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: December 8, 2008 7:05 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2008 7:14 pm
Well the Bulls are at it again. They look sharp one game and then the next they look like the B team down at the YMCA. No consistency at all. They bury the 76ers on the road last Sunday only to lose to them back home on Tuesday. I picked the Bulls to split those to games, but after seeing the number they did to the 76ers on Sunday I thought for sure they would win against the same team two day later at home. There is no reason to also not win a game against the Bucks. The Bucks game was one the Bulls needed to win and they are lucky they beat the Wizards on Saturday or I might have had to take a break from watching them. It is really hard on the fans when the team is so inconsistant. We have know idea what to expect each night. Let's break down a few things shall we.
First, I would like to talk about Drew Gooden. I think he is a perfect example of the Bulls inability to play the same way twice in a row. I had Drew Gooden as my Player of the Week last week. I really thought that maybe the Bulls had a post player that was decent. For five games in a row he was averaging about 20 points and 10 rebounds and I was starting to get excited, but as a Bulls fan I should of heeded the warning as Gooden went on to lay two eggs the next two games. The 1 field goal game against the Bucks had me rethinking the Ben Wallace trade. OK, so it was not that bad, but the Bulls really changed their gameplan after that loss opting for a small lineup against the Wizards.
Drew Gooden is still by far are best post player and I really liked it when Vinny had him and Derrick Rose running the high sreen and roll two weeks ago. Gooden is a pretty good shooter and an equally good passer and I felt they had a good thing going. When ever Gray, Tyrus, or Noah would set a pick the other teams would just double Rose because these three can not seem to either hit the open jumper or drive to the bucket after the pick for the open pass and a layup. Gooden really is the only bigman I want to see setting the pick because other teams understand he can hit the open shot and this forces teams to make a gamble. Do they still double Rose and allow Drew the open look or do they not double Derrick and allow him to drive to the paint? The Bulls need to employ this scheme more often.
Something else that the Bulls need to be careful with is Derrick Rose's minutes. He is averaging over 38 minutes per game. He is bound to start wearing down at some point. My guess is some time in January. The Bulls are really going to need him in good shape if they really want to make a run at the playoffs. Kirk Hinrich should be returning come January, but he will be far from 100%. Infact I am not so sure he will be very effective until February or March and the Bulls could be out of the playoff picture by then.
I hate to beat a dead horse but the Bulls need to make a trade if they are looking to make it into the playoffs and for sure if they plan on getting out of the first round. Now John Paxson and company may just play the hand they have until this next summer or maybe even hold out until 2010. I sure hope they know more then the rest of us do because a few trades have taken place that the Bulls could have been part of. We could have went after Camby or Harrington. I understand that neither of them would make us a contender but it would have been a move in the right direction. We could have moved Hinrich and his contract out of town for Camby's expiring contract.
We still have options as of today. Chris Kaman was on the trading block a couple of weeks ago as the Clippers were trying to land Jason Richardson but that deal never got done. I think the Bulls should make a call to L.A. if you ask me. Also I came up with a trade on ESPN's trade machine that would package Tyrus Thomas and Andres Nocioni to the Bucks for Andrew Bogut and Charlie Bell. We all know how much Scott Skiles loves Nocioni, so this trade could happen. Also we would be losing a contract from a position that we have two large contracts. Those being Luol Deng's and Andres Nocioni's. We would still have money freed up by 2010 for a push for a Superstar like Wade or Bosh. I just hope Paxson is making phone calls because there is no reason not to try and shake things up a bit.
Now for this weeks Ups and Downs:
Up - Luol Deng looks like his old self by posting 26-4-4 against the Wizards on Saturday.
Down - Drew Gooden goes 1 for 11 from the field in a loss against the Bucks.
Up - The same Drew Gooden plays a great game against Elton Brand and scores 20 points with 12 rebounds.
Down - The inconsistency of Nocioni. He scores 19 points one night and 1 point the night before. Sad, because I love Nocioni.
Up - Ben Gordon is putting up very consistant numbers lately, scoring 21, 18, 22, and 21 points in the four games last week. Who thought that he would be one of our most consistant players this season?
Down - Joakim Noah. Enough said.
Now for the Player of the Week: Ben Gordon. As well as Derrick Rose has been playing and even though Derrick did win the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month Award, I still give a slight edge to Ben this week. I really could go with either of them and be happy but Ben has been a machine. He is not just scoring. He is playing at a very high level. He averaged 5.75 rebounds last week and 4.75 assists as well and lets not forget that his shooting has been lights out.
This weeks Predictions:
At home vs the Knicks - Bulls 106 Knicks 100. Should be a high scoring game with little to no defense. I think the Bulls can keep up.
At home vs the Nets - Bulls 91 Nets 98. Bulls are bound to lose at least one game this week and Devin Harris has been the best PG in the east so far this season. D-Rose vs D-Harris will be great. We will get a chance to see what Rose is all about in this game.
Once again the Bulls could win all of their games this week, but I also said that last week and they went 2-2. The Bulls really need to be winning these games against all these subpar teams. Their schedule is only going to get harder with the Celtics, Jazz, and Pistons around the corner.