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
Joel Embiid (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) /

2. Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid

2020-21 PER: 30.3, VORP: 3.7, BPM: 7.5

If the debate between Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Chicago Bulls big Nikola Vucevic is the debate between offense and defense, then the debate ends with Joel Embiid. Here, the two factors coalesce into one NBA superstar.

Embiid’s PER of 30.3 defies hyperbolic adjectives. Player Efficiency Rating is a stat that attempts to aggregate a player’s overall value in a single number. For context, 15.0 represents an average rotational NBA player.

In other words, Embiid is twice as good as the average NBA player. That’s superstar territory, and Embiid fits the bill. An elite two-way force, Embiid’s 104 defensive rating last season is indicative of his status as one of the league’s best rim protectors. His basic counting stats of 28.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 1.0 steals per game basically tell you what you need to know.

In contrast to the Utah Jazz’s conventional big man Rudy Gobert, Embiid is a walking contradiction, at once a throwback and modern big. His low post game is transplanted from the 90s, as he can beat defenders with a variety of spins, head fakes and fadeaway jumpers down low. Still, his range stretches as far as the three-point line, as indicated by his 37.7% shooting on 3.0 attempts per game last season.

Unfortunately for Embiid and the Philly faithful alike, injuries have plagued the confident big man throughout his NBA career to date. Last season, he was held to 50 out of 72 games, a particular shame in light of the solid MVP case he was in “The Process” of building.

Instead, he had to settle for a second place finish to the same man you’re about to see in the next slide of this article.