Joakim Noah; top 3 center in the NBA


I read this statement by Morten Jensen over at realgm that Noah was the best center this side of Dwight Howard and Yao Ming.  My first response mentally was "I'd rather have Noah than Ming.".  Not so much because he's better, but because I don't believe Ming will ever have another healthy basketball season.   That got me to thinking, what centers would you trade Joakim Noah for right now?

The list can get confusing depending on who you qualify as a center.   A lot of PFs spend some time at center, and once you include those guys, Noah drops down fairly quickly.   For guys who are pure centers though, here's the best guys outside of Noah:

Dwight Howard - okay, we'd obviously rather have him

Brook Lopez - I think you probably take Lopez over Noah.   He's got a chance to have a much better offensive game, and he's still a very good rebounder/defender

Andrew Bogut - Would give more post scoring.  He's still a solid
rebounder and a solid overall player.   He's not giving you as much
athleticism, rebounding, or shot blocking though.  He's also struggled
with health issues during his career.  However, I can see the case for

Chris Kaman - Kaman is having a great season amid a bunch of Clipper losses, but he's always had health problems and never played consistently well. 

Marc Gasol - Gives you good rebounding still, and a bit more post scoring.

Greg Oden - So far, Sam Bowie's ghost wishes he could do what Noah is doing, but he still might have a glimpse of the potential tag on him.

Now if you throw in:
Chris Bosh, Tim Duncan, Amare Stoudemire, and Andrea Bargnani then you've got another group of guys who are PFs who play center occasionally you can compare to that are interesting.   I'd probably take the first 3 over Noah, but it's interesting to ponder Tim Duncan who's career is coming to a close soon.

If we remove the hybrid guys, how many of the above are you trading Joakim Noah for right now?   Howard and Lopez are the only guys I can answer yes to.   There are other guys who are close, but I'm going to stick with Joakim over them.

I've long thought Noah could become a solid NBA center, but when I actually measure him against the competition even I'm surprised at how well he stacks up.

[edit - note to add.. . ]

I forgot about Andrew Bynum.  I'd rather have Bynum than Noah as well even though his contract makes him awfully pricey.

[edit - apparently, it wasn't Mort who mentioned Yao/Howard, but someone with a similar looking avatar, woops, my bad!]


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  • It's like people forget Noah was 1 season and a 2nd NCAA Championship away from being considered as the top pick in the draft.

    I've always thought that getting Noah when we did was a steal, considering the pedigree of his parents and his achievements in College.

    Would you consider Bynum?

  • Not only is Lopez a top 3 center but he will be considered the best player from last year's draft. Better than Rose, Beasley, Mayo and Love. As long as Joakim remains healthy he will be a near or occasional all-star but not a perennial all-star IMO because of his lack of top level offense. He will be a fan favorite every year, however, because of his heart and his motor. Chicago sports fans understand and appreciate athletes like Noah. Sort of a big Jerry Sloan.

  • Apart from Howard, who is a no brainer, the only two pleayers I would say yes to are L

  • You wouldn't consider Oden because of his injuries, but you would consider Bynum?

    I think the risk are more or less the same. Maybe the reward is a little higher with Bynum. Not sure though.

  • Totally agree.
    When I was in London, it was amazing watching him, always active, helping teammates, encouraging them, even more so when he is in the bench.

    I love that.

  • There are allot of good centers but Noahs hustle makes him so valuable. HE gives us key plays with pure hustle. Give him a scoring PF and we are really dangerous down there.

  • I agree with Biggestbullsfan that all we need now is a scoring PF. Noah's offense is enough if we have a PF that can score. With the way Taj is playing might the Boozer talk heat up again??? We can afford to get rid of TT for the right guy....even if a rental.

  • I would not trade Noah for Marc Gasol.. I think Gasol is a really good center but I don't like his fit on this team. Noah's athleticism is necessary for this team to be good. They would need to rework the roster to fit a player like Gasol.. I'm not even sure Rose would fit well with Gasol. Say what you will about Rose right now (I'm frustrated too) I think he eventually will play at the level we are used to and when that happens, he and Noah will play very well together. Especially with the way Noah runs the court, crashes the offensive glass, and finishes at the rim.. he is and will be a great fit with DRose.

  • To me, Noah is the reserve center if his statline keeps up this season for the Eastern Conference. Why? Brook Lopez is doing great for NJ but NJ is a terrible team. Not very often are players from terrible teams sent to the All-Star game unless they already have a good reputation.

  • I guess if you were building a roster from scratch I might take Marc Gasol over Noah just to get the better offensive game. Still, there are a lot of scenarios where I would choose the skills that Noah brings to a team over that of Gasol depending on the other players on a roster. For example, when the Bulls are running up and down the court with Rose, Wade, Deng, Tyrus, Noah and we lead the league in steals, blocked shots, rebounds, defensive FG%, and fast break pts. haha...

  • Consider this a "sour grapes" post but are Bulls fans aware that the Lakers picked Marc Gasol in the second round right before the Bulls? You could say that this was just luck based on the draft order but the Bulls did tell Aaron Gray that he was on their radar if he were available. I credit the Lakers with superior scouting ability. Teams can easily jump ahead of other teams in the mid or late second round if necessary to get the guy they really want.

