Posted on: January 16, 2010 11:09 am
It has become clear to me that Joakim Noah is now my favorite player in the NBA. If anyone is missing from the Allstar ballot it is him. I cannot believe the league has Brad Miller on it and not Noah. Silly. In this blog I am going to make a case for Noah to be a reserve on the eastern conference Allstar team and I will also give you my top ten centers in the league today. I understand the noah has a couple of weaknesses and I will talk about them as well. I am a bit bias, but I am not a fool. So what has Noah done to make me a huge fan? Let us take a look.
Rebounds Per Game. 12.2. First we will look at perhaps Noah's biggest strength and that is his rebounding. He is second in the league behind only Dwight Howard and is half a rebound ahead on Marcus Camby. Noah is not a biggest or the strongest center so how does he grab so many missed shots? With his brain. He is very smart and knows were to go on every play and understands how to box-out. Couple this with his nasty take-no-crap attitude and you get a rebounding machine. If Noah puts on another 10 pounds of muscle this summer like he did last summer then he could lead the league in rebounding next year.
Field-Goal Percentage. .495. Now we will look at one of Joakim's weaknesses. He has come a long way on the offensive side of the floor and is averaging 11.2 points a game, but to be considered a major threat in the paint you have to shoot a higher percentage from the floor. Somewhere above .550 for a center seems like the qualification to me and Noah still needs to work a bit more on this part of his game, but he has been getting better every game this season. He has a back to the basket game but needs to perfect his 15 footer. If he can hit the jumper with consistency then defenders will be drawn out of the paint and that will open things up for Derrick Rose to drive and create a nightmare for other teams to defend. Then Noah can learn from Brad Miller about the power of the shot fake and drive to the hole maneuver.
Blocks Per Game. 1.74. Noah is a top 10 shot blocker in the league and to me shot blocking is one of the keys to being a great center along with rebounding and shooting a high percentage shot. In todays game the power forward is typically the scorer and the center tends to play of the scorer and block shots and score on put backs. Dwight Howard is really the last old school type center that does it all on both ends. Cases could be made for Brook Lopez and Chris Kaman in this regard. Not every team is so lucky as to have a scoring center. They are just rare these days. The bottomline is that the role of the center has changed over the last decade or so into more of a support player and less of a focal point.
Double-Doubles. 20. Noah is tied for second amongst centers in total double-doubles and ranks sixth overall in the NBA. He is also one of only 4 total centers to be averaging a double-double.
The Intangibilities of Noah. There are many like his passing ability that ranks in the top 3 amongst centers or his overall NBA Efficiency score of 20.79 that ranks 7th. If you add up his points, assists, and rebounds he ranks 8th amongst centers. But the real key to Noah is what you will see every time he steps foot on the hardwood. It is his passion and love for the game. He plays hard and focused every second on the floor. He more then makes up for his weaknesses with his heart and desire. He plays nasty defense and will not back down to anyone and is not afraid to speak his mind. Just ask LeBron James. He is not the quite leader, but a vocal leader that also leads by example. Much like Ben Wallace was once the heart and soul of the Detroit Pistons, Noah is now become that kind of player in that he can light a fire under a teammate with a little yell in the ear or by inspiring his whole team by making an incredible offensive rebound and then pushing off a defender and slamming home the ball for an and-one. Noah's overall game has few limits. He is a great athlete and has a great basketball mind. Just watch him take the ball up court by himself and you will see his great ball handling skills or you can always just watch his now epic steal in game 6 of last years playoffs were he runs 80 feet with the ball and beats Paul Pierce to the basket and slams in home. That moment just might have been the turning point in Noah's career. Here take a look.
Just a few stand out games from the last few weeks:
vs Wizards. 17 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks
@ Celtics. 15 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks
vs Pistons. 16 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists
vs Timberwolves. 20 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals
@ Bucks. 10 points, 18 rebounds,
@ Pistons. 15 points, 21 rebounds, 4 assists
vs Hornets. 17 points, 18 rebounds, 4 blocks
vs Knicks. 10 points, 21 rebounds
vs Lakers. 11 points, 21 rebounds, 6 blocks
vs Warriors. 18 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks
And these are only going back through december. There are many more great games from Noah during this time, but I do not feel like typing them all out.
My Current Top 10 Centers in the NBA.
1. Dwight Howard. The Best and it is not really close.
2. Brook Lopez. A distant second with a big upside.
3. Marc Gasol. Another young guy with a lot of upside.
4. David Lee. A center in a PFs body. Is he just a product of a system?
5. Chris Kaman. A classic 20 and 10 center. Watch out for injuries however.
6. Al Jefferson. Getting better with every game. Was my number two center last season.
7. Joakim Noah. See above.
8. Al Horford. Wonder what his numbers would look like on another team?
9. Andrew Bynum. Shows promise, but needs to become consistant.
10. Nene. Good defender and solid in the paint on both ends.
Honorable Mentions: Andrew Bogut, Brendon Haywood, and Kendrick Perkins.
