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?
“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.