Versatile bigs dominate Barometer

Ryan Anderson, Danilo Gallinari among top bigs for the week

Originally Published: December 20, 2012
By Bradford Doolittle | Basketball Prospectus
JaVale McGeeKirby Lee/Image of Sport/US PresswireJaVale McGee has excelled in limited minutes. Perhaps it's time to see if he can do that in a starter's role?

Joakim Noah put up an impressive stat line on Tuesday, notching his second career triple-double in the Chicago Bulls' win over the slumping Boston Celtics.

Often triple-doubles by natural centers include a double-digit performance in blocked shots, which was the case for Roy Hibbert earlier this season. Greg Monroe had the only other points-rebounds-assists triple-double among pivots this season before Noah. Noah now has two of the past five triple-doubles recorded by centers.

Noah has long been regarded as a very skilled passing big man, but the Bulls' need for his playmaking has been minimal in seasons past because of the considerable presence of Derrick Rose. With Rose still rehabbing his injured knee, Noah's passing has become an increasingly crucial aspect of Chicago's offense.

Noah is averaging 4.5 assists per game, two more than his previous career best, and his 109 total assists is just three behind Kirk Hinrich for Chicago's team lead. Noah leads the Bulls in December dimes with 52 in 10 games, 12 more than Hinrich, as Tom Thibodeau has increasingly featured Noah running sets from the high post, where he works effectively in tandem with Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson.

Rose's longed-for return might eventually prevent Noah from finishing with the most assists on the Bulls, but if Noah pulls it off, it'll be a rare feat. It's not an easy stat to track down, but according to a scan of the Play Index at Basketball-Reference.com, the last instance we could find of a center leading his team in assists was David Robinson pacing the Spurs in 1993-94.

Aiding Noah's cause is Thibodeau's heavy reliance on him: Noah is averaging more than 40 minutes per game this season, 7.4 more than his previous career high.

Details on how the Big Man Barometer is compiled can be found here.

Top 10 Big Man Performances

Week of Dec. 12-18. Players listed by winning percentage. Any player who played a total of at least 30 minutes at center or power forward last week is eligible for the rankings. Also included at the bottom are big man projections for next week.


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