Ranking the top 30 centers in the NBA

(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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Wendell Carter Jr. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
Wendell Carter Jr. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images) /

Washington Wizards. Kristaps Porzingis. 18. player. 142. . C

Top 30 NBA centers — 18. Kristaps Porzinigs, Wizards

To keep it short and sweet, the Mavs traded Kristaps Porzingis and got better. There’s no way around it. Porzingis’ talent and unique physical gifts are undeniable, but they’re also muted by constant injury woes and crippling flaws. He settles for a lot of bad shots, he is actively bad in the post, and he gets burned in a lot of matchups defensively. For every nifty pull-up 3, there’s an example of Porzingis getting out-muscled by a 6-foot-5 wing.

38. . C. Orlando Magic. Wendell Carter Jr.. 17. player

Top 30 NBA centers — 17. Wendell Carter Jr., Magic

Wendell Carter Jr. is on the verge of stardom. He has all the tools — 3-point shooting, footwork in the post, a real face-up game, versatility on defense — and the Magic are positioned to keep leaning heavily on Carter’s talents, no matter who the pick is at No. 1. Orlando is a long way from being good, but the defense is slowly shaping up into something scary, and Carter’s talent is very much real. Maybe they aren’t that far from being good.

89. . C. Milwaukee Bucks. Brook Lopez. 16. player

Top 30 NBA centers — 16. Brook Lopez, Bucks

Brook Lopez’s absence was deeply felt by Milwaukee in the regular season. He’s an important defensive anchor who unlocks much of Giannis’ unique brilliance on that side of the ball. Antetokounmpo still put together a DPOY candidacy, but his case wasn’t as strong as useful because of how his role shifted without Lopez (less gambling, more drop coverage). Lopez is a tall, strong wall at the rim. On offense, his spot-up shooting does a lot to diversify the Bucks’ attack.