Ranking the top 30 centers in the NBA

(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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Jarrett Allen (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Jarrett Allen (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

156. . C. Cleveland Cavaliers. Jarrett Allen. 9. player

Top 30 NBA centers — 9. Jarrett Allen, Cavaliers

Jarrett Allen made his first All-Star appearance as the centerpiece of Cleveland’s revamped defense. He’s a towering shot blocker with nimble feet in space and next-level hops. On offense, he proved himself capable of big games. He’s dominant in the paint — too big, too strong, and too athletic. He can go through or over most defenders and he’s one of the premier finishers in the game as a result.

8. player. 66. . C. Phoenix Suns. Deandre Ayton

Top 30 NBA centers — 8. Deandre Ayton, Suns

A pitiful end to the season has generated quite a bit of speculation around Deandre Ayton’s future. Will the Suns pay up, or will the former No. 1 pick find a new home? Either way, he should be right back in the conversation for best up-and-coming big next season. Ayton’s year-to-year improvement arc is mighty impressive. He’s adding range to his jumper and improving his defensive fundamentals. A bigger role with a new team could facilitate another leap for Ayton. If he stays with Phoenix, he’ll be right back in championship contention next season. It’s win-win.

84. . C. Sacramento Kings. Domantas Sabonis. 7. player

Top 30 NBA centers — 7. Domantas Sabonis, Kings

The Kings’ decision to trade for Domantas Sabonis was met with considerable pushback. Ultimately, it was probably the wrong choice — Sacramento isn’t good enough to trade elite young talent for “win-now” players who aren’t superstars. That said, Sabonis does make the Kings better in the short term. He’s a dominant post scorer with balletic footwork and dynamic playmaking chops. He creates for teammates as effortlessly as he creates for himself, and he has already showed promising chemistry in two-man actions with De’Aaron Fox.