improved on the boards this season and is making plays out of the post for the Grizzlies. A lottery pick looks almost certain for Memphis this year so don’t be surprised if Gasol is in another uniform by February.
Previous Ranking: 6
6. Al Horford – Boston Celtics
In his second year with Boston, Horford will make an All-Star appearance and has his Celtics currently first in the East. While he still seems to struggle a bit in the rebounding department, the Florida product is averaging over 5 assists a game and is one of the most valuable players on the Celtics roster. Horford stays one of the most underrated centers in the NBA, helping Boston reach the top of the East without Gordon Hayward.
Previous Ranking: 9
5. Nikola Jokic – Denver Nuggets
After bursting onto the scene last year in Denver, Jokic has carried his strong play into this season. The young Serbian star currently averages a double-double with 5 assists a game and has his Nuggets hanging on in the 8 spot in the West. His defense has also made improvements this season which will benefit a young, raw Denver team. Expect to see Jokic in the All-Star game in a few years as he stays one of the top 5 centers in the league.
Previous Ranking: 5
4. Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers
Love has recently been in the news for being targeted in an off-court meeting by his teammates as the Cavs struggles continue. Despite all the drama surrounding Cleveland, Love is averaging over 18 points and nearly 10 rebounds a game. As the second option for Cleveland now, he’s excelling and will make another All-Star appearance in a few weeks.
Previous Ranking: 3 (Power Forwards)
3. Karl Anthony Towns – Minnesota Timberwolves
With new teammate Jimmy Butler, Towns has the Wolves at the top of their division and looking towards a possible home playoff spot for the postseason. While his scoring numbers have decreased due to the loads new of talent on the team, Towns is averaging a double-double and shooting over 50% from the field. He’ll be making his first All-Star appearance this year alongside Butler.
Previous Ranking: 1
2. Joel Embiid – Philadelphia 76ers
Embiid will also be making his first All-Star appearance this season after again improving over the offseason. With fellow young star Ben Simmons, the 23-year old has the Sixers hanging on to a playoff spot at the 8 slot currently. While he can improve even more on the offensive end, Embiid’s defensive ability makes him so valuable. Expect him to be in the MVP conversation in a few years.
Previous Ranking: 2
1. DeMarcus Cousins – New Orleans Pelicans
Seemingly just hitting his prime, Boogie is having an MVP caliber season and has had some eye opening performances consistently so far this year. The 27-year old is averaging over 25 and 12 while distributing over 5 assists a game. Alongside Anthony Davis in the frontcourt, Cousins has the Pelicans in the 6th spot in the West. A free agent this summer, the former Kentucky star is ensuring his status as a max player and will also be making an All-Star appearance next month.
Previous Ranking: 3