Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Bulls Vs. Wizards First Round Matchup: Centers

Well Pippen Peoples we are finally here. The NBA playoffs. It’s basically the holiday season for any NBA fan whether your team made the playoffs or not (Mine didn’t…Knicks.) For the first weekend of the playoffs, you have wall to wall basketball over numerous networks. You have an obscene amount of information over websites all over the  internet. Lucky for you Pippen Peoples you have Pippen Ain’t Easy, the best choice for Bulls, news, reviews and previews. The Chicago Bulls have the Washington Wizards as the first draw in the playoffs. They slid in the fifth spot just ahead of the Brooklyn Nets. Lets break down the matchups between these two teams starting with the center position.

Joakim Noah vs. Marcin Gortat

Both centers have played very well this season for their respective teams. Marcin Gortat has been a godsend for  the Wizards since coming in via trade from the Phoenix Suns while Joakim Noah has been in the MVP conversation for a couple of weeks before Kevin Durant went nuts and shut all of that talk down for Noah and anyone else for that matter. These two have similarities based on their passion for winning and have no bones about calling people out on their respective squads if they don’t believe things are going the way they are supposed to. Let’s check out the similarities of these two starting with Marcin Gortat.

Marcin Gortat

The Washington Wizards showed their fans that they were serious about making the postseason when they went out and got this guy Marcin Gortat. They basically traded a dust chip contract in Emeka Okafor whose career is basically dead with a herniated disc in his neck and a first round pick in the 2014 draft for Gortat, Shannon Brown and Kendall Marshall. Let’s be clear, the other two was to match up salaries. Kendall Marshall was waived immediately and spent the rest of the season with the Los Angeles Lakers and Shannon Brown bounced around in San Antonio before finishing the season with the New York Knicks. Marcin Gortat brings a toughness that the Wizards haven’t had since…well you  get the idea. Don’t sleep on this guy. He’s a bad boy. When he was in Orlando backing up Dwight Howard, or playing alongside him at power forward he was a tough defender who would crash the boards. Marcin Gortat averages 13 points a game, 9 rebounds and a shade under two assists for the season. He shot a very respectable 54% from the field. Now understand that the Wizards are a perimeter team so don’t let these numbers fool you. Gortat has a very polished low post game with back to the basket moves. Plus he plays very hard. I was very impressed with this guy when he called the team out after a loss late in the season claiming at that moment the Wizards couldn’t beat anybody including the Milwaukee Sucks…I mean Bucks. The team took notice and finished the season strong. Hence they are the fifth seed.

Joakim Noah

What else can you say about this guy? In my opinion he has taken over as the face of the franchise over Derrick Rose. Joakim Noah is the reason why this franchise is in the playoffs at this moment. Period. With his leadership this team has overcome so much this year to become playoff participants. How many people thought the Bulls were done when Derrick Rose injured his knee against the Portland TrailBlazers? To the ones that thought that weren’t done, stop lying. Well we all know that Noah didn’t, who practiced the no excuses mentality that Coach Tom Thibodeau preached. He showed the character that has spread throughout the locker room. That character was sorely tested when Luol Deng was sent to Cleveland in a trade. Noah could have easily shut it down and griped with management for the rest of the year. But he refocused and kept playing hard. What’s amazing is that this is all things that were done off the court. On the court he’s the do it all guy on the floor for the Bulls. On the defensive end, he is the undisputed anchor for the Bulls. He brings the passion that is contagious throughout the team (okay except for Carlos Boozer) that placed them in the top five in total defense in the NBA. On the offensive side with the injuries to Rose, the Bulls overhauled the ENTIRE offense to run through him. They have placed him at the high post so he can read the defense and be the primary playmaker. What center do you know has led his team in assists. I may be wrong but the last time I remember was Wilt Chamberlain who played for the Los Angeles Lakers back in the 1972-73 championship season. Umm that’s a long time ago and great company  to be associated with.

Advantage?

Both of these centers are good players. But as Joakim Noah goes, so does the Chicago Bulls. Advantage Bulls.

Tags: Chicago Bulls Joakim Noah NBA Playoffs

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