As the NBA prepares for its slate of Christmas Day games, us fans get a chance to catch our breath as many of the leagues teams get a little holiday break. There have been some surprises in the first two months of the season – exhibit A: the Chicago Bulls presently being fourth in the Eastern Conference standings. The odds were certainly stacked against that being the case, but life must go on at the team’s Berto Center practice facility. Players like Joakim Noah can’t afford to dwell on who is not in the lineup. Instead, he has seemingly spent his time answering the call of duty as the world refreshes the page for the latest Derrick Rose injury update.
Noah is having the best year of his career. I am confused as to why there is even discussion about it, but Joakim deserves to represent the East in the All-Star Game in Houston. If not him, then who? Even with the NBA replacing the center category on the ballot, Noah has made a strong All-Star case that is seemingly being downplayed by many. Sure, he has the sidewinder shot and the hair that the homies hate, but in comparison to other bigs, Jo has been consistently serving work in the paint. And, most importantly, his team is winning.
Respect his game. Joakim sought the tutelage of the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the off-season, and his confidence is on full display nightly. He is averaging 13.5 points and 10.6 rebounds in nearly 40 minutes per game. The only player in the league who plays more in games this season is teammate Luol Deng. Jo is fourth in the league in double-doubles, having logged 14 thus far, and is by far the best passing center in the league, averaging 4.5 assists per game. He is fifth in blocks and third in steals in comparison to other big men. And, unlike other more celebrated centers, he is shooting 81% from the free-throw line. Pardon me, but if that’s not an All-Star, please tell me what is.
Fans have until January 14 to cast their vote for the NBA All-Star game. Do the right thing, people. Joakim in 2013.
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