NBA center tiers 6-4:
Tier 6B: Young with the potential to leap into tier 5
- 28. Mark Williams
- 27. Robert Williams
- 26. Mitchell Robinson
- 25. Jalen Duren
These centers have too much potential to be lumped into the regular sixth tier (you’ll understand when we get there) but they have not fully proven that they are capable of making that leap. Some of them may end up finding their lane in the fifth tier while others will make that jump.
Jalen Duren is the most exciting of this bunch and has the best chance to leap into the fifth tier and become a difference-maker for the Detroit Pistons.
Tier 6A: Serviceable starters that aren’t bad, but aren’t irreplaceable
- 24. Steven Adams
- 23. Ivica Zubac
- 22. Clint Capela
- 21. Jonas Valancunias
- 20. Al Horford
- 19. Nikola Vucevic
These are the kind of centers that you could plug into any team and be happy with what they are going to give you. But because of that, they are also centers that can be replaced if the team needs to make a change.
Heck, the Memphis Grizzlies have showcased this, literally going from Jonas Valancunias to Steven Adams in recent years. Both guys are fine and can play their respective roles on their teams.
Nikola Vucevic and Al Horford are certainly above this tier when they are playing at their best. However, both guys are well over 30 and are likely going to start regressing here soon.
Tier 5: Above-average starters that have something to be excited about
- 18. Wendell Carter Jr.
- 17. Alperen Sengun
- 16. Walker Kessler
- 15. Nic Claxton
- 14. Jakob Poeltl
- 13. Jarrett Allen
- 12. Myles Turner
- 11. Deandre Ayton
- 10. Brook Lopez
Whether it be the elite defense of Brook Lopez, the exciting play and potential of a younger guy like Walker Kessler, or the insane numbers that Jakob Poeltl put up in Toronto, these centers carve out a spot above tier 6 because there is something that differentiates them and makes them exciting.
No team that has a center in this tier would replace them with anyone from tier 6. Could someone in tier 6 be a replacement for a tier 5 player if they leave in free agency? Sure. But these teams are happy with their guys.
Tier 4: Could be All-NBA in the next three years but haven’t played an NBA minute yet
- 9. Chet Holmgren
- 8. Victor Wembanyama
It might seem absurd to rank two players who have not played an NBA minute this high on a tier list. But it is warranted when Victor Wembanyama has been tabbed as the best prospect since LeBron while Chet Holmgren was one of the most polished college players we have seen in recent years.
Every single team that has a center in tier 5 would instantly swap them for one of Chet of Wemby, even if they only got them for one season. When considering future value, these two could probably be traded for anyone not in the top two tiers.