25 Greatest Centers in NBA History

The greatest centers have traditionally been expected to be the biggest and strongest players on the court.

Low post moves and footwork is needed to get by defenders, while also having the reach, lateral quickness, and verticality to protect the rim on the defensive end.

Ranked are the twenty-five greatest centers in NBA history. Centers that played in the ABA are considered but their time in the ABA is not given considerable weight.

 

25. Bill Laimbeer
Bill Laimbeer

Points Per Game Blocks Per Game             Offensive Rating
12.9 0.9        115

Laimbeer was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers and played a couple of seasons there before being traded to the Detroit Pistons. It was in Detroit that Laimbeer would make his mark in the NBA as a scrappy defensive player and intentional irritant for opposing players. Though remembered largely for his dirty play, Laimbeer was a highly skilled big man.

 

24. Ben Wallace
Ben Wallace

Points Per Game Blocks Per Game             Offensive Rating
5.7 2.0        106

Big Ben went undrafted in the famous 1996 NBA Draft class. However, after finally getting the chance to prove himself, it quickly became obvious that Wallace belonged in the NBA. Though it is hardly an exaggeration to call him one of the worst offensive players of all time, Wallace more than made up for this by being one of the greatest defensive players to ever exist in the known universe.

 

23. Bill Walton
Bill Walton

Points Per Game Blocks Per Game             Offensive Rating
13.5 2.2        103*

The original “what-if” story, Walton was both a defensive behemoth and one of the most skilled offensive players of his era before a slew of injuries largely derailed his career. Despite his injury history, Walton still managed to be a two-time champion, MVP, Finals MVP, and even won the Sixth Man of the Year Award.

 

 22. Yao Ming
Yao Ming

Points Per Game Blocks Per Game             Offensive Rating
19.0 1.9        112

The towering 7’6” Ming was expected to turn heads and more importantly win championships when paired with fellow superstar Tracy McGrady. Though he would ultimately fail to secure an NBA championship, Yao did turn heads in the NBA, shutting down elite players and scoring on the best of them at will.

 

 21. Chris Bosh
Chris Bosh

Points Per Game Blocks Per Game             Offensive Rating
19.2 1.0        113

A versatile big man that played multiple positions, Bosh was a versatile big man that stretched the floor and still had more sophisticated moves in the low post than most. Unfortunately, health issues cut his career short.

 

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