By Tyler Leli @jetleli on April 21, 2014
On Monday afternoon it was announced that Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah is the 2014 NBA Defensive Player of the Year. The announcement comes after heavy speculation that Noah would be passed over for LeBron James, Roy Hibbert or Serge Ibaka. Of course this didn't happen, and I have compiled five reasons that show why Noah was a great choice for the award.
The 2013-14 season was an exemplary one on paper for Noah, as he averaged 35.3 minutes, 7.7 defensive rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. Of course, there is much more to winning the Defensive Player of the Year Award than just being a statistical beast, but it certainly doesn't hurt that Noah ranked among the best players on paper this season.
Despite being labelled as a center, Noah possesses the athleticism and basketball acumen to defend small forwards and power forwards on the perimeter. Of course, he also has the strength, grit and vertical length to defend any center in the interior as well, making him the most versatile and complete defender in the NBA today.
For the first time in his career, Noah started 80 out of 82 games, showing a level of durability that has held him back from winning the Defensive Player of the Year Award in past years. Furthermore, Noah was an absolute beast in every game he played, giving 110 percent effort at all times, and displaying his aforementioned versatility on the interior and perimeter.
The NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award is an individual one, but the fact the Bulls were the best defensive team in the NBA certainly helps Noah. The 29-year-old was the heart and soul of Chicago on and off the court, showing great leadership and getting players in place for a side that ranked first in points allowed per game.
Voters are not supposed to weigh previous output when voting for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, but it is hard to deny that Noah should've won this award already. Sure, a lack of playing a full season hurt Noah previously, but it is hard to deny that winning the award in 2014 felt like it had been coming for a long time.
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