By Nathan Grubel @The_Only_Grubes on April 17, 2014
Joakim Noah was on a mission this past season. Despite losing Derrick Rose to injury again and losing Luol Deng to a trade, Noah's Bulls still managed to finish fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls had a defensive identity, and Noah was a huge part of it. Here are five reasons why he deserves the 2014 NBA Defensive POY award.
Joakim Noah was not afraid of guarding anyone in the post and holding his own down low. Noah is one of the most intense and fierce players the league has to offer, and it showed in his advanced metrics. Noah's defensive rating was a 96 this past season, which put him among the best defensive players in the NBA. Having a player like Noah down low is a huge reason why the Bulls are where they are in the playoffs.
Noah has a high motor that is driven by his competitive spirit. Noah is not the kind of player who will throw in the towel and quit on a team during the season. He wants to win, and that drive led him to be a ferocious player on the defensive end. Throughout the season, Noah was one of the best players at hustling back on defense and making the key steal or block to give his team the edge. A player like that is a quality NBA defender.
Noah was asked this season to carry more of an offensive load, conserving energy to make the right play and get the needed bucket on that end of the floor. Somehow, Noah still had enough energy to get at people on defense and block shots. Noah's 1.5 blocks per game this season are not a career-high for him, but it is still an impressive number given the impact he was asked to provide on both ends of the floor.
Noah is not afraid of any player in the NBA. He is not the kind of player to sit in the post and guard someone who is a non-factor on offense. Noah wants to go after the best player on the floor, and he did that at multiple points in the season even if he was not a big man. Noah guarded players such as Paul George and LeBron James on defense, which is a game-changing quality for a defender.
Big men are not always known to be great at stealing the ball. Noah is a different story. He averaged 1.2 STLPG this past season, but it was not just the steal that was special, but what he did with the ball when he stole it. Noah has the athleticism to initiate the fast break and run down the court with the ball in transition, which allowed him to affect the game on both ends like few big men can. Noah is a complete NBA defender.
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