by Paul Knepper
One of the key matchups in the Eastern Conference Finals between the Heat and Bulls has been Chris Bosh against Joakim Noah. On paper Bosh is the better player. The six-time All-Star has averaged 20 points and 9.2 rebounds for his career, though his numbers took a hit this season as he deferred to LeBron James and Dwayne Wade.
Noah, on the other hand, has yet to make an All-Star team and posts just 8.5 points and 8.4 rebounds for his career. This was his best statistical season, in which he averaged 11.7 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. The Bulls center is a superior defender and excellent passer. His greatest value lies in the intangibles he brings to the court, specifically his infectious energy.
The two big men have guarded each other at times during the current series. Bosh has been the better offensive player, scoring at a rate of 24 points per game and carried the Heat offensively during stretches of Game 3 when Noah was in foul trouble. Yet, Noah has exceeded Bosh in just about every other statistical category, including; rebounds, blocks, steals and assists. His passing out of the high post and help defense has been particularly impressive.
Bosh and Noah are both in their prime, ages 27 and 26 respectively. Bosh has the name and the numbers, but Noah’s value to the Bulls is immeasurable. Which one would you rather have on your team?