In today’s NBA the concept of a dominant center has become less prevalent. The NBA seems to have shifted to a guard-driven game. The NBA today is fast-paced and most teams shoot their ways to victories. Despite the change in how NBA teams model their offenses, there are still two centers that are among the best players in the league: Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid
Case For Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic has made a great case for being the best center in the NBA. Jokic is a mastermind with the ball in his hands and is without a doubt the best playmaking center of all time. He averages 8.7 assists this season, absurd numbers that seem to only be coming from point guards. This season Jokic has also clearly made the jump to be an MVP caliber player.
He has boosted his scoring average from 19.9 last season to 26.3 this season, helping the Nuggets win much-needed games. One game that stood out was when Jokic had 47 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists in a win over the Jazz. This game surely displayed his case to win the MVP. If Jokic can maintain this pace of play he can solidify himself as the best center in the league.
Case for Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid’s case for the best center is almost as good as Nikola Jokic. Drafted third overall in 2014, Embiid was seen as a top prospect. Injuries hampered his first couple of seasons leading many people to question if he would ever live up to the hype. These questions have surely been answered as Embiid is one of the best centers in today’s NBA.
Joel Embiid relies on sheer dominance, bullying defenders in the post. He is averaging 29.4 points per game and 11 rebounds. One game on Embiid’s resume that stood out to me this season was against the Chicago Bulls. He dropped 50 points and 17 rebounds in a 112-105 76ers victory. Joel has improved every single season and has proved that the 76ers “Process” is heading in the right direction. His stellar play has also led to wins for the 76ers as they are a top-three seed in the East. Embiid is certainly a top-two center in today’s NBA
Jokic or Embiid?
In a case where both players are that good, it is hard to choose between the two. I think it depends on team needs and whose surrounding them. If a team needs a playmaker. Nikola Jokic is your guy as he can make his teammates better.
If however, you are looking for a dominant scorer to lead your team Embiid is what you are looking for. These two players will certainly be in the MVP conversation for leading their respective teams. Overall these two are without a doubt the top two centers in today’s NBA.