The center position in the NBA features a mixed bag with plenty of entertainment. There are guys that are prolific scorers in the paint, that will not be beat on the boards and that can block shots at a high level. There are also NBA centers that excel in passing the ball. Rarely do you get all four of these in one – but that’s exactly what the Chicago Bulls have in Joakim Noah.
Unfortunately for Noah and the Bulls, he had a nagging plantar fasciitis injury catch up with him last season after thinking he had it taken care of a couple of years ago. Despite the injury, Noah enjoyed immense success early on last year and was selected to his first NBA All-Star game.
While playing a majority of the season at less than 100%, Noah averaged 11.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.1 steals.
At times, you would see Noah grab a rebound and lead the break. Other moments, he would possess the ball at the top of the key and find a cutting teammate on his way to the basket for a quick assist. Don’t even get me started on his self-titled ‘tornado’ jump shot that has become quite effective most of the time.
With all of the tools to be successful at the center position in the NBA, Noah is going to use this offseason to focus on one thing – getting back to full health. His tenacious attitude and style of play kept him in many games that the majority of players would have sat out. It’s a double-edged sword, really.
Noah plays and he is a big reason for a win, yet further complicates his injury. He rests, and the team many times suffers a loss. Now that he has time to fix this for good, we can look forward to what he has in store for next year.
I am confident that if Noah returns to full health for the 2013-2014 season he could be the best all-around center in the league, without exaggeration. He has all of the aspects you would want in a great center, plus the attitude and momentum-shifting passion to lift a team to new heights.
I, for one, cannot wait until this guy returns next year hopefully with a clean bill of health. A healthy Noah and a healthy Derrick Rose, plus maybe yet another piece, could lead that team to a place they should have been this year in a perfect world – the NBA Finals.