Ranking 76ers’ Joel Embiid and the top 30 NBA centers

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

We’ve reached the All-Star break, and with it a momentary pause in the day-to-day freneticism of the NBA. A slew of players were shuttled off to new homes at last week’s trade deadline, while others continue to emerge as foundational building blocks for the teams that drafted them.

Recently, we have taken time to rank the 30 best players at every position — point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, and now center. For the Philadelphia 76ers, that spotlights their best player: Joel Embiid, the two-time MVP runner-up and soon-to-be All-Star starter (if he’s healthy enough).

Embiid has led Philadelphia to a commendable 38-19, including four straight victories leading up to the All-Star break. Is he good enough to earn the label of best center in the NBA? As we all know, he faces stiff competition…

Ranking Joel Embiid and the top 30 NBA centers

Detroit Pistons. Jalen Duren. 30. player. 64. . C

The youngest player in the NBA, having turned 19 only months ago, Jalen Duren has turned plenty of heads with his production in Detroit. He’s already one of the best rebounders in the NBA, vacuuming up the glass with his massive frame and explosive leaping ability. He can also finish proficiently in the paint and he should, with time, develop into a dynamic and dominant rim protector.

C. Milwaukee Bucks. Bobby Portis Sr.. 29. player. 89.

Bobby Portis Sr. has a penchant for timely buckets. His famous death-stare gaze is right at home in the playoffs. He can get exploited in certain matchups defensively, but Portis’ floor-stretching abilities and endless confidence have a profound impact on the Bucks’ second unit.

. C. Los Angeles Clippers. Mason Plumlee. 28. player. 77

Mason Plumlee doesn’t play with the flash of more notable or renowned bigs, but he’s incredibly strong in the fundamentals department. He rolls to the rim with nimble footwork, soft touch, and underrated passing vision. He’s great at locating cutters in stride. On defense, he makes up for athletic limitations by consistently putting himself in the right position.