Joakim Noah has been consistent throughout his college and professional basketball career, but instead of getting respect he has been ridiculed. He is outspoken, energetic, and often bizarre but all of those characteristics are what make his style of play so unique. Joakim is often tagged as just an “energy guy” and though there is no doubt that he is energetic, that is almost an insult to his game. Ever since he was drafted by the Bulls he has been the vocal leader of this team. Whenever the Bulls are losing, they have their heads down and are ready to give up, Joakim boosts the teams morale with a hustle play. He plays with his heart and when his teammates see him give it his all they fall in line and do the same.
The Chicago Bulls’ calling card is their defense and their grind-it-out style of play, this is due to the coaching of Tom Thibodeau. I think Thibodeau came to this team as a defensive minded coach and wanted this team to be constructed in the likeness of Joakim Noah, hardworking and not always pretty.
This is my favorite all-time Joakim Noah moment in probably the best 1st round playoff series in NBA history:
Joakim Noah came from the University of Florida, and led the Gators to back-to-back Final Four championships but many Chicagoans were displeased with the Bulls drafting him. The expectations for Joakim were very low. Now, here he is after 6 years in Chicago and he is probably one of Chicago’s favorite athletes and is considered a irreplaceable asset to many Bulls fans. I have to agree with them. Although Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum might better, more dominant players, they can be self-absorbed divas. Joakim is about team, he always gives 100% effort and he plays with his heart. Joakim is also much more versatile than any other center in the NBA, he is the best passing big man I’ve ever seen, Thibodeau often uses Joakim to set the offense, which makes the Bulls’ high pick-and-roll so deadly. I’ll take heart and effort over God-given talent any day because if you have the God-given talent but don’t give the effort you are still useless.
Last night Joakim put on a legendary performance against the short-handed, struggling Philadelphia 76ers. Joakim scored 23 points, grabbed 21 rebounds, and hosted a block party with 11 blocks. He is the first player in the history of the NBA to have 20+ points, 20+ rebounds, 10+ blocks, and shoot 65% from the field. The first Bull since Artis Gilmore to record a triple-double with points, rebounds, and blocks. This was Joakim’s 3rd triple double of his career.
Derrick Rose is without a doubt the best player on the Bulls but Joakim is the heart of the team because no one plays with as much heart as he does.
Joakim Noah is easily having the best season of his career. With Derrick Rose being out, he surely stepped his game up which led to him being a first time All-Star. Now, he is on pace to be named Defensive Player Of the Year. Joakim is top 5 in the NBA for blocks and rebounds plus he’s averaging 1.3 steals per game, as a center. Joakim is the best defender on one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, which should say something because last year Tyson Chandler won the award basically for being the only defender on his team.