Last week we did a few pieces on Top 10 Guards and Forwards in the NBA. Today we will look at the Top 10 Big Men in the NBA.
10. Nikola Jokic
Jokic recently garnered the NBA’s attention, especially after the Denver Nuggets moved his frontcourt mate Jusuf Nurkic to Portland. Jokic has shown flashes of brilliance, especially with his passing ability in the open floor. Without Nurkic sucking up space on the floor, Jokic has flourished as a young building block for a Denver team with young potential all over the roster. Fans should expect big things from Jokic next season, as it will be his first season with the room to maneuver and facilitate from both the elbow and block.
9. Hassan Whiteside
Whiteside is one of the most intriguing stories in the NBA. After toiling overseas and in the D-League for two years, he kicked in the door with the Miami Heat, posting triple-doubles with points, rebounds, and blocks. He led the NBA in blocks per game in 2016-2017, and his team narrowly missed the playoffs. Without Chris Bosh, teams have been able to focus more on Whiteside when the Heat have the ball. But as he continues to develop, Whiteside will be a threat to dominate on both ends of the floor.
8. Andre Drummond
Drummond is something of an enigma in the East. As the cornerstone of a rebuilding Detroit team, he has quietly posted a double-double for the last four seasons. Once Detroit traded Greg Monroe and went all in on Drummond, his ability to score inside flourished. However, Drummond suffers from the same shortcomings as DeAndre Jordan: the inability to hit free throws and score from outside the paint. As long as teams keep Drummond on the outside, his potential to dominate will be limited.
7. Al Horford
The first big man on the rankings from the East, Horford has consistently provided steady play on the court, when healthy. Horford has battled injuries his whole career, with concussions being his limitation this season. Boston is a much more well-rounded team with him on the court, but his liabilities on defense are why Horford falls toward the bottom of the list. He should have had a better postseason for Boston, but he failed to dominate against weaker post players and is not a reliable rimprotector.
6. Marc Gasol
Gasol has been one of the most dependable big men in the league, leading Memphis Grizzlies to the playoffs and a potential Western Conference Finals contender. Alongside Michael Conley, Gasol is a big piece of the Grit and Grind machine and in this season he became a threat shooting the three as well. However, since enduring a foot injury in 2015-2016 and with lingering issues from that injury, Gasol has lost a step and is no longer the defensive presence he once was. As he gets older, and Memphis continues early playoff exits, Gasol will continue to slide down the rankings.
5. Rudy Gobert
Known as The Stifle Tower, the young Frenchman is a perennial candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. However, Gobert has started to show more comfort on the offensive end for the Utah Jazz, averaging double-digit scoring numbers for the first time in his NBA career. Gobert anchors a young Utah defense that seems to be in position to challenge the West powers. Gobert is just 24, and if his game can improve as much as it has so far, he could soon surpass bigs like Jordan.
4. DeAndre Jordan
Jordan is the first non-Kentucky product in the rankings. As a key member of Lob City for the Los Angeles Clippers, Jordan’s ability to finish above the rim is astounding and his defensive presence forces teams to try to score away from the paint. However, Jordan lacks an offensive game from outside of the paint, and his poor free-throw shooting forces him off the floor in close games. For this reason alone, Jordan slots in at fourth.
3. DeMarcus Cousins
When uninspired, Cousins can be more harm than help to his team. But when “Boogie” is focused, he has the ability to dominate games on both ends of the floor. Cousins’ scoring numbers dipped slightly after being traded to the New Orleans Pelicans and learning to play alongside Davis, but his versatility means the team could be a monster in the West once both bigs are comfortable playing next to each other. Once they figure it out, and opponents are forced to double-team one or the other, Cousins should see his production soar.
2. Karl-Anthony Towns
In just two seasons without missing a game, KAT has improved his numbers in every major statistical category for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Towns has the versatility to impact the game in many different ways, whether he is dunking on opponents, grabbing boards or swatting away the other team’s shots. What keeps him behind fellow Kentucky product Davis is his inexperience in carrying his team for an entire season. While Towns cannot be blamed for having a young supporting cast, Davis has taken mediocre talent and carried the team to a playoff appearance, despite playing in the tough West.
1. Anthony Davis
The only reason that the Brow seems to stay out of the national spotlight is because he plays for the small-market New Orleans Pelicans. Even with more national TV appearances this year, Davis has seen his game soar, flirting with a quadruple-double on a handful of occasions. He remains the most electrifying big man in the league. In his only career playoff appearance, Davis averaged over 31 points per game, showing he is ready for the high pressure situations that await his team if they can get over the hump.
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