Between Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid, who’s the best center in the NBA? Nine big men weigh in. – The Denver Post

Rarely does Nikola Jokic look lost on a basketball court.

While Gianni’s Antetokounmpo galloped from end to end and Joel Embiid set off for the windmill, Jokic tumbled back and forth during the All-Star Game in Cleveland, eventually falling into his role as Team LeBron’s garbage man.

“Best in-bounder on the planet,” Jokic said afterwards.

The reigning MVP was benched throughout the fourth quarter, relegated to its more athletic teammates.

Asked by The Denver Post if such games were difficult for him, Jokic offered an all-time answer.

“For me, it actually is,” he said. “I do not know what to do.”

That way, and in dozens of others, Jokic is a basketball anomaly. He’s a center with a point guard’s inclinations and a superstar with a benchwarmers ego. He is also the odds favorite to only become the fifth center in NBA history to win back-to-back MVPs.

Asked the same weekend about his design on another MVP, Jokic said he would be happy as long as a big man won the award.

“There’s not even a little bit of bad blood between us,” Jokic said of Embid. “I think (he is) a great player.”

The anecdote became the feed for debate shows and an argument that allegedly prevented him from being the best player in the NBA. As the temperature of the MVP race rose and the arguments for Jokic, Embiid and Antetokounmpo crystallized, an even simpler question arose among NBA giants: Who was the best center in basketball?

Since February, when the MVP seemed to answer that question, The Post has asked nine different big men a series of questions that revolve around which player – Jokic or Embiid – was the toughest matchup.

Here’s what they had to say.

What makes Nikola Jokic so hard to stop?

AARon Ontiveroz, The Denver Post

Nikola Jokic (15) of the Denver Nuggets wears a headband after being cut and bled as he discards Steven Adams (4) of the Memphis Grizzlies during the first quarter on Thursday, April 7, 2022.

Jarrett Allen, Cleveland Cavaliers: “If you fail your guard yourself in a split second, he will make a pass to the corner. If you fail your guard for a split second, he will somehow make three spin moves on you and he will have an open layup at the edge. He only has so many things for his package that you have to take care of. ”

Ivica Zubac, Los Angeles Clippers: “Nothing. I’m making fun. Shoot, everything. He can handle the ball, he can shoot from the outside, he can score in the post, on the midfield, whatever. It’s like you have to choose your poison, you have to live with “It’s hard.… You just have to hope it’s not his day.… His skills are amazing. It’s hard to pressure him to do something he does not want to do.”

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