Available Centers Aren't Really Better Than Roster Replacements

Available Centers Aren't Really Better Than Roster Replacements

With Joakim Noah on the Hell Shelf for six-to-ten weeks, I took a quick look at unsigned centers and, boy, is that a list of garbage. Hell, reading the list of centers in the NBA makes me feel the need for a seven-day vacation in a padded room.

The Lakers went without Andrew Bynum all season until Tuesday and didn't acquire anyone after backup center Theo Ratliff went down in mid-November until acquiring Joe Smith from the Nets in a three-way deal Wednesday.

The Rockets were playing Yao Ming 18.2 MPG with Brad Miller backup and played undersized players with Yao out 20 games so far.

The Blazers had three of their four centers hurt and didn't acquire anyone.

The Heat knew Joel Anthony and Big Z weren't enough and needed Udonis haslem to go down Nov. 23 to grab Erick Dampier after the three teams I mentioned passed on him.

With Robin Lopez injured, the Suns called up Earl Barron from the D-League, he's bad, and they couldn't wait to plug Lopez back in Wednesday.

Translation: nothing's out there.

What I stumbled upon:

  • I wonder how Josh Boone
    got ignored. He's only 6-foot-10, but surely meets the standards of
    being a backup center in the league. Not to hate on Omer Asik, but are
    we really going say Boone is worse than Omer, let alone Kurt Thomas?

    He's playing for Zhejiang
    Chouzhou in China, but wants back in the league
    and his defensive focus could be the most suitable quick replacement
    for Noah as a backup in the ten-man rotation. I wonder how Boone isn't on the Heat, Rockets, Lakers, or
    Trail Blazers. There's something crucial I'm missing here.

    He's
    about one of the most embarrassingly terri-bad FT shooters you'll ever
    see, but his footwork on D is good enough, he's a shot blocking threat
    with a career rate of 3.1% -- 3.4% last season. Also has a career Total
    Rebounding Rate of 16.4% -- 20.4% Defensive Rate. I was thinking he'd be
    a homeless man's P.J. Brown or something. I don't know.

  • Chris Hunter
    isn't terrible by the 'Can you reach the rim and identify colors?'
    standards of being a third center for the practice squad. He didn't make
    the NBA 'til he was 25 last season with Golden State, but played 60
    games, starting nine. Over 13.1 MPG, he scored 4.5 PPG, shooting 50.2%
    from the field and 75.4% at the FT line. He grabbed rebounds at an 11.9%
    rate and blocked at a 3.2% rate.

    He's currently a backup for the Fort
    Wayne Mad Something-or-Others in the D-League though. I saw him quite a
    bit in college at Michigan where he sucked, but he seemed to meet the
    extremely minimal standards for wearing a suit on the side or playing garbage
    minutes in the NBA. What I saw better than what we've seen from Kurt
    Thomas this season. Could've been a complete fluke, right?

  • There's former DePaul and Proviso East seven-footer Steven Hunter.
    He was a good shot blocker who could score at the rim, but anything
    else with the ball was a disaster. Complete turnover machine who shoots
    FTs worse than Shaq and Dewey when they're drunk. He's 29-years-old. Oh
    yeah, he's slow, too, yet probably still under 250 lbs. Maybe a homophobe, as well.
  • Randolph Morris
    is a 24-year old, 6-foot-10 guy who was basically a team janitor for
    four seasons -- two with the Knicks and two with the Hawks. Played
    garbage minutes averaging 9.9 fouls per 36 minutes for three trillions last season in 28 games. Even had a game where he only played seven seconds and managed a turnover. Can that be an +8.57 suck differential?
    Seriously, why is this guy allowed to drink water without a straw,
    gloves, and adult supervision?!? He's currently playing in China, but
    he's on the Beijing Ducks with Steve Francis, so probably ready to GTFO
    soon.

The Bulls only have 14 players on their roster. With Noah
and John Lucas III inactive, the three players out of the nine-man
rotation are all forwards around 6-foot-9 -- James Johnson, Brian
Scalabrine, and Kurt Thomas -- so signing someone might not be necessary. That empty spot keeps room for taking on an extra player with cap space for the
expiring contracts of Taj Gibson and/or James Johnson or the high
relatively long-term contract of Luol Deng to improve the team over the
next two months.

Another option is of course trading for a
center, but what do you get for JJ? Trading Taj and JJ or Keith Bogans
for a center is likely trading him for a terrible center that worsens
the rotation. Trading a second round pick becomes futile as well. I
mean, Haseem Thabeet? Really? (I order you to stop thinking about that.)

D.J Mbenga's on a one-year deal makin' the minimum if that interests you. (Please tell me it doesn't.) Here are other centers who'll be free agents after this season.

Honestly, if the Bulls could go 9-6 without Carlos Boozer facing one of the toughest --if not the toughest schedule -- over that time period in the NBA, the next month with maybe the easiest schedule shouldn't call the need for anything hasty.

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