Big News: A Loaded Group of Center Prospects In The 2024 NBA Draft

The center position was once highly valued in the NBA. Then small-ball took over the league for a while and the center position became much less important. But in recent years we’ve seen the reemergence of the importance of the position, with Nikola Jokic winning his first championship and Joel Embiid winning an MVP.

We probably won’t see a return to an era of teams throwing it into the post every time down the court but the center position is no longer an afterthought. In fact, it’s gaining in importance, as more and more high level centers are drafted into the league.

For teams hoping to solidify this position the 2024 draft offers a really strong group of center prospects. In what is widely considered an overall weak draft class the center position has a lot of strength. Here are the 10 best centers, all likely to get drafted or be priority free agents.

The Top 10 Centers In The 2024 NBA Draft

1) Donovan Clingan – 7-2 – UConn – Sophomore – Clingan has helped his draft stock more than any other player this March, putting in dominant defensive performances while looking like an unstoppable force in the paint. His impact on the defensive end can’t be overstated, he simply shuts down the lane like few prospects we’ve ever seen. On the offensive end he’s got some limitations as a shooter but is a very high level passer for a center and has a really good understanding of spacing, cutting, ball movement and the flow of the game. He probably won’t be a first option offensive player, like an Embiid, but with his screening, rolling, passing out of the short roll and his touch around the rim he should be a very good offensive player in the NBA.

2) Alexandre Sarr – 7-1 – France – After being considered as the potential no.1 overall pick in this draft I’m starting to question whether Sarr is even the best center prospect in the class, due to Clingan’s rise. Sarr has special athletic ability of a 7-1 player with great mobility and coordination, which especially stands out on the defensive end. He defends at the rim, although he can get pushed around a little, and is impressive when guarding in space and switching on the perimeter. He has decent touch on his baby hooks and mid range jumper and shows some flashes of floor-spacing, but is still a long ways off with his shooting. I think he’ll eventually be really good in the NBA but it’ll take some time and (like with all players in this class) I’d be nervous to draft him no.1 overall.

3) Yves Missi – 6-11 – Baylor – Freshman – I’m such a massive fan of Missi but even I can’t put him above either Clingan or Sarr. He’s a raw talent who is still new to the game and figuring things out but his athletic profile is elite and his upside, especially on the defensive end, is tantalizing. It’ll be important for him to land in a good developmental system in the NBA, preferably with a few high level passers around him, to speed up his progress. Missi’s offense has more potential than I think he gets credit for. He’s a crafty finisher, shows some flashes of a face-up game and has elite quickness for a big, allowing him to beat his man off the dribble. As his handles, feel and touch develop he could become a problem for opposing defenders. I’d be tempted by Missi in the late lottery but wouldn’t be surprised if he lands in the 15-22 range on draft night.

4) Zach Edey – 7-4 – Purdue (Canada) – Senior – While I’ve been a bit lower on Edey throughout the season I definitely see a clear role for him; at the very least as a productive big off the bench who changes the dynamic of the game – and at best a starting level center who might have some defensive limitations but can have a massive impact on the offensive end. I was torn between ranking him above or below Missi and Chomche – they are all such different prospects with very different projected roles. At the end of the day it’s easy to see a path for Edey to at least deliver rotation-big value for whichever team drafts him.

5) Ulrich Chomche – 6-11 – NBA Academy Africa (Cameroon) – Chomche is an upside-swing type of prospect who has a real chance to end up as one of the better players in this draft class, if he keeps on his current trajectory. He’s a standout defender with ideal physical tools and really good defensive instincts. At 6-11, with a strong frame and a 7-4 wingspan he’s got the requisite size for the league. On the offensive end he’s efficient scoring around the rim and finishing plays in the paint. Plus he shows a lot of promise as a face-up shooter, with good form, good rotation on the ball and growing confidence in his outside shot. His shot isn’t just theoretical; he’s going to be a floor spacer at the NBA level. As the youngest prospect in the draft class (who could still decide to spend a year in college or play overseas) he’s well ahead of the curve and it’s impressive how advanced his game and his frame are at this age. Honestly, the more I watch of Chomche the more I want to put him at least in the top 20, if not late lottery.

6) Kel’el Ware – 7-0 – Indiana – Sophomore – Ware is an immensely talented player who has great tools, awesome size and advanced skills. But there are some reasons he’s not mocked as a high first round pick, including a perceived lack of energy/effort/fire on the court and a somewhat light frame. He’s an upside play that could pay off big time if he proves to have pro-level wort ethic but there’s some bust potential here as well.

7) DaRon Holmes II – 6-10 – Dayton – Junior – Holmes II is a rock solid prospect who isn’t likely to be a star but is a pretty sure thing to have a NBA career and could be a valuable rotation player for a long time. He’s a good rebounder, solid post defender and has a bit of switch-ability. He’s also starting to space the floor and can hit the open jumper. While he’s very much a role player and likely a bench big, that can be really good value in the early to mid second round.

8) Adem Bona – 6-10 – UCLA (Nigeria) – Sophomore – A hate having Bona this low. I love watching him play and see a clear role for him as an energy big, versatile defender and play finisher at the NBA level. It’s unlikely that he develops much of a perimeter game and so his upside is a bit limited but teams looking for a big who can fly up and down the court and guard all over the place would do well to land Bona, especially if he slips to the mid second round.

9) Zvonimir Ivisic – 7-3 – Kentucky (Croatia) – Freshman – Just based on upside Ivisic could be a lot higher on this list but after seeing limited minutes in a limited number of games at Kentucky it’ll take a strong pre-draft process for him to rise up draft boards. It’s rare to find a 7-2 dude who has solid mobility, defensive instincts, floor spacing and passing ability. Those traits are special and could very well lead to a great NBA career for the young Croatian big man. There are just a lot of unknowns right now. He’s one of the most intriguing prospects that I’ll be watching during the pre-draft process and at the combine – and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a late riser. His brother Tomislav is a solid center prospect as well, with second round potential.

10) Ariel Hukporti – 7-0 – Melbourne, NBL (Germany) – Hukporti is a physical specimen who projects as a back-up/rotation big who could contribute some minutes early in his career. He’s a physical presence in the post who throws his weight around and is an enforcer. He’s probably never going to be a full time starter but could be a solid value pick in the mid to late second round or as an un-drafted free agent.

See where these players land in the latest 2024 NBA Mock Draft