Tags: Al Horford, Al Jefferson, Andrew Bogut, Andrew Bynum, Ben Wallace, Brad Miller, Brook Lopez, Bucks, Bulls, Celtics, Chris Kaman, David Lee, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Hornets, Joakim Noah, Kendrick Perkins, Knicks, Lakers, LeBron James, Marc Gasol, Marcus Camby, Nene, Paul Pierce, Pistons, Timberwolves, Warriors, Wizards
Posted on: November 16, 2008 6:33 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2008 6:35 pm
The week started off on the down side and then ended on a high note. They lost Kirk Hinrich for three months to an injury and signed Lindsey Hunter to fill his spot. With Kirk gone the Bulls seem to be finding themselves finally. They still look a bit shaky at times and sometimes they get stuck making a lot of quick outside shots. Kirk will be missed for sure , but with Hughes back in the lineup the Bulls look like they will survive. When they are driving and passing the ball they become a very difficult team to deal with. They almost won all three of their games this week. They barely lost to the Hawks and came from behind in an impressive win over the Mavericks and then ended the week controllng and in the end beating the Pacers. All in All it was a good week for Bulls fans, so let's take a closer look at what went down.
The first thing that must be discused is the play of Ben Gordon. He has been putting up some real Allstar-like numbers in the past two weeks, and his 35 point effort against the mavericks was downright insane. He is really shining with Derrick Rose on the floor to take pressure off him. I really think the Bulls should have signed Gordon this summer , but hindsight is 20/20. I was like most who thought that Luol Deng was the must sign, but I am starting to think I might have been wrong. The season is still young, but Gordon clearly looks like the better player so far. His ability to create his own shot and his talent of blowing past opponents to the hoop is scary good and are both rare in this league. I really like him starting alongside Rose, but if we face a team with a taller shooting guard that has a post game then the Bulls should start Larry Hughes, once heathly of course, in his place.
The continued growth of Derrick Rose is the key reason the bulls sit at .500 right now. With out him the Bulls would surely not be doing do well. I would have to boldly say that Rose is the best rookie so far this season and by a pretty large margin. O.J. Mayo is about the only player close, but Rose is a complete player already. He is averaging 18.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists and climbing, and shooting over 46% from the field. If and when he gets his ppg up to 20+ then I think he will not only be a lock for rookie of the year, but should have a great chance at landing on the Allstar team. I am in awe at how fast his game is getting better and how he acts and plays like a savvy vet.
I would like to see the Bulls run some more high sceen and rolls with Derrick Rose and Andres Nocioni. Those two have a special thing going and Rose really seems comfortable making the pass to the open Nocioni. Nocioni is also good at faking the shot, which most teams respect, and then driving the lane. Infact when any of the Bulls players start to drive into the paint good things seem to happen. Luol Deng's jumper has not been as pretty as it was in the past but when he drives to the hoop like he did against the Pacers then things open up for everyone.
The Bulls really are a team that is solid in the 1,2, and 3 spot. Drew Gooden has been serviceable as a power forward, but can not guard most centers in the league. Joakim Noah is too small and weak to be a effective center right now and Aaron Gray is as slow as they come and prone to foul instead of play defense. As much as I love some of the players that the Bulls have, it has become increasingly obvious that a trade needs to take place. Tyrus Thomas has had his moments but overall has not been the player we need him to be. He had a nice 15 foot jumper in the preseason but that has disappeared altogether.
It is really hard to figure out exactly who the Bulls should go after in a trade, but one clearly needs to happen. Ben Gordon's stock could be hitting a peak pretty soon here, so maybe the Bulls could trade him after all. The whole team is tradable if you ask me except for Rose. I would trade Deng or Gordon for the right player. We need a big man and we need one in a bad way. If we had a good inside player then we could contend. John Paxson just needs to find a team that is underachieving and make a phone call. What about Dallas and Dirk or the Timberwolves and Al Jefferson? What would it take to get a deal like that done?
Let us look at the Ups and Downs of week 3:
UP: Bulls come back from a first quarter thrashing to beat the Mavericks.
Down: Kirk Hinrich gets injured and is set to miss 3 months of play.
UP: Ben Gordon continues to shine and scores 35 points against the Mavs.
Down: Thabo Sefolosha has scored only 15 point total in the last five games.
UP: Andres Nocioni has big game off the bench against the Pacers and scores 20 points with 11 rebounds and 2 steals.
Down: Tyrus Thomas id shooting 28% from the field so far this season.
UP: Derrick Roses averages slowly climbed all week long with one great outing after another.
Down: Bulls allow Al Horford to have a career game at the United Center.
Player of the Week: Derrick Rose. Ben Gordon is a close second this week, but Rose has become Mr. Consistant. Something we have been missing in Chicago for a long time. You know exactly what you are going to get from him each and every night. He leads the team whenever he steps foot on the floor. Not bad for a rookie.
Predictions for the week ahead:
With the Circus trip starting this week the Bulls will be up for some big tests and we should have a good idea what the Bulls are made of after the next two weeks.
Bulls 94 Lakers 106- The Lakers are a couple of steps up the ladder of the Bulls as far as being a contender. The Lakers should own the Bulls in this game and the Bulls reserves will make the score look closer in the end then the game really was. Bloodbath.
Bulls 101 Blazers 97- This should be a close game and it will take all the energy the Bulls have to win this game seeing as how it is the second of a back to back. Bulls need to win this game.
Bulls 105 Warriors 111- This game will be a high scoring affair with the Warriors having the edge. If the Bulls can control the tempo then they could sneak out a victory here.
I think the Bulls have a chance against either the Blazers or the Warrior and should be able to beat one of those teams and end the week at 6-7. As Bulls fans we need to keep our fingers crossed.