Tag:Brook Lopez
Posted on: January 16, 2010 11:09 am

Noah's Bark

     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.
Posted on: October 17, 2009 3:50 pm

Most Improved Player Predictions.

     OK, we are about halfway through the preseason and the regular season is upon us. I understand there have been a couple of threads dealing with the which player will breakout this season and I thought I would have a crack at it. First of all there has to be some ground rules set as to what is considered a breakout season. In my eyes the player has to go from an average role-player to a budding star. This means that you cannot say that Kevin Durant is going to have a breakout season. The guy is already a star in the league. You have to take a player who was getting maybe 20 minutes a game last year or less and averaging about 10ppg or so. This player then has to gain more minutes a game and have a major boost in numbers. I have spent some time looking at different scenarios around the league and have come up with 7 players I think will have breakout seasons or close to it. Please let me know what you think and let me know who I forgot. This is a tricky thing to predict so there can be a wide range of answers.

 Hakim Warrick.
The Bucks might just be the right fit for this young guy. He has all the talent and athletic ability to do a ton of damage in this league. He can play a few different positions and has become a pretty solid shooter. He is fast and seems to be putting in the effort. The main factor for me is that he should see a lot of minutes on the floor for the Bucks and will be one of the first options on offense behind Redd now that Jefferson is gone. Preseason EF score:19



 Brook Lopez. He will become a main option on offense now that Vince Carter has left the building. He already showed us last season that he is one of the best young big talents in the NBA. I think with his size and abilities that he will have his way against most other centers in the east. He is strong and has good footwork and he has shown us he knows how to play smart. He is a star in the making. Preseason EF score:18.6

 Anthony Morrow. This one is a bit of a gamble with the Warriors also having Stephen Curry on the team but Morrow has looked lights out this preseason and may be motivated to play hard so that he is kept on the floor. i am sure he is not going to average 22.6 point per game like he is in the preseason but he could turn out to be a solid 2nd or 3rd option on this team. He also is a solid 3 point shooter and should be a good fit in the Warriors system. Preseason EF score:23.2

 Anthony Randolph. This guy oozes pure talent and it showed over the summer in summer league play. He is about as athletic as they come and is a scoring machine at times. He causes matchup issues with his speed for his size. He has been picked by many as the front runner fro the Most Improved Player Award already. It will be interesting if he can continue to dominate in the regular season against other elite bigman or will his lack of bulk hurt him. Preseason EF score: 17.2

 Tyrus Thomas. He has worked hard on his game this offseason but maybe more importantly he is in a contract season and that might be the motivation he needed to play hard and work hard. He has slowly improved with each season of play and with all the talent that he has it is about time for him to shine. His jumpshot looks smooth and he is playing better defense. He will be a top shotblocker this season in the NBA for sure. Preseason EF score:18.5

 Lou Williams. Sometimes it is about being in the right spot at the right time and with Miller gone and Willaims the new starter for the 76ers he should see a ton of minutes and his numbers should spike. With players like Iggy, Elton, and Young to dish it to his assist number should jump nicely. He has a nice shot and could be a solid third option on this team. Preseason EF score:14.6

 Andray Blatche. Two main factors go into thinking he will breakout this season. For one with Gilbert on the floor running things you have to imagine Blatche getting some nice touches. Just having a good point guard is all a player needs sometimes. Also, if Jamison needs surgery then Andray will be needed to add some scoring and rebounding and his minutes will jump as well. Preseason EF score:15.8


So, who do you like and who did I leave out?




The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com