Is Joakim Noah the third best center in the NBA?

According to John Hollinger’sPlayer Efficiency Rating, Joakim Noah (23.36) currently ranks behind only Dwight Howard (28.21) and Tim Duncan (25.04) among centers. (Noah ranks 15thoverall among all players.) He’s also in the top 10 among centers in True Shooting Percentage (10th at .625), Assist Ratio (10th at 17.3), Offensive Rebounding Rate (10th at 13.2), Defensive Rebounding Rate (10th at 27.2), Rebounding Rate (8th at 19.9), Value Added (5th at 34.7) and Estimated Wins Added (5th at 1.2).

To sum up: Noah is one of the league’s best centers based on almost every advanced metric Hollinger currently has to offer on his ESPN page. (Go here for an explanation of each.)

If you want some raw numbers, overall Noah ranks 1st in Block Per Foul (1.08), 6th in Blocks Per Game (2.33), 6th in Offensive Rebounds Per Game (3.8), 7th in Rebounds Per Game (11.0), 8th in Field Goal Percentage (.609), and  9th in Rebounds Per 48 Minutes.

What’s more, Noah is one of the big reasons that the Bulls currently rank 8th in Defensive Rating (101.4 points per 100 possessions). After all, he’s second on the team with a Defensive Rating of 97.

So…who expected this? I mean, of everyone on the team, Joakimis (so far) the only one player who is demonstrably better than he was last season. His intensity and determination has remained pretty much constant since college, but his other skills have improved through what appears to have been a summer of blood, sweat and tears. Noah is stronger. He’s added offensive moves — including a decent (if terribly ugly) midrangeshot and a hook shot witheither hand — because he realized his lack of scoringchops was hurting the team (since his defender could always sag off and help pester his teammates).

Honestly, most of the talk from the end of last season into the beginning of this season focused on whether Tyrus Thomas was finally going to explode out of his Shell of Potential and become a major force for the Bulls. Instead, and somewhat quietly, it’s been Noah who has made a leap forward.

Funtastic extra:
Via Not Qualified To Comment: Apparently, Chicago Tribune columnist Rick Morrissey showed up at a Bulls practice and ate (with yummy salsa!) one of his old articles. No, really! According to Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald: “Morrissey showed up at practice carrying an old copy of his sports section and a jar of salsa. Apparently on draft night 2007, he wrote that if Joakim Noah becomes a useful player within three years, he’ll eat his column with salsa.” Rick Morrissey: Giving new meaning to eating one’s words.

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11 Responses to Is Joakim Noah the third best center in the NBA?

  1. vittoriodezen@gmail.com'
    Vic De Zen November 10, 2009 at 4:09 pm #

    The answer is, no, Noah’s probably not the 3rd-best center in the NBA, but he is damn good. I like that the haters have been silenced now.

  2. bscholtens@hotmail.com'
    Brad S. November 10, 2009 at 4:30 pm #

    Congrats to Noah and here’s hoping that he is able to keep this pace throughout the year! Besides the offensive numbers, the one that really sticks out to me is the assist ratio! Perhaps the Brad Miller trade is working even better than we all thought.

    Also this gives the Bulls management an easing of pressure when dealing with Tyrus. If you already have the “3rd best center” in the league, why over-pay for a “potentially” good PF. Especially with Taj and Johnson in the wings. It also makes the Bulls a more attractive option for any free agents out there. But all of these benefits can wait until next year, right now I am enjoying watching a kid that actually cares reap the rewards from his hard work. Sure it’s early, but again: great job Noah!

  3. reggiemcglory@yahoo.com'
    Reggie McGlory November 10, 2009 at 5:45 pm #

    Wow so this is what its all about when we see a player highly drafted , and n the same also lowly expected to be what we call today an impact player I say for those who cannot play watch n for those that can play be careful when noah is around he is persistant relentless also he now has grown some body muscles to go along with that he has be come a threat to score no more can the other team leave him to help out no more will the other team out no more will the other team no watch out for Noah he has become a baller a true baller makin his precense known during the game n the NBA Da bulls now have a team that is not one dentional added bonus they all play defense which means any team facing them is in for a fight lets get passed Bg he was a true scorer but his D was never there so what did the bulls lose point wise with his departure nothing I suspect what did they gain more respect a bigger team with J salmons n place of Bg also now they can truely play as a team no longer waitng to see if Bg will hit the shot but they can rely on each other to hit the shot yes Noah as are the rest of the bulls growin up and moving forward 2010 will be great for some team but as for the bulls its already here time to make it happen weather or not they win a champion ship depends on there efforts as a team they is not I n team ala ben gorden althoth there is an I for the wins you win stilltrue ballers know u gotta have heart too win , also guts to make the big plays Noah will be fine as I have always said the only thing is who in 2010 will be fine with the bulls fitting in with what they have begun to make here that is a key I hope wont be the down fall of this team with a superstar who might thing the I for team really is them then we lose the bulls we have all over again well that is next year lets Just enjoy this year peace all I’M out

  4. PTFC November 10, 2009 at 5:47 pm #

    I love his mid range jumper because it’s so ugly but goes in. It’s entertaining. I can laugh my butt off when he shoots it and be happy for him/the team when it goes in.

  5. PTFC November 10, 2009 at 5:51 pm #

    How awesome would it be if the Bulls had 2 players make the allstar team (Rose, Noah).

    Actually now that I think about since Shaq came to the East it will be Howard and Shaq (by name recognition only). Well that sucks. Maybe Rose and Deng (if Deng keeps his 20-10 average going)? I guess we will see.

  6. tzstriker24@yahoo.com'
    antz November 10, 2009 at 10:06 pm #

    I’m very excited for the Bulls as Noah continue to become a solid center. Hopefully he will continue and maintain his current playing level. GO BULLS!

    On the other hand, check this out, Noah was left out on this year’s All-Star ballot!!!

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/2010-NBA-All-Star-Game-ballot-unveiled;_ylt=AihmIPgoojeIjvXoSjBFTJK8vLYF?urn=nba,201445

  7. bscholtens@hotmail.com'
    Brad S. November 10, 2009 at 10:16 pm #

    Really Reggie, REALLY???? I thought we covered this a while back…

  8. addompowell@gmail.com'
    A. K. Powell November 10, 2009 at 10:17 pm #

    Reggie McGlory: Ummm….what? Have you ever tried using periods (.) before?

  9. bob.edwards47@yahoo.com'
    Boppinbob November 13, 2009 at 11:29 pm #

    I believe that Deng is proving himself this year but will with hold judgement until he has some minor injury to see if he plays through it. Noah is finally living up to his college reputation of being a game changer. I am not seeing any development in Rose. I do not see him as an all-star this year, at least not yet. I am very impressed with Gibson. I would like to see James Johnson get more playing time to see what he has got to give. The injury to Tyrus is a set back for him, but could help motivate him also if he feels he can be replaced. The Bulls have started better than I expected. I wish I knew what Reggie McGlory was saying, a waste of effort and time on his part.

  10. Mike November 14, 2009 at 11:59 pm #

    If anybody thinks the way he is playing derrick rose will make the all-star game, they are crazy.

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