Breaking down Jakob Poeltl's competition at the center position
Now that we've gotten into the details of Poeltl's case for the top ten, let's lay out who his competition is. Looking across the position there are a few ultra-talented guys, a fairly sizeable group of All-Stars to fringe All-Stars, then everyone else. But that gap between the ultra-talented and everyone else is massive.
At the top, we have Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic. Rank those two against each other however you want, I'm not picky. They're perennial MVP candidates, otherworldly talents who stand head and shoulders above everyone else at this position. You could include Anthony Davis in this group but he's a touch below Jokic and Embiid.
In the All-Star to fringe All-Star group, you've got Bam Adebayo, Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, Deandre Ayton, Jaren Jackson Jr., Lauri Markkanen of the surprising Utah Jazz, Domantas Sabonis who's having a very impressive season for the upstart Sacramento Kings, and Myles Turner who has quietly had a very impressive season for the Indiana Pacers. And you can't forget the duo in Cleveland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen.
Strangely enough, Brook Lopez might not end up being an All-Star but he could reasonably win Defensive Player of the Year. He's a key reason why the Milwaukee Bucks have been strangling opponents all season and has definitely been playing at a higher level than Poeltl has been so far.
For those of you keeping track, that's 14 centers who should reasonably be ahead of Poeltl - at least in my personal rankings. And it doesn't take a math wizard to see where this is going.