During the month of June, we will be ranking the top 10 NBA players at each position. These rankings will be based only on the 2020-21 regular season and will not include any injured players. The positions of players were determined by ESPN. Without further ado, let’s rank the top 10 centers from the 2020-21 NBA season.
Check out my previous rankings: point guards | shooting guards | small forwards | power forwards
No. 10 | Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns
Ayton took a huge step this season, dominating the paint on both ends of the court. Through 69 games, he averaged 14.4 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. Ayton also finished fourth at the position in field goal percentage (63 percent).
No. 9 | Christian Wood, Houston Rockets
Despite battling through an ankle injury most of the season, Wood was phenomenal in his first season with the Rockets. The stretch big man averaged 21 points and 9.6 rebounds while shooting 37 percent from three. The Rockets had a disappointing season but at least they can feel content about signing Wood last offseason.
No. 8 | Jonas Valanciunas, Memphis Grizzlies
Valanciunas found a home in Memphis after averaging over 10 rebounds per game in all three seasons with the Grizzlies. This year, he put up 17.1 points and 12.5 rebounds per game while playing a career-high 28 minutes per outing. His playstyle is outdated, but Valanciunas still finds a way to fill up the stat sheet.
No. 7 | Clint Capela, Atlanta Hawks
In his first season with the Hawks, Capela developed a strong connection with star point guard Trae Young. That connection has been a strong reason why Atlanta has reached the Eastern Conference Finals. In 63 regular-season games played, Capela averaged 15.2 points, a league-best 14.3 rebounds, and two blocks per game.
No. 6 | Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat
Adebayo showed out this season after signing a max-extension in the offseason. He averaged career-highs in points (18.7) and assists (5.4) while also grabbing nine rebounds per game. Adebayo was also selected to the NBA All-Defensive Team this season.
No. 5 | Nikola Vučević, Orlando Magic/Chicago Bulls
Vucevic was traded mid-season from the Magic to the Bulls and performed consistently well in both places. Only missing two games, he averaged 23.4 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game while posting 48/40/84 shooting splits.
No. 4 | Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
Towns missed several weeks due to Covid-19 protocols but dominated when playing. The star center put up 24.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 4.5 assists on 49 percent shooting. Despite not playing a full season the past two years, Towns has proved to be a superstar in the league.
No. 3 | Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
One of the best defenders and most efficient scorers in the league, Gobert put together another solid campaign in 2021. He averaged 14.3 points, 13.5 rebounds, and led the league in both blocks per game (2.7) and field goal percentage (68 percent). His best game of the season came against the Warriors when he put up 24 points, grabbed 28 rebounds, and blocked four shots. Gobert also won his third career Defensive Player of the Year Award.
No. 2 | Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
An MVP candidate the entire season, Embiid led the 76ers to the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Through 51 games, he scored a position-best 28.5 points per game, while also averaging 10.6 rebounds and leading the league with 10.6 free throw attempts each outing. Embiid’s best performance this season was when he dropped 50 points and 17 rebounds on the Bulls.
No. 1 | Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Jokic became the first center to win MVP since Shaquille O’Neal back in the 1999-00 NBA season. He played every game this season, averaging 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists. Jokic also posted 57/39/87 shooting splits and racked up 16 triple-doubles. His best game came in the second round of the playoffs, in which he had 32 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 assists.
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