The Philadelphia 76ers biggest area of improvement this summer was at the center position, but just how well does it stack up against other team’s?
The end of last season, it can argued that the Philadelphia 76ers had the worst center depth behind Joel Embiid in the NBA. During this past summer, general manage Elton Brand made some much needed improvements. The additions of former All-Star Al Horford and veteran Kyle O’Quinn are such massive upgrades that the Sixers arguably have the best depth at the center in the NBA entering this upcoming season.
Embiid is a superstar in this league, Horford is one of better defensive centers in the NBA and O’Quinn is an underrated backup centers. Horford will be starting games at power forward, but will be at center for a good portion of games. O’Quinn is the best emergency center that the Sixers could have gotten on the market. Most team’s don’t have two quality centers and the Sixers have three on their roster not counting Jonah Bolden and Norvel Pelle.
There are only five teams that have two starting caliber centers on their roster. The Brooklyn Nets added DeAndre Jordan after Embiid had his way with Jarrett Allen in the playoffs last season. Both Jordan and Allen are starting caliber centers, but Allen is still very raw and Jordan is past his defensive prime. They are good enough to start for most teams, but aren’t anywhere near the talent level that the Sixers have at center.
More from The Sixer Sense
The Toronto Raptors have Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. Former All-Star Gasol is past his prime and last season Ibaka came off the bench. The duo got the best of the injured Embiid during this past poseason, but they won’t be able to matchup against Embiid and Horford this season.
The young duo of Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis make the the Indian Pacers dangerous. Turner has big potential as a defender and floor spacer, whereas Sabonis is good a passer and rebounder, along with solid low post scoring skills. It’s unclear if they can play together, but rotating them at the center spot gives the Pacers good depth there. Still neither are close to the talent level of Embiid or even Horford.
The Portland Trail Blazers will have very good depth once Jusuf Nurkic returns form injury. He and Hassan Whiteside will be battling for the starting role and Zach Collins will be taking minutes as the third string center as well. Whiteside and Nurkic are very good defensive centers, while Collins is a modern stretch big. The Blazers will have very good depth once Nurkic returns, but until then, its not the best.
The Denver Nuggets are the only team that has a center of Embiid’s caliber in All-Star Nikola Jokic. Jokic could go down as the best passing center in the history of the NBA when his career is over. Mason Plumlee is an borderline starter in this league and is a solid backup for Jokic. While Jokic is comparable to Embiid, Plumlee isn’t on the same level as Horford.
The Philadelphia 76ers have the best center depth in the NBA. There are few teams that have two starting caliber center on their roster and the ones that do, don’t have two All-Star caliber centers on their roster like the Sixers have.