Utah Jazz: Ranking Rudy Gobert among NBA’s top centers

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Utah Jazz
Bam Adebayo (Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports) /

5. Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo

2020-21 PER: 22.7, VORP: 3.6, BPM: 4.5 

For the most part, the concept of the “modern center” elicits thoughts of seven footers launching triples on a nightly basis. Adebayo is different; he’s modern in every way besides three-point shooting.

Need additional playmaking? Adebayo gives you plenty, as evidenced by his 5.4 assists per game last season. Need perimeter defense? Adebayo has you covered. At 6’9 and 255 lbs with nimble feet, elite instincts and a solid vertical jump, Bam is the rare center who can protect the rim while also, if necessary, surviving switches onto wings of all variety and even some guards.

So, what held Adebayo backed in comparison to Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert and the rest of his NBA peers at the center position?

Well, Adebayo ranks last among this group of elite NBA centers in both points and rebounds per game, which is likely reflected in his (also dead last) PER. Also, we might have already mentioned his lack of triples, but they bear repeating. Adebayo shot a whopping 0.1 attempts per game last season. While Gobert is also a non-spacer, (spoiler alert) the other 3 men on this list are effective stretch 5s.

That’s perfectly fine. Adebayo doesn’t need to shoot 3s to be devastatingly effective. He has too many other skills to hand-wring over one he’s lacking. However, with margins as narrow as the ones separating the following men, every skill counts. A relative lack of points and rebounds combined with an absolute lack of three-point shooting limits Bam Adebayo’s advanced metrics and lands him fifth overall in these rankings.