Yesterday’s center is old news in the modern NBA. While behemoths like Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar all dominated in the post and the paint back in the day, the modern NBA center both has to be a presence inside and have the foot speed to move outside of the middle.
While they don’t need to be dominant shooters on offense, an increasing number of centers have taken the next step in their games and become versatile offensive players. Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic have jointly altered the expectations for centers in the modern NBA as well, opening up the floor with their shooting and passing.
With all of this said, compared to a few different positions, the center position in the 2023 NBA draft is one of the thinner positional groups. Obviously, Victor Wembanyama is a monumental player at the top of the draft. Still, after him, it’s a bit harder to find impact pivots after the NBA’s early entry withdrawal deadline decimated the rankings.
Even though the current crop of centers doesn’t have the same star power outside of Wembanyama, there are a number of talented big men who, with the right team, could develop into either valuable bench players or impact starters.
Here are the top ten rankings for the best 2023 draft center prospects. Players like Noah Clowney or Zach Edey were not included, due to either fitting into different positional groups or having returned to the NCAA. But let’s dive in!