NBA / Oct 7, 2010 / 11:30 am

Who’s Better: Al Horford or Joakim Noah?

We argue. You decide.

AL HORFORD (by Jaimie Canterbury)
Earlier this week, Joakim Noah signed a 5-year, $60 million contract extension with the Bulls. Well-deserved, seeing as there are only a handful of workhorses like Noah left in the League at the center position. There is no argument that the Bulls need Noah. But frankly, if they had the opportunity to swap Noah for Al Horford, they would do it. Noah is a great defender and rebounder, but the fact of the matter is that Horford does all of that and more.

Noah is coming off his best season to date, averaging a career-high 10.7 points and 11 rebounds per game. Horford, on the other hand, averaged 10.1 points and 10 rebounds in his rookie year, which was his least productive season to date. In the two years since his rookie debut, Horford averaged 11.5 ppg and 9.3 rpg in ’08-09, then followed that up with averages of 14.2 points and 10 rebounds this past season.

Horford has gotten better each year and has already been an All-Star, an accomplishment that Noah will probably never achieve. Horford finds a way to contribute offensively on a better offensive team, proving that his ability is miles away from Noah’s. The fact that Noah is often on the bench when the Bulls need scoring from the center spot shows how one-dimensional he is. Noah played a career-high 30.1 minutes per game last season, whereas Horford played 31 mpg in his rookie year.

Going back to their days running together at the University of Florida, Horford has always been better — Noah just got more hype. There was a reason Horford was picked No. 3 overall in the ’07 Draft, while Noah with No. 9 to Chicago. Both players are great contributors for their team, but there is no real comparison if you ask me.

Joakim Noah (photo. Monte Isom)

JOAKIM NOAH (by Andrew Macaluso)
As teammates that won back-to-back NCAA national championships at Florida, it was only a matter of time until we made this argument — especially with Noah signing an extension with Chicago while Horford is still waiting for his.

When he entered the League, Noah was criticized and started more slowly, but broke through on the big stage of Chicago’s thrilling first-round playoff series against Boston two seasons ago. Then he was one of the League’s most improved players last season. But this argument simply comes down to who is more important to their team, and there’s no question that it’s Noah.

Not only did Noah add muscle to check with centers and bang under the glass, but he’s also one of best defenders in the League, man-to-man, guarding the rim, or against the pick-and-roll. If you want to compare numbers, I’d take Noah’s two extra rebounds (11 rpg to 9 rpg) in less minutes than Horford’s four extra points in more minutes. With Atlanta, Horford is their fifth-best player, while Noah is the second most important player for the Bulls.

Blocking shots, rebounding, and stellar defense are more important when it comes to playing in the post, which clearly Horford, 6-10, struggles more than Noah due to being undersized and playing out of position. Noah ranked 8th in rebounds last season, 5th with a Rebounding Rate of 17.96, and 7th in Defensive Rebounding with 27.6. Horford placed 15th in the League in rebounding, 23rd with a Rebounding Rate of 16.4, and 19th in Defensive Rebounding with 23.3. As for blocks, Noah placed 17th last season with 2.49 shots blocked per 48 minutes, while Horford finished 38th with 1.54 blocks.

When it comes to the playoffs, Noah steps his game up considerably while Horford seems to drop off a little. In ’09, Noah posted 10.1 points, 13.1 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks in 38 minutes in an epic series against the Celtics, while Horford struggled (6.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 0.7 bpg) throughout Atlanta’s two-round playoff run. In 2010, Noah (who wasn’t at full health) put up 14.8 points, 13 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in 36 minutes, while Horford finished with 14.6 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 35 minutes.

At Florida, Horford was the best post player, but this isn’t college anymore. In the NBA, Noah has become both the defensive and vocal leader for the Bulls, and is better in the post against the League’s most dominant big men. His offense is vastly improving but he still has a long way to go. As of right now, Noah’s ceiling is much higher than Horford, who seemingly has already peaked as a player.

Who do you think is better?

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  • i am a witness


  • shaw32

    give me Al

  • none

    none of them has peaked…thats whats great about both of them…horford will probably get a massive extension or K in the near future

  • j

    All of the talk about Noah’s superior post d is unfounded. Dude gets tossed around like a rag doll down there whenver a legit back to the basket big coems town. Al has a larger frame and thus has les issue with being bullied, but he is not as long so tall guys can shoot over him.

