A lot has been made about Joakim Noah being left off the all-star ballot. Clearly, Noah wasn't going to be voted in by fans regardless of his place on the ballot. Shaq could be out for the season and draw more votes than any centers in the league this side of Yao Ming and Dwight Howard. So ultimately, his place on the ballot is irrelevant. However, does he deserve a trip to the all-star weekend?
Based on his present level of play; yes. Noah is presently ranked 11th in PER among EC players with 200+ minutes, and he has the second highest PER of any center in the East. He's leading the league in rebounding and has been one of the best shot blockers in the East as well.
He's been the clear leader of this Bulls team which, despite fan complaints, has exceeded expectations to start off the season. People may look at his limitations, his potential, his ceiling, and say that Noah doesn't pass the smell test. He wouldn't pass mine initially either.
However, when I look at the numbers, there's actually a fair case to be made for Noah. In order to cement in his status as a legit contender for an all-star spot, he needs to do three things:
1) Play at a 20+ PER through the all-star game
- He needs the individual numbers to make him worthy
2) Have the Bulls play at a 48 win+ pace through the all star game and need to stay great defensively
- A defensive player needs to anchor a great defensive team and a winning team to be considered
3) Continue to be the best player on the Bulls
- You're not going to take the Bulls second best player without taking the best one first [at least most likely], so Noah has to be perceived as the best [or equal to the best] on the Bulls through that point
How likely is that group of three things? I guess that's up to each individual to answer. I do think the defense will remain excellent, but I don't know if the team record will. I do think Noah will continue to play well, but can he keep a PER over 20? I think Noah should remain among the best players on the team, so he might be perceived as an equal part of what they're doing.
All in all, I don't think he'll make it no matter what he does, but I think he could get some votes from the coaches. Ben Wallace has made the game several times with even less offense and similar numbers otherwise.