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 Evan Yu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Evan Yu/Getty Images) /

Utah Jazz. Walker Kessler. 21. player. 118. . C

The minutes and trust aren’t always there for the 21-year-old rookie (at least not on the level of his contemporaries on this list), but Walker Kessler is rapidly ascending these ranks. At 7-foot-1, he’s already one of the best rim protectors in basketball. He also gets after it on the glass and finishes over 70 percent of his field goal attempts.

77. . C. Los Angeles Clippers. Ivica Zubac. 20. player

Averaging a double-double and filling the lane with his hulking 7-foot frame, Ivica Zubac continues to provide solid backline support for the championship-aspiring Clippers. Guards have a tough time navigating around Zubac in the lane. Meanwhile, he’s an efficient rim-runner and excellent complementary passer on offense.

New Orleans Pelicans. Jonas Valanciunas. 19. player. 69. . C

His role has wavered at times this season, especially when Zion Williamson is healthy, but Jonas Valanciunas remains a singularly imposing physical force. He can bully his way to points in the paint, or stretch the floor with his 3-point shot. Set him up at the elbow, and he’s an excellent passer who can nail cutters or locate the open shooter. He can be exploited defensively in space, but challenge Valanciunas one-on-one in the paint and the results tend to skew negative.