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
Nikola Jokic (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports) /

1. Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic

2020-21 PER: 31.1, VORP: 8.6, BPM: 11.7

If you were expecting someone else, check your pulse. If it feels healthy, check yourself into some kind of institution, anyway.

Nikola Jokic unsurprisingly checks in at the number one spot in these rankings, and it wasn’t remotely close. He actually ranked number one in every metric used to compile this list. That 11.7 BPM is not a typo.

The league’s residing Most Valuable Player is the best passing big man of all time, and that’s not a particularly controversial claim. He may be the best passer in the NBA. He may be the best player in the NBA.

His 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game throughout 2020-21 are beyond worthy of an MVP winner. An offensive system onto himself, the Joker contrasts sharply with Rudy Gobert, who has been the defensive backbone of the Utah Jazz for years.

That’s impressive, but Jokic’s offense obviously has to outweigh Gobert’s defense in these rankings. Besides, Jokic may actually be an underrated defensive player, as his 109 Defensive Rating from last season is actually an entirely solid mark. Jokic is willing to work on that end, landing himself in the correct position as often as his slow feet allow. If his feet are a touch sluggish, his hands are anything but, which allowed him to grab 1.4 steals per game last season.

Anyway, that’s enough about Nikola Jokic’s defense. His 130 Offensive Rating from last season is screaming for attention.

Next. 5 can't-miss games on the 2021-22 Jazz schedule. dark

Jokic walked away from last season with the NBA’s highest individual award, and he’ll likely continue to compete for it in years to come. He is the best center in basketball, and he finishes with a deserved number one placement in these rankings.