I wrote a positional five part series on this breakdown for NBA 2K17, but had players in my rankings that weren’t all attainable due to either astronomical salaries or being superstars that the respective team they played for were not willing to let go of at all (think Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Davis). This go-round the aim of my list is to include players you can not only acquire by reasonable (or over-valued) trade, but players that may not be at Kyrie Irving levels — but have the potential to get there. My rankings are based on whom I believe are the best options for the given position, factoring in age, salary and potential rating (both grade and numerical).
5. Enes Kanter, Age 25 – New York Knicks
83 Overall, B+ (83) Potential; $20.57M One-Year Contract
Now out on his own after two years alongside Steven Adams, Kanter is holding his own this year in New York. With current averages of 13.4 points and 10.0 rebounds per game, Kanter is a double-double machine and has really shown his value as a big man. He’ll cost you a pretty penny, but if you can strike the right deal for him he’s an asset worth having for your rebuilding franchise.
4. Rudy Gobert, Age 25 – Utah Jazz
86 Overall, A- (88) Potential; $97.00M Four-Year Contract
Now in his fourth year in the NBA, the French big man has been holding down the paint in Utah for his entire career. Current season averages of 11.6 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game are proof enough that he can contribute on both sides of the floor — sadly he’s dealt with injuries much of the season. Gobert’s potential is sky high and he’s a center that’s worthy of being added to your rebuilding roster. You are going to have to wheel and deal to pull off a trade for him, and he does carry a very sizable contract, but the time and effort to get him will pay off on the court.
3. Clint Capela, Age 23 – Houston Rockets
87 Overall, A- (87) Potential; $2.33M One-Year Contract
Clint Capela has come a long way, and fast. Now in his third NBA season, the Swiss center has evolved into one of the most dangerous bigs in the league after joining the starting lineup last season. Current season averages of 14.3 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game are signs enough that Capela is the real deal; you also have to take into consideration that he’s putting up these numbers on a stacked team that includes James Harden and Chris Paul. Adding him to your rebuilding roster will be a chore but worth the time spent; he’s still quite young and his potential is through the roof — and he’s already one of the best rim-running bigs in the NBA. Work on adding him if you can.
2/1. Joel Embiid (Age 23, Philadelphia 76ers), Nikola Jokic (Age 22, Denver Nuggets) or Karl-Anthony Towns (Age 22, Minnesota Timberwolves)
89 Overall, A+ (91) Potential; $6.10M One-Year Contract, 89 Overall, A (90) Potential; $1.47M One-Year Contract, 88 Overall, A (95) Potential; $14.06M Two-Year Contract
Between Embiid, Jokic and Towns, there really isn’t much to be said that isn’t known already. They’re all insanely good, and they’re all tough to acquire. Embiid is the best two-way player of the three and most centers have a hard time stopping him. Jokic can do it all and is a fantastic passer for a center, averaging 5.0 assists per game this year. Lastly, Karl-Anthony Towns is efficient on offense, and is even finally showing some signs of life on defense. These three players are all arguably the top center, so it’s really up to you in terms of what you want to build around. Unlike the other four lists, these guys are quite difficult to acquire by trade but it can be done for your roster rebuild. You’ve got to remember that a roster rebuild generally focuses on one or two players; any of the three of these guys would definitely be one of the players that would be smart to build around.
Who do you think would be the best center listed to build around? Throw a comment in and let us know.