Not many people thought the Chicago Bulls would be sitting in the sixth seed of the Eastern Conference without superstar Derrick Rose ever stepping a foot on the court. However, they are and a lot of the credit needs to be thrown Joakim Noah’s way.
No fan in Chicago would publicly admit they were worried about the 2012-13 season without Rose, but there were plenty of doubts on the inside. Noah has been a rock for the Bulls in a season that was filled with uncertainties. There are several players on the Bulls that deserve credit for the team’s success, but Noah is definitely the MVP in Chicago this year.
Noah is averaging 12.0 points, 11.4 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 38.3 minutes per game this season. His rebounds and blocks are team highs, while his minutes rank second only to small forward Luol Deng, who has also been sensational this season.
The 28-year-old, who was an All-Star for the first time this year, has put up ridiculous numbers in several games that are worth mentioning. Against the Philadelphia 76ers on Feb. 28, he went 8-for-12 from the field with an astonishing 21 rebounds and 11 blocks, while also managing to put up 23 points. He also recorded a career-high 23 rebounds and 30 points versus the Detroit Pistons earlier this season.
Granted, these two teams are not on top of the standings, but they are still stacked with legitimate NBA players. Not to mention, Noah has collected at least 15 rebounds in 13 different games this season, which proves how talented he really is.
It would be one thing if this were all Noah was: a great rebounder and shot blocker who occasionally puts up a decent amount of points. However, he is so much more than that. He may play the center position, but he is able to hit mid-range jumpers and make plays all over the court. His 4.2 assists per game can attest to this, while he can be seen consistently making outstanding passes to set up his teammates.
It is unknown when or if Rose will return this season and no one can tell how deep the Bulls will be able to go in the playoffs without him, but one thing is certain, Chicago is very lucky to have the talented Noah in its lineup on a nightly basis.