  • control

    Give me Al every day of the week, and twice on Sundays. It ain’t even close…Noah has become one of the most overhyped players in the league this summer. Noah isn’t as unskilled as Valgina, but offensively, the guy is COMPLETELY lost. If the guy isn’t handed the ball (or offensively rebounds the ball) directly under the rim for a layup or dunk, he will literally freeze and stand there confused for 5-10 seconds with the ball.

    Noah’s defense is also overrated. If he had great defense, then he wouldn’t be getting torn up by even average centers.

    How is Al undersized compared to Joakim? Al is much stronger, and only gives up like an inch. They’d both be beasted by guys like Dwight and Shaq.

    The only advantage Joakim has is hustle, the guy don’t stop moving. He’s louder and more annoying, and makes huge exaggerated gestures and lion roars, but does that really make him a better player?

    Oh yeah, Joakim is the ugliest player in the NBA, that has to hurt his standing a lil’…

  • Dayinho

    Playoff don’t lies… Jooks is better.

  • Joe’s Momma

    No brainer for me. Al Horford has already been an all-star and it was deserved. He plays a bigger role, and will continue to get better.

    Everytime I think of Noah, I keep thinking about the time he was guarding Shaq and was getting pounded. He was damn near in a 3 pt stance with his forearm in Shaq’s back and got lost on a quick spin move as all his weight was trying to keep Shaq away from the basket.

    That is what I think of Noah. Will give you all he’s got, but sometimes he gets lost.

  • http://basketball.razzball.com Hanleezy

    Jo Jo Noah. We’ll see how much loot Horford gets compared to Jo’s $11 million annual salary. He is a premiere defender and rebounder, Horford is neither.

  • control

    Just look at the pictures above. The differences in size and definition is shocking…and Al is suppose to be the undersized one?

  • http://PrimeObjective.me @PrimeObjective

    Both very good players. Al’s offense is better but not so much that i’ll take him over J.N. J.N. runs the floor and does whats needed from a Big. He extends plays and makes plays. Hardest working big in the league! Neither will be a #1 guy so give me the one that will do the intangibles! Joakim Noah!!

  • http://playoffshawks.blogspot.com DJ

    Al Horford is better, if the Hawks had a true center and Horford was a full time PF, he would average 20 ppg 10 rbs 3 apg EASY

  • Joe’s Momma

    LOL @ control

    It seems like control doesn’t really like Noah, huh

    I agree with mostly everything.

    Also, Valgina is a great, GREAT nickname. Much more original than Sideshow Bob. It sounds funny when you say it out loud. Although I don’t really don’t like Anderson, I think he has a little bit of talent. Rebounding takes technique, and dude is a good rebounder.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ Control

    In case you haven’t noticed, that photo was from a few years back. Noah didn’t even have facial hair and he’s noticeably bigger than he was in that photo.

  • control


    Way to get an updated picture to make your point :P

    He still looks scrawny and weak, and when other centers are pushing him around, it looks even worse.

    Joe’s Momma

    I actually respect Noah a lot more than I used to. I used to hate the guy, but he’s actually really improved his rebounding and his hustle is actually pretty good. He’s just completely useless offensively, unless he’s setting screens and getting rebounds, which he’s pretty decent at. He’s not a total scrub like Valgina is. He also ain’t worth no 60 fucking mil, but it seems you HAVE to overpay guys in this league now.

  • Wake

    Noah all the way.

  • dani

    I have to go with Al.

  • Knicksfan84

    Horford is better by far. Noah is good but Horford just is flat out a more complete player and he “plays out of position”

  • RC

    Horford for sure. Potential 20 ppg 10 rpg and already close to doing that. Horford is playing out of position I think playing pf would benefit his game and skills and will bring out his full potential.

    Noah would be a solid veteran for the rest of his career as long as he works hard and plays the kind of defense that he does. The Bulls made a great decision for the extension but I still they could have got him for a lot less money.

  • K Dizzle

    I’d take either one. If Al could play the 4, he’s be a beast. Noah’s gonna have to show what’s up now that Boozer is out and he just signed that fat extension.

    As for the arguments, Macaluso’s is more convincing.
    JC sayin that the Bulls would trade Noah to get Horford makes no sense when they just signed Boozer and sayin Noah will never be an allstar is a bad argument too when he’s only behind Dwight and Lopez as far as eastern conf. centers. If Chicago gets wins, he’ll be on the all-star radar. As for draft position, that means nuthin either cuz if Noah would have declared after their first championship, he woulda been a top 3 pick…
    No diss to either player tho. If I need a 4, it’s Al.
    If I need a 5, it’s Noah.

