Center was once the glamour position in the NBA. For decades, conventional wisdom dictated that the best teams absolutely had to feature a dominant big man in the post and, for the most part, that was the case. In today’s league, though, bigs are marginalized more than ever before with few dominant offensive players and an increasing focus on athleticism, versatility and rim protection.
In fact, you can count on one hand the amount of effective teams that regularly use two legitimate big men at the same time.
When it comes to the 2017 NBA Draft, there is an interesting juxtaposition, as there are a ton of first-round quality players that are, effectively, pure centers. Is there enough demand to take on this tremendous supply when many teams are actively looking to dump big men to clear their books? We’ll see, but that won’t stop several soon-to-be NBA rookies from providing a ton of intrigue when June 22 rolls around.
Today, we are tasked with unearthing the five best center prospects in this class and, for clarity’s sake, anyone who is a pure big man with the game is played today is a center in my book. We’ll get to the list now, with a hat tip toward some honorable mentions that couldn’t quite crack the top quintet.