By bringing in Nikola Vucevic at the trade deadline, the Chicago Bulls gained one of the most versatile centers in the NBA, considering the impact big men such as the 30-year old can have in the league.
Although the game has adapted to suit shooters, with the likes of Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry and James Harden flourishing, the most dominant NBA teams have a versatile 5 on the floor. The Philadelphia 76ers have benefitted with Joel Embiid's improved performances this season, while the Utah Jazz have reaped rich dividends from Rudy Gobert's outings at both ends of the court.
Nevertheless, with more attention being given to the NBA's big men and Nikola Jokic taking the top spot in the MVP race recently, let's take a look into the top five versatile centers in the NBA. The list is not in chronological order of superiority but rewards players for their adaptive playing styles.
Top 5 versatile centers in the NBA
To pick out the most versatile centers in the NBA, we have taken into account all aspects of the game, not simply scoring and rebounding - as traditional centers pride themselves on.
Our list looks at how big men have adapted to fit into the modern NBA, be it making free throws or stepping beyond the 3-point line, among other aspects. So without further ado, let's get started.
#1 Nikola Jokic
2020-21 Season: MP: 35.7, PPG: 26.9, AST: 8.5, RPG: 11.1, FG%: 57.1 .
Nikola Jokic is the quintessential big man and one of the most versatile centers in the NBA. Although the 26-year old has shown his development and all-round game for a number of years, his stats in this campaign have been phenomenal.
The first stat that jumps off the page is his triple-double contribution. Jokic has already recorded 12 this season, a number no other center in the league remotely comes close to; he also has 41 double-doubles in 46 games.
He has been able to achieve this feat through his distribution, assisting 8.5 field-goals per night, 3.2 more than the next highest contributor, Bam Adebayo.
Jokic has been the Nuggets' heartbeat at both ends of the floor this season, improving his output across all the traditional barometers.
He is recording career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals and all shooting categories in which he is averaging close to 50-40-90 splits (57.1 - 42.8 - 86.8). If there was ever a time to award a center the NBA MVP award, it would be now.
#2 Nikola Vucevic
2020-21 Season: MP: 33.9, PPG: 24.4, AST: 3.8, RPG: 11.6, FG%: 48.5.
Nikola Vucevic's talents were evidently being wasted at the Orlando Magic. Therefore, eyeing a rebuild, the Magic parted ways with their standout star this season, and the Chicago Bulls were happy to land him.
In the mega-deal, the Bulls were evidently acutely aware of Vucevic's worth as one of the most versatile centers in the NBA. By acquiring him, the Bulls hope to become a contender for the playoffs this season.
The 3-time All-Star is having a career-high scoring year in his 10th NBA campaign. He makes his way into our list of the five most versatile centers in the NBA due to his reliable, high-volume shooting.
His 20.4 attempts per night eclipses Jokic's 18.6 for the most among the NBA's big men this season, with Vucevic connecting almost half of his efforts.
Vucevic also takes the most 3-point efforts with 6.4, making over 40%, which puts him among the 12 most accurate shooters in the NBA who attempt 6.4 threes or more.