  • ahh nice stuff from my former enemy Mor (just kidding your my boy). I would take Dwight Howard first, Brooke Lopez second (even though he plays more a finesse game) and Joakim Noah third. A guy like Ming has had many injury issues because of his height but he has had a solid career and I just dont know what he can give you when he comes back next year. Kaman to me seems like a quiter, he quit last year on the Clippers after being injured just because they were having a bad season, he is a guy who has one good year one bad year and so on. Andrew Bogut is good however he is a guy who with his teammate Michael Redd has had injurt issues over the last 3 years. Marc Gasol is nice however hes on a bad defensive team so it makes him look so much better when he really isnt. Greg Oden? seriously? Mr. 4 fouls by the 2nd quarter? Andrew Bynum is a nice player but nothing special, he is afraid of contact because of all his knee issues and he seems tentative to me. As for the hybrids would you really take Tim Duncan over Noah? I am sorry but I wouldnt, it saddens me to see him play now because he has so much milage on his body, i wouldnt risk it (it would be like the Jason Kidd for Devin Harris deal Doug). Come to think of it this post shows that there are not many legit bigs like there was in the 90s. So yes i agree with morten in that Noah is the 3rd best center in the league right now.

  • Also Doug how about the other Florida boy Al Horford, he is a 4 but he can handle the 5. Who would you choose there?

  • How about 2nd overall draft pick from this season Hasheem Thabeet lmao.

  • Most improved player watch (Joakim is 3rd)

  • Is it just me or are we really missing TT out there? I knw we are always downplaying his game and get easily frustrated and yes- would love to trade him (as long as it's for a player who can score)... but I think we play better with him on the court knowing that we have another guy to rebound, block and score a couple of buckets down there... Dont get me wrong if we can aquire someone good for him then PAX pull the trigger... but as for right now I cant wait till he gets back.

  • Is it just me or are we really missing TT out there? I knw we are always downplaying his game and get easily frustrated and yes- would love to trade him (as long as it's for a player who can score)... but I think we play better with him on the court knowing that we have another guy to rebound, block and score a couple of buckets down there... Dont get me wrong if we can aquire someone good for him then PAX pull the trigger... but as for right now I cant wait till he gets back.

  • I agree, I bash Tyrus alot but when he is on he is on. He can alter shots, block shots, rebound and hit the open J. As Doug said we are playing guys alot of minutes and it will eventualy catch up with us.

  • About the one more injury thing Doug what the hell would we do? would we have to go look into a unsigned vet? who would we waive to make room or do we just outright sign the guy and go over the cap? Hopefully it doesnt happen however if it does I dont want to be like the warriors who last night dressed 7 guys.

  • Also on a side not i have to give alot of credit to Doug. I remember during the 07 draft alot of people wanted Spencer Hawes but Doug kept saying he liked Noah and that he would be a good NBA center. Thats why since than I always believe his judgement on players and believe James Johnson will one day become a solid NBA player in this league.

  • KENDRICK PERKINS!!!!!! Horses Noah everytime. Noah is great and no center even DHoward is going to dominate him, the Bulls have their Center for the next 6 years or so. But top 3, everybody needs to calm down. Shaq is also still better than him. Noah is just outside the top 10 in centers. Another note is none of these players, with the exception to DHoward, are that much better than Noah but they are slightly better.

    All of these guys are definately better than Noah, and that's not including others who actually play center: TDuncan, Amare Stoudemire, Al Jefferson that brings us to 11.

    These guys it is tough Noah is about equal:
    12)Brooke Lopez
    13)Mehmet Okur
    14)Greg Oden
    15)Andrea Bargnani
    16)Marc Gasol
    and I left out the often injured Yao MIng. Noah is great, and he surprised me, I don't wanna trade him for anyone, but he is NOT top 3.

  • Interesting to see that everybody is finally on the bandwagon, even those people on the NERF boys site. I took a ton of abuse for my defense of Noah, pretty much called every name in the book.

    As the original member of the Chicago chapter of the Noah fan club, the past 2 years have been a tough fight. HE was the obvious and only choice at #9. I am not sure if Doug beat me to the punch since I wasn't reading this site at draft time. But once I saw Noah play, I knew that it was only a matter of time, playing time.

    Last year at this time, most people couldn't wait to move Noah for a bag of chips. Which pretty much proves how little insight into the game most people possess. I have been saying from day one that all Noah needed was consistent minutes and he would be a double double machine. I began arguing for dumping Ben Wallace almost immediately so that Noah could get his minutes. Unfortunately, in dumping Wallace, we picked up Gooden, who took over the role of stealing Noah's minutes and impeding his development. So I immediately began a campaign to get rid of Gooden. Anyone notice how Noah's emergence began immediately after we got rid of Gooden.

    Glad to see that Noah has proved all the doubters wrong(about 95-99% of you), Welcome aboard. Maybe, just maybe I am on the right side of the Ben Gordon argument also.

  • I noticed on the league stat sheets that Noah is listed as a forward and not under center. What gives with that?

  • I was only mentioning Bulls players lol

  • Joakim Noah is by far the "Most Improve player-Center" in the league. If he continues to play hard and relentless like he does, he will be one of the best consistent centers in the eastern conference. He can run, rebound, pass and pretty decent on the free throw line. Noah has definitely grown up and Tyrus should take some notes with that in mind. He has found his place on this team and has been consistent ever since the end of last season. He will be a treat to watch the whole year! I officially jumped on the Joakim Noah band wagon!

  • This just in Andrew Bogut out 2-4 weeks. I am really really shocked lmao. Noah baby.

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