Joel Embiid, Kristaps Porzingis, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Karl-Anthony Towns NBA's young big men ()Joel Embiid, Kristaps Porzingis, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Karl-Anthony Towns NBA's young big men () © Copyright

New Giants

Historically, most NBA big men (6ft 10in and over) are low-skilled athletes who tear down rebounds and dunk without having to jump – but the trend has changed, and the league is now filled with an array of big men who are cornerstones of their team’s offense and defense. Here are our favourites… 

Joel Embiid 

NBA's Joel Embid looks for a pass ()

 

Age 22

Nationality Cameroonian

Position Center

Team Philadelphia 76ers

Joel Embiid was drafted in 2014, but missed his first two seasons injured. This year, he finally made his debut, and has lifted the Sixers – the worst team in the NBA – from the doldrums. Standing 7ft, the Cameroonian center can defend the basket and attack up close, and he can shoot threes. Provided he stays fit, he’s likely to be Rookie of the Year, and runs the best social media of any player in the league – most of which involves him flirting outrageously with Rihanna on Twitter.

 

Kristaps Porzingis 

Kristaps Porzingis looks for a pass ()

 

Age 21

Nationality Latvian

Position Power Forward

Team New York Knicks

When the Knicks drafted Porzingis in 2015, MSG rang with boos – why had the Knicks wasted an early lottery pick on a tall ungainly European forward? In his first season, the Latvian was a revelation – he looks too skinny to handle the physically of the NBA but like Dirk Nowitzki, can drift to the perimeter and drape three pointers over small guards. It’s a matter of when, not if, he’ll become an NBA All Star. Go follow him on Instagram and Twitter, like now.

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo 

Giannis Antetokounmpo dribbling ()

 

Age 22

Nationality Greek

Position Every position

Team Milwaukee Bucks

With every passing game, it becomes clearer that Giannis 'The Greek Freak' Antetokounmpo is the NBA’s next LeBron. Tall, long and unbelievably rangy, he’s like a real-life version of Stretch Armstrong. A good ball handler, The Bucks have run Antetokounmpo in all five positions during his two and a half seasons with the franchise. Though he still can’t shoot a consistent jumpshot, and sometimes gets lost when on defense, he’s shown sufficient progress to suggest he’ll soon be the complete article. We know it’s a mouthful, but remember the name.

 

Karl-Anthony Towns 

Karl-Anthony Towns fist pumps in celebration ()

 

Age 21

Nationality Dominican

Position Center

Team Minnesota Timberwolves

KAT’s ability is no secret – he was first pick in the 2015 Draft having impressed during a single year at Kentucky. 7ft with size 19 feet, he was always going to be a weapon. Last year, he was mentored by Kevin Garnett, a 15-time All Star who spent his final season coming off the bench for the TWolves and was often seen dispensing advice to Towns. Garnett helped introduce increased aggression and physicality to Towns’ game. Also, he was the surprise victor of the Skills Contest at last year’s All Star Weekend in Toronto. Times have changed.

Images: Getty Images

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