  • the cynic

    Horford, does Noah do anything better than Horford? Noah is nice though

  • M-Intellect

    This isn’t about whose more important, coz that’s contextual, it’s about whose better and that is hands down Al.

    Noah MIGHT take the defensive end by a touch but Al takes the offensive end by a LANDSLIDE. You can talk about points, rebounds and blocks but Al is a 3rd offensive option and scores more then noah, rebounds alongside Josh Smith who we all know blocks a few shots and snags a few rebounds and still beats or is competitive whilst Noah had a rookie to compete with and an All-Star PG to create for him.

    And how is Horford peaked already? That is such a dumb statement considering he made the all-star team last year?

    And Noah on the All-Star radar if his team gets wins is stupid too because Rose and Boozer are on that team before dude and there is NO WAY the Bulls are getting 3 all-stars.

    Noah should just quit ball and concentrate on Gym Class Heros

  • Bizz

    I’m still trying to figure out according to Andrew’s article who the 4 other players on the team that are ahead of Al Horford? I only count 2, and one of em is fading fast with that massive deal. Horford is NO WORSE than the 4th best player on the team, based on general opinion, and I’d actually put him ahead of Crawford, so to me, Horford is the 3rd best. Noah is NO BETTER than the 3rd best player on the team, despite Boozer’s clumsyness. I can agree somewhat with Andrew’s article about Noah, but his opinion towards the skill-set/potential of Horford is more misguided than Dan Gilbert’s championship hopes.

    Speaking of the Cavs…. Take a look @ Byron Scott’s tie…Hitler anyone? WOMP x3!


  • karizmatic

    I think it’s clear that Horford is the more talented player, however Noah is more important to his team so if I were Chicago I would not want to switch Horford with Noah, they would add no value to their team with that. Until Horford is able to play power forward he’s always going to have problems getting to his full potential. If Atlanta really wants to try at improving I suggest they swap Al Horford with Al Jefferson, I think they’d both be better off in the different systems.

    But as for the question at hand I’d definitely hold onto Noah because his rebounding, defense, and the little bit of attitude he gives to his team is indispensable, he’s definitely more valuable to Chicago that Horford is to Atlanta right now. But is he worth over 11 mil a year? I’m not so sure about that.

  • Kevhous

    On paper you go with AL for sure. But noah brings intangiables and energy to the game that you can’t put on a stat sheet. That is why the bulls wouldn’t part with him for melo. If it was a numbers games you get melo’s 28 pts per game.

  • slick ric

    control is so soft. what does looks has to do with anything. anyway, Horford is cool I just think noah can be more effective. the all-star argument is weak to me because Josh smith deserved it more than Al did.

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla

    Please stop saying how IMPORTANT Noah is to Chicago. I know a 70yr old woman who hates Noah because of how fake his hustle is. He’s that kid in highschool who is the “Rah Rah” type but only when it’s convenient. He’s not a scrub by any means but he is vastly becoming the most overrated player in the NBA. He rebounds against smaller people…THAT’S IT! nothing else. he doesn’t play good D, Dirk just gave him an easy 30pts. If you are an elite defender you should be able to hold him to a bad fg% or 5pts lower than his scoring avg. I have watched Noah get raped for 3yrs in the post.

    in otherwords….give me al Horford.

  • Brent

    Dime is a rag, as is evident by the anti Noah comments it attracts. One moron couldn’t explain why he prefers Al Orford over Noah so he gets ridiculously personal by saying Noah is ugly. Guess what idiot, anybody with eyes to see will know that he’s HANDSOME like Yannick, his daddy. Women love them.
    “Control,” you say Noah’s the ugliest player in the NBA, I’d like to see what you look like? I’m sure you’re one of those childish racists that are from places like Kentucky or Missouri who’ve been saying such things when Florida were battering their teams in the NCAA.

  • Brent

    “Horford,” not Orford.

  • Brent

    By the way, Dime has done it again. See that picture of Noah? It’s pretty dated. That must have been a picture taken when Noah was in college. Dime did the same thing in that anti-Noah story one of its writers did on Noah recently. See my comment on that story.