07
Mar
08

With Wallace gone, the Bulls are finally starting the best available center

Bulls 107 – Cavs 96

A game like last night’s is a great reason for the first official post at the new address.

If you’ve looked at this site often over the course of this season you know that I was adamant about getting Ben Wallace off the floor. I didn’t think anybody would take him in a trade, but I was wrong. No matter how it was done, I’m just glad he’s no longer taking up minutes that should be going to Bulls players who actually care to try hard. Like say, Joakim Noah . . .

noah vs. wallace

Just like Joakim Noah in this picture,
the Bulls came out on top by making him
the replacement for Ben Wallace as their
starting center

This isn’t the first time I’ve compared their stats from a game, but it’s the first time I’ve happily been able to do so when Ben’s numbers were for another team.

Ben Wallace in 27:32:
1-4 from the field
10 boards
2 pts
1 asst

Joakim Noah in 32:24:
5-9 from the field
20 boards
13 pts
1 asst

So in similar minutes Noah basically doubled Wallace’s production, and that was a great game for Big Ben this year. If Wallace was still on the Bulls he would have played 33 minutes last night while Noah played 17. Thank goodness he’s gone.

Another interesting stat comparison for the two last night was +/-. For anybody who doesn’t know, +/- is a statistic made popular in hockey that many people are now using when looking at the NBA. It measures the score differential of the player’s team while he was on the floor. I’m not sure how useful it is with basketball (for example LeBron James’ +/- last night was -21), but it’s interesting to note that Ben Wallace had a -12 in that game while Noah had a +17. To me that disparity exemplifies the difference in their games at this point in their careers even if the stat is somewhat empty. Noah is going to work his ass off in order to help the team. Wallace is going to try and rely on his skills and experience and no longer bring that high level of effort he used to. I’m not sure why he’s more apathetic these days (I have my theories though), but I’m glad he’s being apathetic now for a different team.

As a rookie, Noah is going to be inconsistent. Nevertheless, he’s a much better option for the Bulls moving forward than Wallace was. He actually has center height whereas Wallace never did. I believe in his prime Noah will be very similar to Wallace in his prime. In an ESPN chat last summer I got a question answered by David Thorpe regarding Joakim Noah. I asked if he thought Noah could develop into a solid starter and replacement for Wallace or if he was destined to be an energy guy off the bench. Thorpe said he thought Noah could be a starting center on a championship team someday. I couldn’t agree more.

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