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Luol Deng says Joakim Noah is best center in East

Nov 26, 2012, 12:54 PM EST

Chicago Bulls v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

Who is the best center in the Eastern Conference right now? It’s moot now, but if this was the old NBA All-Star ballot and you had to vote for a center, who would it be.

We can rule out Andrew Bynum indefinitely. How about Al Horford in Atlanta, not a classic center but has played that spot well for years? Want a classic center, how about Roy Hibbert in Indiana (who is off to a slow start this season)? Tyson Chandler? Brook Lopez? Chris Bosh? Greg Monroe?

Luol Deng says none of those. He says it is Joakim Noah in Chicago. From the Post-Tribune (hat tip to SLAM):

“Hell yeah,” Luol Deng stated emphatically when asked if Joakim Noah was the best center in the Eastern Conference.

Noah himself was more diplomatic.

“Am I the best center in the East? Am I the best center in the East?” Noah said, as he thought out loud. “I don’t know man, you tell me.”

Noah is averaging a career high 14 points a game so far, but is also taking almost three shots more a game with Derrick Rose out. His shooting percentage is near his rookie-year level (48.8 percent). His percentage of rebounds grabbed while on the floor is down. His percentage of possessions that end in a turnover is up. Basically, he’s being asked to do more with Rose out and he’s doing his best.

None of that counts for Noah’s great defense and tremendous energy, what he brings is what Tom Thibodeau demands of his team nightly.

But best center in the East… sorry. I’d go with Chandler right now. Or maybe Bosh the way he has played this season. But Noah would be ahead of Bynum.

  1. totallyuselessme - Nov 26, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Lopez outclasses him in terms of offense and just overall physical presence. Noah’ll give you 100% every night, but he just doesn’t have the muscle Lopez does. Lopez is the best ‘traditional’ center that’s actually playing ball right now.

    Bynum can’t be mentioned until he actually PLAYS or at least gets a haircut.

    Hibbert’s in a slump. He needs to show more this season before we start crowning him over anybody.

    Chandler’s obviously unmatched on the defensive side, whether east, west, north, south, whatever.. Chandler brings that side of the ball better than anybody, period. You can’t compare him to the others. His game’s entirely different, but overall I’d take him over Noah too.. but not Lopez.

    The rest are hard to call traditional centers, but you can still compare them I guess.

    I guess the big one is Bosh. Bosh just makes more plays than Noah. They have similar games, with Noah a better rebounder and Bosh with a much better outside shot, but aside from that, Bosh is just better across the board really.

  2. dko83 - Nov 26, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Everyone mentioned in this article would be ahead of Bynum.. But srsly, watch a Bulls game for five minutes, you will see Noah out hustle dudes almost every possession. I used to hate him b/c he’s obnoxious and he’s a Gator, but his game/heart won me over.

  3. nycalldayz - Nov 26, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    We can rule out Andrew Bynum indefinitely. How about Al Horford in Atlanta, not a classic center but has played that spot well for years? Want a classic center, how about Roy Hibbert in Indiana (who is off to a slow start this season)? Tyson Chandler? Brook Lopez? Chris Bosh? Greg Monroe?

    Right now it would have to be Noah, Greg and Horford. Those guys defend, rebound and score. Not sure who would be the best at this moment? Chandler is a one-dimensional, Bynum is hurt, Hibbert hasn’t played up to his new contract, Brook is mostly offense and Bosh and Garnett are not true Centers, sorry Kurt.

    • Kurt Helin - Nov 26, 2012 at 4:43 PM

      If Bosh is playing the five he’s a center in my book. I’m not playing the old-school “this is what a center is” game, same with PGs or other roles.

      • jjordannba - Nov 26, 2012 at 5:30 PM

        Alright Kurt we’ll play your game, but even then Bosh still isn’t the best center.

  4. ljl2 - Nov 26, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    As Varejao is quietly averaging 14pts, 14 rebs, and 3 assists a game (oh…over 5 offensive rebounds a game) and one of the best pick and roll defenders in the league. Not to mention everything else that doesn’t show up in the stats…

    • ljl2 - Nov 26, 2012 at 11:01 PM

      Just wanted to throw an update that after tonight’s games. Varejao is averaging 14pts-14.7 rebounds. Oh, of those rebounds, 5.76 are offensive. Lopez is averaging only 6.53 TOTAL rebounds after tonight. Just an interesting comparison.

  5. 00maltliquor - Nov 26, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    I’m sorry, I hate the Cavs (more like Dan Gilbert and some of their whinny fans) and have never really cared for this player, but the answer to that question would be Anderson Varejao with the way he’s been playing. He’s been doing it on both ends and to me has been waaaay ahead of any other C out East thus far.

    Plus, this is a non-story. I would like to hear Luol say that while playing for the Warriors or Magic or any other team other then the Bulls.

    • dko83 - Nov 26, 2012 at 3:02 PM

      Good call. Completely forgot about Varejao (probably b/c he’s on the Cavs), but that guy has been lights out this year.

  6. Mr. Wright 212 - Nov 26, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Chandler. Period.

  7. fanz928 - Nov 26, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    How is Chandler the best it’s bosh or anderson v

  8. beardown2489 - Nov 26, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    “dko83
    Nov 26, 2012, 12:18 PM CST
    Everyone mentioned in this article would be ahead of Bynum.. But srsly, watch a Bulls game for five minutes, you will see Noah out hustle dudes almost every possession. I used to hate him b/c he’s obnoxious and he’s a Gator, but his game/heart won me over.”

    Thank you. As a bulls fan I’ve come to love the guy. Thought he was about the worst draft pick on Nba history but his effort and will to compete have win this city over be gets more out of less more than any other player in the league. Does that make him the best center? No, but it makes me respect him more than Andrew Bynum or other clowns getting by on just talent. Can you imagine a guy like JR smith if he had Noah’s passion?

  9. chicitybulls - Nov 26, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    Chandler? Really Kurt? Watch the damn games. Chandler is one dimensional. He does one thing. He does it very well but that’s all he does. Block/alter shots. His offense consists of alley oops. Noah is a very good defender, a better passer, better ball handler and better rebounder. He also has a good jumper. Although not pretty if you leave him open he will hit it. I’ll take Noah over any center in the east and most in the west.

    • Kurt Helin - Nov 26, 2012 at 3:26 PM

      If you think Chandler is one dimensional and not a good pick-and-roll center, I suggest you watch the games. Or ask Chris Paul, Jeremy Lin and Raymond Felton.

      • chicitybulls - Nov 26, 2012 at 3:43 PM

        You’re just illustrating my point. I said his offense consists of alley oops which is a staple of the pick and roll. You cant throw the ball to him on the block or elbow and ask him to make a play. You can do that with Noah.

  10. paintman34 - Nov 26, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    Its Chris Bosh without question

  11. moseskkim - Nov 26, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Best this year? Varejao, bosh Noah. Best overall? Bynum bosh Noah hibbert Monroe varejao. Varejao needs to stay healthy and continue to put up great numbers for recognition.

  12. eagles92 - Nov 26, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    No mention of kg at all? With the game on the line there’s no center better whenever the celtics need some points in the last two minutes he shows up on both sides of the ball. I’m not saying he’s the best center but to not include him is just plain dumb.

  13. boctavious - Nov 26, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    ANDERSON VARAJAO. Not even mentioned. Disgraceful.

  14. paulwoodsby - Nov 28, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    Wow. Surprising that his teammate calls him the best. The opinion of competing players and coaches is more important.

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