The 10 best pivots in the NBA in 2023
Domantas Sabonis (Sacramento Kings)
The man the Kings sacrificed Tyrese Haliburton for. Was it really worth it? The future will tell. Domantas Sabonis remains a great basketball player. Weak in defense but strong in attack. A potential 20-10-5 every night.
Nikola Vucevic (Chicago Bulls)
The perfect fundamentals. Nikola Vucevic would have been a superstar in the 90s. He’s still an All-Star today, partly because he added three-point shooting to his arsenal. But despite all his talent, he sometimes weighs less than some pivots less talented offensively but stronger in impact.
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Jarrett Allen (Cleveland Cavaliers)
One of the best rim runners in the NBA, if not the best. Jarrett Allen has really turned a corner. He follows a potential DeAndre Jordan career with an extra afro and perhaps better longevity. He’s a centerpiece of one of the most exciting young teams in the league!
Al Horford (Boston Celtics)
He is low key for most of the year but Al Horford is still a cornerstone of his team. An atypical pivot, training strong winger, big defender without being a good rebounder or circle protector. It can be easy to underestimate him as his stats don’t fully reflect his impact. But those who have followed him for years know.
Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns)
He is not always respected at his fair value at the Suns – this is also why he wanted to leave this summer – but Deandre Ayton is already a real safe bet in his position, four years after his arrival in the NBA. He is carved in stone while being very mobile and he is clearly a very good two way player. He even has the potential to go higher, it’s up to him to develop it.
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Karl Anthony Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves)
On stats and pure talent, Karl-Anthony Towns could climb two places and get on the podium. The problem is that there is an almost abstract part of the intangible that is taken into account in our classification. Like attitude. The mental. The leadership. It is in all these aspects that KAT has disappointed since the beginning of his career. This is why he is finally only fifth.
Rudy Gobert (Minnesota Timberwolves)
He is often underestimated. Rudy Gobert is not just a defender. His contribution in attack is sometimes misunderstood. The Frenchman creates play with his screens, his movements towards the circle and his good passing quality. Even if it’s true that he struggles to punish smaller defenders when the opponent plays small ball (also because his teammates often « forget » him in these situations). In defense, it’s a pattern on its own. The best circle protector in the league.
Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)
Bam Adebayo was never named DPOY but he is nevertheless a more versatile defender than Rudy Gobert. Slightly less dominant near the circle but still able to deter opposing attackers from taking a chance. Above all, he is a much better attacker. More skilful at mid-distance, more complete and an interesting passer from the head of the racquet. The Heat are still waiting for it to go from star to superstar.
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Joel Embiid (Philadelphia Sixers)
Dolphin of Nikola Jokic in the two votes for the MVP, Joel Embiid still finds himself in second place. But the gap between the Serb is still light as he has a good lead on third place. The Sixers star is a scoring machine. An heir to Hakeem Olajuwon or Shaquille O’Neal. An interior that dominates on both sides of the pitch.
Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)
He is the reigning double-MVP so it is not a surprise to find him in first position in our ranking. Nikola Jokic is more than a superstar, he’s a system unto himself. Building a winning team around a pivot is not easy these days. He is the only one with Joel Embiid to really be able to assume this status in the NBA. And even if he is worse than the Cameroonian in defense, he is a little stronger in almost all the other categories. In any case enough to seem to us like the number one player on his position.